Be a part of a special program for women seeking to become leaders in higher education administration and student affairs.

Coproduced by several higher education associations, this unique program will bring together administrators from across campus functions to help you:

  • Hone your leadership skills for working in a rapidly changing environment
  • Develop a better understanding of the campus as a workplace and culture
  • Share experiences with others about how campuses are adapting and adjusting to the new reality
  • Create new personal networks and networking skills to better tap the higher education community
Through presentations, small-group exercises, and discussion, you will gain a practical understanding of what it takes to be a leader on a college or university campus—both the challenges and the rewards. Examine the unique roles, skills, and relationships needed to lead as higher education faces and deals with the most challenging period in 50 years.

Sample Schedule

All times are converted to Eastern Standard Time
Sun, December 03, 2017
12:00 PM


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Those participating in the preconference workshop can pick up their registration materials at this time.

1:00 PM

Preconference Workshop: Modern Job Search

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

There are many aspects to the job search process; however, a strong resume and compelling cover letter are the cornerstone. This preconference session will do a deep dive into constructing and presenting a well-developed resume and cover letter and will address common misconceptions about how and what information should be included on your resume and why a targeted cover letter is important. The session will conclude with a panel discussion and a question and answer opportunity around assessing and developing leadership qualities to support your career trajectory. Participants are asked to bring a current resume and recent cover letter to this session.

3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 6:30 PM

4:30 PM

Conference Welcome and Keynote Speaker: Deesha Dyer

4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Deesha Dyer, former special assistant to the president and White House social secretary during the Obama Administration, will be the opening keynote speaker for the 2017 Women's Leadership Institute. In her role at the White House, Dyer oversaw state dinners, celebrity performances, and visits by world leaders. She now serves as an advocate for women and as executive director of, a global empowerment and education travel program for teen girls she co-founded in 2014.

There's No Map to Your Yellow Brick Road

We always think we have our lives mapped out, especially as women. From high school and beyond we are told to go to school, pick a career, start a family and basically save the world; like a magical yellow brick road of expectations will take us the success-land. I admit that I thought that too until along the way the collisions and crashes unexpectedly came. This talk will focus on how I never made it back to that road but found enough strength to build my own.

6:30 PM

Networking Reception

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar while getting to know other attendees.

Mon, December 04, 2017
7:00 AM

Registration and Bookstore Open

7:00 AM - 5:30 PM

7:15 AM

Book Club

7:15 AM - 8:15 AM

LGBTQ Roundtable

7:15 AM - 8:15 AM


7:15 AM - 8:15 AM

Continental Breakfast

7:15 AM - 8:30 AM

8:30 AM

Finding our Voice: State of Women in Higher Education

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Presented by Toyia K. Younger, Vice President for Leadership Development and Member Services at American Association of State Colleges and Universities

A review of data reveals implicit bias as it pertains to the evaluation of women in the academy. This session will examine trends and demographics of women in leadership and help attendees rethink the role of women in higher education.

10:15 AM

Conflict Management 101

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Kim Harrington, Georgia Tech

Conflict is a natural part of the workplace; it is how one manages conflict that determines the strength of their leadership. This session will offer an overview of conflict management as it relates to women's leadership.

How to Negotiate with Anyone-Five Strategies

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Nancy Brooks, Iowa State University, retired

We negotiate many times every day. This session is designed to inform us about what type of negotiation strategy will work best for each situation. By considering the relative importance of both outcome and relationship, it becomes easier to adapt our strategy to achieve optimal results.

Moving Beyond Cultural Competence: Leadership Through an Equity Lens

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Toyia K. Younger, Vice President for Leadership Development at American Association of State Colleges and Universities

This session will explore the evolution of cultural competence and identify skills needed to lead an institution or organization from a history of exclusion to practices of inclusion.

Reclaim Your Time, Reclaim Your Life: Creating an Authentic and Organized Life

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Joan Maze is the Director of Campus Activities & Operations at Macalester College

Contrary to what many people believe, managing your time isn't about finding the right planner or finding the best calendar app. How we manage our time can be the difference between burning out or living the life of your dreams. In this session, you will find out how to reclaim your time by getting clear about who you are, what you want, and what you are willing to do to accomplish your goals.

11:30 AM

Leadership Moves: Developing Your Career Strategy

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Presented by Ellen Heffernan, President, Spelman Johnson

As you contemplate your next career move, you need to think about not only what the next position might be, but how to package and market “brand you.” From the moment you submit a resume for a position, you are a candidate for that position – how you assess the interview process, maximize your options, and do your due diligence to become the successful candidate are all topics for this presentation. This session will also explore how to differentiate yourself from colleagues in the field, position yourself clearly in the minds of the search committee, and will cover tactical strategies focused on developing a successful job search plan, the leadership qualities and skill sets that are critical for rising leaders in higher education, and the concept of institutional fit.

