Three women. Three insights on leadership. All at 3 p.m.
That’s the premise behind the Office of Institutional Diversity’s Lead@3 speaker series. The series focuses on women’s leadership in higher education and beyond, and three speakers are invited each semester. The fall 2022 speakers included Darrice Griffin, senior deputy director of athletics; Laura Whitaker, CEO of Extra Special People; and Meg Amstutz, dean of the Jere W. Morehead Honors College.
“It’s an opportunity for us to invite three women leaders to speak to women on campus,” said Michelle Cook, senior vice provost for diversity and inclusion and strategic university initiatives. “It’s good to have this opportunity to not only hear from dynamic leaders, but also to network and for women across campus to meet one another and engage.”
Griffin spoke on Oct. 14 and shared her own journey into higher education leadership. She told attendees that they may work hard but still not reach their goals. What’s important is to be grateful for the experience and use it to grow and develop. Griffin cited her own athletic career as an example. A series of injuries put on her on a new path toward counseling and working with student-athletes.
Griffin also shared the importance of women advocating for themselves and finding their own voices.
“What I gained was a newfound confidence in standing up for myself. I found out that I am actually working for really good people, and I found out that I helped them understand that they can be part of the conversation,” she said. “I tell people all the time to protect your peace.”
In her talk on Nov. 4, Whitaker explained how she defines leadership.
First, leadership is availability. She said that it really isn’t about time—it’s about setting priorities. Second, leadership is vulnerability and getting comfortable putting one’s self in harm’s way. Third, leadership is lovability. Whitaker reiterated the value of giving and receiving love as an important part of being a leader.
“It all starts with doing small things with big love,” she said. “What abilities do you have within yourself that are not being used? Where can you show up and be available?”
On Nov. 17, Amstutz reminded the audience that although leadership includes many active words, patience and fortitude are needed just as much.
Amstutz offered three pieces of advice during her talk. First, when an obstacle gets in the way, what’s truly important is how one reacts to it. Second, she reminded the audience that they can figure their way out of challenges and that they are often surrounded by people who can help them solve the problem. Third, she emphasized taking turns. Leaders don’t have to win everything and help others see how their ideas fit and celebrate that.
“It’s moving things forward with a vision that is collective, not individual,” she said.
The spring 2023 series begins in February. Speakers will be announced later this year.