Conference brings together female leaders

Photo Courtesy of Jasmine Burton

On Nov. 9th, in partnership with the Division of Student Affairs, Tech hosted the 2013 Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC) in the Student Center.

This is the 17th conference held at Georgia Tech since the first conference was held in the winter of 1998. The event is organized by the Women’s Resource Center (WRC).

According to the website, the conference’s mission was “to inspire and prepare the women of…Tech to become equal partners in the leadership of our professions, communities, and society.”

To fulfill the mission, the conference held workshops and hosted speakers in order to help educate women at Tech in essential leadership skills.

“This year we had 160 intelligent attendees, 12 dedicated committee members, 10 outstanding workshop speakers, three delicious meals, and two inspiring Tech-alumna as the keynote,” said Jasmine Burton, chair of the 2013 WLC. “With these amazing people involved, we had dynamic conversations and thought-provoking questions all while women leaders in the GT and Atlanta community networked with themselves as well as with our fabulous sponsors. The 2013 WLC was a success because we were able to connect passionate and inspiring women leaders from all walks of life.”

The theme of this year’s conference was “Reflect,” and was designed by the organizers of the conference to provide the opportunity for attendees to reflect on their past and present while focusing in on their own future.

The two influential Tech-alumnae keynote speakers offered up business and life advice.

“They are both inspiring Tech alumnae from 2 very different fields. Susan Davis is a humanitarian entrepreneur while Andrea LaLiberte worked as a Vice President in Coach. Their stories and experiences inspired the audience to reflect on their past, present and future, which was our intent,” Burton said.

Susan Davis, the morning keynote speaker and founder of a not-for-profit organization called Improve International, instructed students to “be about meaning not money” and to “keep learning [by asking] lots of questions.” Davis also led an exercise in which she asked students to think of three words that greatly influenced them. Davis’s three words were friends, laughter and meaning.

The conference workshops were intended to facilitate cooperation and inspire students. Some workshops touched on serious topics, such as Lara Hodgson’s workshop focusing on body image and potential gender issues. Others, like Kristina Graves’s workshop on “Women’s History as a Way of Thinking,” highlighted the importance of women’s suffrage and other key historical events associated with women’s rights.

Students including Kate Overstreet and Amanda Francis presented with Health Professional Lee Helmken to discuss the mission of VOICE and a “peer leadership approach to preventing campus sexual violence.”

“We received really positive feedback, especially regarding the workshop speakers. We included very successful and inspiring speakers that many people connected, networked and actively engaged with,” Burton said.

This years WLC differed from past conferences.

“This conference was abbreviated. In the past, we have had a two day conference, but due to changes in planning, we decided to make it just a Saturday conference so that people could come and go as they pleased on one day rather than feeling obligated to set aside two days for the conference. The schedule we determined worked really well,” Burton said.