Leadership with Purpose conference features women’s leadership workshops

Held on Wednesday Feb. 29, the Leadership with Purpose: 2012 Women in Leadership Conference consisted of seven workshops and a dinner focused on facilitating women to become leaders.

According to junior Maya Shah, the coordinator of community and public relations for the Women’s Leadership Institute at Geneseo, many of the event’s workshops have long been a part of the program, such as “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” and “Power Couples,” but newer workshops were added based on student interest. Other workshops covered such topics as personal finance, community engagement and personal branding.

According to Tom Matthews, director of leadership education, development and training at Geneseo, each of these programs aims at “empowering women to find their leadership voice.”

“Our students need the support, need to learn as much as they can about leadership,” he said.

Geneseo Key Bank Site Manager and Assistant Vice President Bonnie Swanson presented the personal finance workshop. Swanson said that women need to understand financial issues “so that they can have more control over the decision-making in their life.” She said she’s often seen women lose a spouse and then have to learn everything that they were previously unaware of regarding their finances.

In “Women’s Health and Wellness,” Sarah Covell, the alcohol and other drugs programs coordinator at Geneseo, addressed the issues that women sometimes face in their traditional role as caregivers.

“Sometimes we put ourselves last and our health suffers for it,” Covell said, adding that she hopes college students will take to heart that they can build a foundation for good health now.

Although the original keynote speaker for the “Networking Mixer and Dinner for Women” was unable to attend due to illness, Patricia Gonzalez, advisor to the Women’s Leadership Institute and Educational Opportunity Program counselor for Access Opportunity Programs, was able to bring in Tiffany Courtney. Courtney is a Geneseo alumna and the director of financial reporting at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.

“[It] turned out to be just an amazing evening and [Courtney] was right on the money as far as I was concerned,” Matthews said.  

According to Matthews, Courtney used her experience at Geneseo, her early work in the business world and her work with nonprofit organizations to inspire her audience.

Shah said that despite the need for a last-minute change to the keynote address, the event was a great success and “has grown tremendously, especially in terms of attendance.”

According to Shah, the entire conference is built around and for the students who attend it, and she said it is one of the programs that she thinks people look forward to from the Women’s Leadership Institute.

Together, the Women’s Leadership Institute, Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program, Geneseo Alumni Association and Klainer Center for Women and Business sponsored the conference. This was the fourth annual conference, and planning has already started for next year’s event.