Conference to develop future leaders to be held in Mankato

Emily Erck
Staff Writer

Leadership is one of the most valuable assets to have as a friend, co-worker, and as a person in any environment. 

The Women for Global Leadership is a second-year program that is helping students cultivate leadership skills they already possess, but are not comfortable using. They help members by picking their strengths and helping them grow into them. 

The program is yearlong, including a set curriculum, while also allowing the students to build their own experience with hands-on learning. 

Individuals were recommended by staff and sought out to be a part of the program by email. Once contacted, they were encouraged to apply by email and if not contacted were still encouraged to self-apply. 

The theme for this year’s conference is “No Gender Justice Without Racial Justice”. The conferences, set for Nov. 1, will include many local business owners speaking about personal leadership experiences, nonprofit speakers and different women mentors. 

The members will attend the conference as a group but have the options to branch off into small groups to experience things themselves. They will learn from women from all different backgrounds and topics from multiple perspectives, as well as how to promote awareness and become advocates for women’s issues. 

The leadership program has chosen 16 students to be a part of the program which will include undergraduates, graduates and faculty. The faculty that will be in charge of this program includes Alissa Morson, Jacy Fry and Elizabeth Steinborn-Gourley. 

The diversity in this group is incredibly significant, with over half of the group being international students and the other half being domestic. 

The group will come together four times this semester and enjoy the company, wisdom and advice from faculty and community members about their personal leadership experiences. After listening to a brief lecture, the discussion becomes much more experiential and hands-on. 

Once group discussions begin, the students are encouraged to start developing their own story- telling methods to advocate for an issue they feel strongly for. Then, each member involved will choose their own unique way to share their personal leadership stories at the International Women’s Day Celebration and the Mankato Area International Festival. However, a certain number of students are selected to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference through the YWCA. 

If the conference strikes up an interest in anyone, but they are concerned about finance issues, there is an option to apply for the Emerging Leader’s Scholarship that will cover the cost of the entire trip. All one has to do is have a mentor or supervisor nominate them, and they can become eligible to receive the scholarship. 

This scholarship is available to anyone, not just the students that are involved in the Women for Global Leadership program. Morson, when talking about what the program is really focused on, said, “Women’s voices are really important and a great way to help tell our stories. We need to speak up for ourselves. That’s really what this program is about: women telling their own stories.”

Header photo courtesy of Flickr.

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