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EmPOWERing Women Leaders through Networking, Mentorship

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Mary Amos Augsburger
Christina Polesovsky

By Joan Slattery Wall 

Each year, the John Glenn College of Public Affairs hosts its annual Women of POWER Network Reception to introduce current leaders to the next generation of women who are ready to run for public office and take on leadership roles in their communities.  

“The benefit of the Women of POWER reception for current and future women leaders is networking with other women who share the core value of solving problems — whether through policy, advocacy or service,” said Christina Polesovsky, associate director, American Petroleum Institute-Ohio (API Ohio). “That engagement has the potential to create professional and personal bonds that are absolutely essential to any leader’s success.” 

The Glenn College hosts this year’s Women of POWER reception on May 26.

In addition to creating a network of support among women leaders, the reception is a fundraising event that supports the college’s nonpartisan Programs for Ohio Women Empowered to Represent (POWER), which provide leadership training for current students and professionals. 

Polesovsky helps to promote the POWER mission by stewarding sponsorship from API and personally serving as a faculty in residence for the NEW Leadership program, a five-day training for student leaders who want to increase representation of women in politics. 

Mary Amos Augsburger, a lawyer and chief executive officer of the Ohio Bar Association, serves on the college’s POWER Commission, providing mentorship, advocacy, fundraising and strategic direction for the POWER programs. She is a dedicated advocate, cultivating connections and introducing individuals from the Ohio State Bar Association to POWER programs. 

Augsburger said throughout her career, she has benefitted from strong women mentors, and now she believes in paying it forward.  

While much progress has been made, we have more work to do to ensure that women are well represented at the policymaking table, whether they hold public office or serve in other key leadership roles. 

Mary Amos Augsburger
Lawyer and Chief Executive Officer, Ohio Bar Association

API, Polesovsky said, is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. API has spent nearly a decade researching and responding to the changing demographics of the United States and the future workforce needs. 

“In order to meet global energy needs, while building a low-carbon future, we must have a workforce that is as diverse as our population,” said Polesovsky. “We believe this starts with engaging more women and providing the training and tools they need to serve as leaders. POWER programs serve this purpose.” 

Polesovsky thinks the biggest issue women leaders face today is a lack of confidence.  

“That may sound strange because we presume leaders are inherently confident, but I honestly have yet to meet a female leader who hasn’t questioned her ability to lead at some point in her career,” she said.

I believe the tools women need to build confidence include mentorship opportunities, a consistent increase in career responsibilities and platforms to address gender gaps in education and equality in the workplace.

Christina Polesovsky
Associate Director, American Petroleum Institute-Ohio (API Ohio)

The pandemic, Augsburger said, once again highlighted the reality that women carry a heavy, and sometimes disproportionate, share of household and childcare responsibilities. In addition, she said, despite great progress, there still aren’t as many opportunities as there should be for women to advance in certain sectors.

“We also have to learn to be our own best champions before we can effectively advocate for others, but often all it takes is a nudge from someone who sees our potential to unleash that inner leader,” Augsburger said. “I have found that when you give most women a chance, they fly.”