Building a community of women leaders
Women in Academic Leadership
In five busy days, these women academic leaders from across Canada connected with colleagues and new friends, building a community of women in academic leadership. Participants enjoyed informative presentations, interactive activities, and one-on-one meetings with experienced mentors.
The Centre for Higher Education Research and Development (CHERD) at the University of Manitoba’s Women in Academic Leadership 2018, held from Oct. 1 to 5 in Winnipeg, welcomed 24 participants and an impressive team of facilitators and mentors.
It was fantastic
“It was a great event, fantastic,” says Ana Campos, Director, School of Interdisciplinary Science, McMaster University. “We had such a wealth of information piled up in the room that we were joking that we could set up our own university from scratch.”
Campos and her two female faculty council colleagues were advised to attend the event by her boss/dean who said they needed to come. There are only three women in her faculty council.
“I absolutely recommend this program. I am from Brazil. I came to Canada for my job. It gave me the opportunity to get to know people from other provinces, to learn about cultures and values. This doesn’t come naturally.”
Campos appreciated the diverse perspectives. “People were so reflective of their journeys and using their experience in a mindful manner. It aligned my personal values and my work values. For me, it crystalized the need to move forward for yourself and for who you are trying to serve.”
She highlighted the introduction of management tools, the mentorship, and the opportunity for reflection.
“It gave me framework for high-level thinking and practical tools. It showed me how to find a vision from the bottom up, to get people to walk in each other’s shoes.”
Susan Tighe, Deputy Provost and Associate Vice-President Integrated Planning and Budgeting , University of Waterloo, noted the value of meeting other women in academic leadership roles.
Quality mentors and facilitators
“The peer sharing as well as the quality of the mentors and the facilitators contributed to the experience. The groups were smaller and everyone was very honest about their challenges, strategies and tools,” says Tighe.
“I recommend the program for women at any stage in their leadership journey, There is something for everyone. It was broad and diverse, an enriching experience.”
One of the questions raised really resonated with Tighe.
“Do you want the title or do you want the job? Don’t be afraid of changes and challenges. Continue your growth journey.”
Keltie Jones, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University, took another strong statement away with her. “Leadership is believing in yourself. Do what you need to do to accomplish this.”
Different and deep
Jones facilitates a lot of leadership training, but she soon discovered this event was much different than she expected.
“I thought this would be a nice break. I wasn’t ready for how deep it went,” she says, noting how she felt the power of the atmosphere, the tools, the space, how she felt, who was there, the challenges, and the discussion. She noted how the many different pieces came together, the power in an organization and your personal power.
“This is an opportunity for learning and reflection, with an incredible added bonus. You develop a network with women you may have no chance of meeting otherwise.”
Jones, too , was inspired by the program.
“I am leaving here with more of a spark than when I arrived. I am looking forward to much more because of this.”