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Developing the Leader Within First Annual Conference Encourages, Honors Women

Women are 63 percent of Community College of Philadelphia's student body, yet over recent years faculty and staff have noticed a lack of strong female representation among the ranks of student leaders.

Hoping to help turn the tide, this semester a committee of 27 women from departments across the College organized the 2014 Women’s Leadership Conference titled, “The Woman: Mind, Body and Spirit." The day-long event featured keynote speakers, panel discussions and several breakout sessions that focused on various aspects of leadership and wellness.

More than 250 students, faculty and staff registered for the conference which was held March 26 in the Great Hall of the Winnet Student Life Building. Conference co-chairs, Claudia Curry, Ed.D., director of the Women's Outreach and Advocacy Center; and Jenavia Weaver, coordinator of Student Life and Leadership, said the program was designed to support and empower students. Mary Anderson, the last woman to serve as president of the Student Government Association, held the job in 2008. She was an SGA vice president who received the appointment after the sitting president stepped down, according to the Office of Student Life.

"From a student-first perspective, it is important to raise awareness about the importance of leadership among women college students and to encourage their participation in the leadership arena on and off campus," Curry said.

Weaver added, "The committee's intention was to offer paths to successful leadership and honor what is uniquely beautiful about being a woman."

During the conference, student Angela I. Richardson was honored as the 2014 Outstanding Student Female Leader, an award that recognizes scholarship, leadership and service.

Leadership consultant Kimberly S. Reed, managing partner and CEO of Reed Development Group, LLC provided the morning keynote titled "Igniting Your Personal Power."

Lynette Brown-Sow, Vice President of Marketing and Government Relations, provided opening remarks as well as Loraine Ballard Morrill, award-winning director of news and community affairs for Clear Channel Radio in Philadelphia and host of Insight, which airs Sundays on WDAS FM and Power 99 FM. Cherri Gregg, Community Affairs Reporter for KYW Newsradio 1060, opened the afternoon lunch program with remarks.

In an address to the luncheon audience, interim president Judith Gay, Ph.D., discussed the personality traits commonly associated with leaders. A student talent show followed. Additional workshops were held in the afternoon and the conference concluded with an evening panel discussion on barriers to leadership.