“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”
– WALTER LIPPMAN
Walter Lippman’s quote, taken from an article published in a 1945 edition of the New York Herald Tribune, is a not so pleasant reminder of past American attitudes toward women in leadership roles. Women, it was often argued, did not possess the characteristics to develop leadership skills. Men, on the other hand, were born natural leaders. It has only been in recent years that women have been recognized for their potential as leaders, especially in the workplace.
Women make up approximately half of all corporate employees and yet only a small portion ever become corporate executives. Reports still indicate that women who are employed on a full-time basis continue to earn considerably less than their male colleagues. Women of today move in many spheres – home, work, community, church – but seldom have the opportunity to talk and work with other women about leadership and its role in various contexts. Many in the workplace become frustrated by the overwhelming odds they face with few female role models or mentors to provide encouragement.“Women as Leaders in the Global Marketplace,” a conference sponsored by the Jackson State University Division of Continuing Education and Extension Services, is designed to serve as a mechanism by which women (and men) can come together to talk, listen and support one another as they explore ways to become more productive and effective leaders in the workplace.
The Oct. 15 conference, to be held at the Holiday Inn Southwest in Jackson, will allow participants the opportunity to enhance individual leadership skills through a program theme centered on planning, setting and prioritizing goals and developing strategies to enhance personal and professional growth in meeting the challenge of women as leaders in the global marketplace. Through featured speakers, participants will also reflect on the challenges and contributions made by women in the workplace as well as the professional opportunities now available that can be attributed to the struggle of past generations of women.
Dr. Gail M. Leftwich, president of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the national membership organization of private, nonprofit state affiliates of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will deliver the conference keynote titled “Living a Life of Challenges and Opportunities.” Prior to assuming the leadership of the Federation of State Humanities Councils in 1998, Leftwich served as director of the Cambridge Forum, a public radio producer based in Cambridge, Mass. She holds a J.D. Degree from the University of Chicago School of Law.
Her presentation will focus on women embracing challenges to create and strive toward better opportunities for the individual and the younger generation. The keynote address, which is open to the general public, is scheduled at 9 a.m. The Mississippi Humanities Council is a co-sponsor of the opening session featuring Leftwich.
Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, dean of the School of Business at Jackson State University will serve as the conference luncheon speaker. “Challenges Women Face in the Workplace and the Importance of Networking” will be the topic of her address. Glover holds a Ph.D. in economics and finance, the J.D. degree and a CPA certification.
The conference organizers hope that someday soon, through opportunities like the “Women as Leaders in the Global Marketplace,” society will view women as leaders equal in potential as their male counterparts. Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to contact the Jackson State University Division of Continuing Education and Extension Services at (601) 982-6234.
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