In a workshop for women, by women, and sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, female administrators, faculty, staff, and graduate students at Virginia Tech will meet at Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center on May 23-24 to examine various aspects of leadership.

The conference, “Careers, Connections and Confidence,” marks the third two-day conference facilitated by the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), a collective which is sponsored by an endowment specifically conceived to encourage and support leadership in women.

“This conference encourages interdisciplinary exchange and provides an excellent mechanism to examine various aspects of leadership,” said Jerry Niles, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “We hope that it fosters multicultural awareness and creates a better working and learning environment at the university. In addition, we are grateful to Jeanette Poole, a very generous alumna of the college who has created this endowment for WLI.” Poole is the founder, sole owner and president of a Miami real estate firm which employs over 100 independent real estate agents.

WLI’s objectives include enhancing leadership competencies among women staff, faculty, and administrators; fostering productive working relationships among women of diverse backgrounds; promoting strategies for balancing women’s personal and professional lives; and challenging participants’ mindsets and philosophies with cutting-edge strategies.

The opening session features Judith Bailey, president of Western Michigan University and an alumna of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Virginia Tech. Bailey, who also spoke at commencement ceremony for graduate students this year, will focus her keynote and small group sessions on developing confidence and competence.

The afternoon session with Linda Ferguson emphasizes leadership as spiritual practice. The author of “The Path for Greatness, Spirituality at Work” and former professor at Hollins University, Ferguson specializes on improving discernment for effective decision-making, learning from those we lead, and developing spiritual practice to handle stressful tasks.

Two of Virginia Tech’s own will guide the workshop on the second day. Ann Kilkelly, professor of theatre arts, employs a variety of performance and cultural mapping techniques that specific communities can use to analyze, represent, and intervene in situations where leadership is undermined by intractable power structures. She also works with Image and Forum performance techniques to look at specific issues proposed by the group.

In the afternoon, Roseanne Foti, associate professor of psychology, will provide clarity to the Campbell Leadership Descriptor, a 40-item leadership assessment that focuses on nine attributes: vision, management, empowerment, diplomacy, feedback, entrepreneurialism, personal style, personal energy, and multicultural awareness. After a large group session, Foti will assist everyone in creating an individualized action plan.

The 51 conference participants, who were nominated by their deans or selected by the WLI advisory committee, represent every college at Virginia Tech. Participants include Ozzie Abaye, Sabrina Allen, Takiyah Nur Amin, Vicki Arbuckle, Heather Ball, Daisy Ball, Leanne Brownlee-Bowen, Mary Campos, Linda Caudill, Jessie Chen-Yu, Ellen Cianelli, Mary Connerley, Terra Dews, Susan Dickerson, Andrea Dietrich, Jean Elliott, April Few, Sandra Griffith, Carola Haas, Meriem Hadj, Lori Harris, Tammy Henderson, Jess Hood, Cathy Jacobs, Jotika Jagasia, Janet Johnson, Dia Kinnaman, Gail Kirby, Cynthia LeFebvre, Juliette Mammei, Amanda Martin, Margaret Merrill, Peggy Meszaros, Esrra Onat, Asli Ceylan Oner, Robin Panneton, Paige Parrish, Linda Perkins, Beverly Purswell, Dixie Reaves, Robin Romanus, Chishamiso Rowley, Debra Salbador, Diane Stearns, Cindy Stover-Booth, Amy Tanner, Susan Tolliver, Beverly Turner, Priscilla Wright, and Audrey Zink-Sharp.

Members of the 2004-2005 WLI Steering Committee are Ozzie Abaye, Kim Beisecker, Donna Cassell, Jessie Chen-Yu, Jean Elliott, April Few, Sandra Griffith, Carola Haas, Tammy Henderson, Pat Hyer, Janet Johnson, Peggy Meszaros, Ellen Plummer, Lucinda Roy, Debra Salbador, and Susan Tolliver.