SMWC Leadership Summit empowers students to break barriers
December 9th, 2015 | SMWC
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) students are known for aspiring higher, reaching for more, breaking the barriers. And that’s exactly what the 5th annual Leadership Summit, hosted by SMWC Student Senate, focused on this year – “Breaking the Barrier: Men and Women in the Workplace.” With an emphasis on women’s leadership, the Leadership Summit explores topics to cultivate students into leaders with confidence.
"Leadership is a hallmark of a Woods education, and we want to add to that and provide a unique opportunity for students who want to explore leadership," states Casey Dust, SMWC Student Senate president and sophomore elementary education major.
Keynote speaker, Robyn Lugar, associate professor at Indiana State University (ISU), spoke to SMWC students about finding their leadership style and shared her professional experiences with them.
“Every person, every female, has a different style. I think sometimes we’ve been brought up that we should be followers and not leaders. That we shouldn’t listen to our inner voice, and that sometimes we don’t necessarily volunteer to be a leader, either in a small group, organization or department. We think that we should wait for someone else because that someone else may be more qualified, more experienced. But you have so much more than you’ve ever dreamed within you that can allow you to achieve great things if you just take that first step.”
Lugar has served ISU for five years as field director and 15 years as chair of the department of social work. Lugar has developed faculty-led international education experiences and institutional partnerships in Russia, Morocco and South Korea.
“One quality of success is to listen to that inner voice,” stated Lugar. “If something says do it, it might seem crazy at the time, but go ahead and take the risk anyway.”
All participants attended two sessions: “Confidence in the Workplace” and “Interviews.” “Confidence in the Workplace” -- led by Melanie Beaver, SMWC adjunct faculty, and Nicole Kellen, director of Family and Donor Support Services at Mid-America Transplant Services -- taught students how to present a professional image and competence in their skills while still presenting themselves in a respectable manner. The “Interviews” session -- led by Mary Ann Conroy, SMWC Board of Trustee, and Becky Holbert, Vermillion County Purdue 4-H extension educator -- eased anxiety about the hiring process through preparation and discussions about expectations and professionalism.
The panel discussion, Professionalism on Social Media and in the Workplace, provided participants with multiple perspectives on a variety of leadership issues. Panelists included Rob Lundstrom, local business entrepreneur and SMWC Board of Trustees member; John DeLisle, high school business teacher, social media guru and Dave Ramsey financial follower; Lindsay Hull, assistant director of operations and education at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and SMWC alum; and Brittany Mackey, assistant youth services librarian at Vigo Co. Public Library and current Woods Online student.
“This year’s Leadership Summit was a success,” states Dust. “Student participants were engaged in the sessions, panel discussion and keynote address; we gained valuable insight into real-world application of leadership, information that will stay will us as we begin our careers.”