Campus News

Second cohort of Women’s Staff Leadership Institute celebrates graduation

The 10 members of the second cohort of the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute have been meeting regularly to explore leadership opportunities and expand their skills. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski)

The second cohort of the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute celebrated its graduation with a reception Nov. 6.

“I want to offer my congratulations to the outstanding women who participated in the cohort this year,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for public service and outreach and WSLI executive sponsor. “I hope, and I expect, that you will look back on this program as a significant turning point in your careers and professional development.”

The institute provides participants the chance to explore leadership opportunities, reflect upon key leadership traits and skills, and support one another in issues that female leaders face in higher education administration.

“One of the most valuable things I learned about is being an advocate for other women in leadership, for the people you supervise and for yourself,” said Jana Wiggins, a member of the 2018 cohort and director of communications for the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a public service and outreach unit. “I think it’s important to learn how to use my voice in a way that is going to push forward our mission.”

In addition to Wiggins, the 2018 cohort included Angela Birkes, alliance director, Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, Office of Institutional Diversity; Marti Brick, senior director of community relations and marketing, College of Veterinary Medicine; Maria de Rocher, assistant director, Honors Program; Kara Fresk, director of learning and strategic initiatives, Division of Student Affairs; Shannon Hinson, associate director of admissions and director of dual degree programs, School of Law; Meg Mittelstadt, director, Center for Teaching and Learning; Lindsey Van Note, senior director for human resource strategic management, Human Resources; Nakia Wade, human resources senior manager, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; and Kristy Walker, associate director for business and human resources, University Housing. 

“One of the great things about this program is that it brings together a group of fellow female leaders you can lean on and call for advice,” Wiggins said. “All of a sudden we have expanded our reach, and I have new connections and relationships that are meaningful. Having this group of women to bounce things off of is invaluable.”

The 2018 cohort members were welcomed as alumnae at the reception by members of the 2017 cohort, who met with them one-on-one throughout the year.

“I was privileged to participate in the 2017 Women’s Staff Leadership Institute, and since graduation last year, our class of alumnae has continued to meet formally each month around a structured learning process we were trained on through the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute,” said Emily Saunders, senior manager in Training and Development. “We also met throughout the year for more informal gatherings and events. Despite competing commitments, we continue to hold the space on our calendar for our formal meetings, and we respectfully challenge one another as we continue our own learning and development.”

WSLI alumnae also presented at the Student Affairs: Engage! Conference in September and created a Women’s Staff Leadership Fund to support the future of women’s leadership at UGA.

Launched in 2017, the WSLI is an annual program aligned with the Women’s Leadership Initiative launched in 2015 by President Jere W. Morehead and the Office of the Provost. The program is administered through the Office of Human Resources’ Training and Development Department. Allie Cox, director of training and development, coordinates the institute.

Information about nominations for the 2019 cohort will be announced in January. The program will run from April through November, and participants will meet monthly for leadership development sessions and discussions with senior administrators at UGA.