Women in Leadership
Strengthening gender equality and empowering Ohio women in public leadership through educational pathways is a priority at the Glenn College. Women make up less than 20 percent of the U.S. Congress, 25 percent of the Ohio legislature and hold fewer C-suite positions, securing only five percent of Fortune 500 CEO roles. Research shows that women make government more transparent, inclusive and accessible. Women bring different priorities and experiences to public life, including perspectives that have been largely absent in public policymaking. Women change the way government works and their voices are needed around the country.
Acknowledging that the experiences and opportunities for women may be different, the Glenn College has developed programs focusing on women’s leadership in government and nonprofit entities to expand the views of leadership through a gender lens.
“Currently, we are working at refreshing our established leadership programs, NEW Leadership Ohio and Ready to Run and have unveiled a new and exciting venture POWER — Programs for Ohio Women Empowered to Represent,” said Shadia Jallaq, program manager of the college’s Women in Leadership programs. “POWER is a network for action to educate, empower and lift hundreds of women so they can represent. POWER initiatives will include workshops, conferences, networking, mentor opportunities and degree programs at the Glenn College and in collaboration with university and community organizations.”
Jallaq, who is the program manager of the college’s NEW Leadership Ohio and Ready to Run programs, has been an integral part of developing these new initiatives. “We want to create a lifelong network of women leaders, who will often face similar decision points and possibilities along their career paths, and bond them to a rich resource of influential peers,” said Jallaq. “Keeping students and participants active and engaged in their communities is the main thing I want to accomplish. Oftentimes, participants get very motivated and excited and go back to the real world and lose that inspiration and passion. Keeping them active through ongoing programs and events and connectingthem to a larger community helps them accept that passion is not just what happens to them and then goes away.”
The NEW Leadership Ohio conference addresses the historical and contemporary representation of women in politics. Young women from colleges all over Ohio are competitively selected to attend this one-week residential program. NEW Leadership Ohio 2003 alumna Liz Shirey, executive director of the Office of Engagement for the Ohio Democratic Party, was a returning guest speaker at this year’s conference. Shirey encouraged attendees to be open to beginning lifelong relationships with the members of this fellowship. “There is some kind of magic when you are in a safe place with all women and sharing things that you never expected to share,” said Shirey. “You can ask any question and this forum was a good reminder to me that if I don’t know everything, I will learn it from someone. It’s a place where we can identify how we are different and still know that we have something in common — it’s a place to tear down walls.”
For many, this is the first link to other women who are just as passionate about being engaged and active in politics. “I have realized that being involved in these programs is my self-care,” said Kent State University student Cole Wojdacz. “It really energizes my faith in humanity and connects me back to my heart and convictions in life.”
Athina Lawson, a public affairs major and recent Washington Academic Internship Program alumna, attended this year’s conference. Lawson is currently working as a policy aide in the Ohio House of Representatives for the Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger and introduced keynote speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, during the NEW Leadership dinner reception. “It’s an unbelievable honor to introduce Ms. Davidson. She is a great example of how we as women can make progress,” said Lawson. “NEW Leadership has been a great way to connect with like-minded people. There is a lot of sharing experiences in a structured way and our group was able to become close in a very short amount of time. We all have the same challenges, that was really comforting.”
Building on the momentum of NEW Leadership Ohio and targeting the professional community of women leaders, the Glenn College with support from the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, hosts the statewide program: Ready to Run Campaign Training for Women. Ready to Run, the only program of its kind in Ohio, is modeled after the national program at the Center for American Women and Politics. Ready to Run is a nonpartisan program for professional women who want to run for office, seek higher office,work on a campaign, get appointed to office or learn more about the political system. The one-day conference focuses on navigating political parties as a potential candidate, fundraising for success, social media training and an overview of the key elements to launching a political campaign.
Ready to Run alumna Janet Everhard, who is running for U.S. Representative for the 2nd Congressional District, believes the most important part of any campaign training is networking with other candidates. “Rubbing shoulders with successful elected officials and feeding on the energy and optimism of new candidates help balance any vision of the hard, complex work ahead,” said Everhard. “The inspiration and camaraderie are what, ultimately, is relevant to the campaign process. A conference like Ready to Run is inspirational and energizing. On the long days of the campaign trail inspiration is the key to commitment.”
The Glenn College’s women’s leadership programs are where connections always happen and they remind women that they are not alone. “We are looking forward to an exciting year of events we’ve planned for women to share their unique strengths, life stories, values and gifts to ignite a different way of thinking—it’s time for women to rise beyond imagination,” said Jallaq.
To learn more about all the Glenn College’s POWER initiatives go to glenn.osu.edu/power.