The Institute for Women’s Leadership: Creating Mentors

In the first weeks since its launch, the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) has sponsored a number of events for female students, faculty, and staff alike. Creating the Institute has been one of our goals, and it is rewarding to see this vision become a reality.

Recognizing the value of mentors, the IWL recently sponsored the first industry mentors in-residence which gives female students the opportunity to gain inspiration from female business leaders. The first session was for Business Communication students and featured Paula Goudsmit, President of High Impact Coaching + Consulting, LLC. This was the first of a number of IWL-sponsored events aimed at developing the leadership potential of our female students.

This past week, IWL sponsored a wine and cheese reception for female staff and
faculty. As part of the event, each woman wrote on her nametag the name of a
woman she admired which ranged from mothers and grandmothers to first bosses
and mentors to fellow co-workers.

While the woman I chose doesn’t fit into any of these categories, my selection, Annie Oakley, is still someone whom I admire. If you don’t know much about Annie,
she led an inspiring life. After a childhood of poverty, and mental and physical abuse, she rose above her circumstances and learned to hunt in order to support her siblings and widowed mother. She quietly supported young women, and it is believed that she taught more than 15,000 women to use a gun. So, I admire Annie for rising above difficult circumstances, excelling in something that was previously reserved for men, and for mentoring and supporting other women who came behind her. The Annie Oakley exhibit at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame contains her quotation which I believe is still applicable today.

“Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will
make you perfect. Finally, you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”

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