12:30 PM

Lunch with Small Group Discussions by Geography

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

1:45 PM

Executive Presence

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Presented by Teri Bump, Vice President of University Relations, American Campus Communities

Do you have the communication skills to be heard, the gravitas to gain respect, and an appearance that garners positive professional interest? Those with executive presence get noticed and sponsored. This fast-paced session will share research on the how, what, and why of being visible, sponsored, and promoted. Everything here is a choice that can be learned and integrated in ways that accentuate your strengths and professional presence. Sylvia Hewlett discovered that executive presence is a dynamic combination of what you say, what you do, and how you show up. These elements are not equal but are all essential to develop if you desire to drive your career trajectory. Both being a leader and being perceived by others as a leader will be critical to your success. We will take a look at our communication, gravitas, and appearance so we can identify and embody the executive presence required to have choices and control our destiny.

3:00 PM

Finding and Strengthening Your Allies on Campus Roundtable

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Collaborating on campuses is an increasingly important part of our professional lives. As we grow in our careers, it is even more vital to find and strengthen your relationships with allies across campus. This is particularly important as we develop as professionals and add to our portfolios. This roundtable discussion will discuss various ways to connect with potential allies on your campus to create partnerships that will support furthering your career.

Successful Time Management Tips Roundtable

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Led by Stephanie Gordon, Vice President for Professional Development at NASPA

Wish you could make more hours appear in the day? Looking for tips on how to make the most of your (ideally) 8 hour work day? Join in to learn about tips in managing your time to be the most productive YOU in this crazy ride of life. Share suggestions with fellow participants in this interactive roundtable discussion about how to make your time work best for you.

Working Caretakers Roundtable

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Led by Angela Coleman, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Florida A&M University

Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a caregiver. This roundtable will emphasize that the focus is on “YOU, the caregiver, not on the family member receiving care.” Roundtable participants will develop a “box of self-care tools” and share their experiences on how to focus on effective self-care practices.

4:15 PM

Being Sponsorable

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Presented by Teri Bump, American Campus Communitities

The Sponsor Effect: Pushing, Pulling & Promoting You

Who will tell you the real truth about your work & executive presence? Who's willing & has the power to push, pull & promote you where & when it counts? Who's willing to go out on a limb for you?

Sponsors provide a competitive career advantage, go out on a limb, and provide stretch assignments and opportunities for career advancement. Join us to discover the opportunities this distinct role provides and how to initiate and steward this type of relationship at all levels in higher education. Learn to choose efficacy over affinity and develop relationships that can super charge your career growth and trajectory.

Paradigm Shift in Leadership: How to Move from Me to We

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

This session is presented by Karen Morgan. She is the Assistant Provost for the Undergraduate Experience and an associate professor of Mathematics at New Jersey City University..

Likely all of us have all heard the phrase: If you want something done right, do it yourself. Yet, that phrase shouldn't be an adopted mantra for any leader. A leader is only as effective as their team. There are several ways leaders can promote a collaborative culture that we are working together to achieve common goals, including focusing on their team's progression, skill development, evaluative feedback, and positive reinforcement. For this roundtable discussion, we will consider pragmatic approaches and strategies to become "we" leaders.

The Experiences of and Career Path of Underrepresented Women in Student Affairs Roundtable

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Led by Angela Coleman, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Florida A&M University

This roundtable session will provide a platform for women in student affairs to share and hear their voices and experiences. Objectives for this session include sharing survival strategies for women of color, identifying barriers and the campus climate, embracing different learning and management styles, and motivating those attending this roundtable session to support other women entering the field.

6:00 PM


6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

7:30 PM

Association Gatherings

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Tue, December 05, 2017
7:30 AM

Registration and Bookstore Open

7:30 AM - 5:30 PM

7:45 AM

Morning Beach Walk/Run/Roll

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Pursuing an Advanced Degree Roundtable

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Led by Stephanie Gordon, Vice President for Professional Development at NASPA

Thinking about pursuing an advanced degree? Not sure what it takes to make it from start to finish? Join Stephanie Gordon and fellow participants to discuss the path to earning an advanced degree. Share your tips to success or ask questions on how to get started on the process.

Continental Breakfast

7:45 AM - 9:00 AM

9:00 AM

Navigating Organizational Politics

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Pesented by Allison M. Vaillancourt, PhD, Vice President of Business Affairs & Human Resources at the University of Arizona

Have you ever had a good idea shot down unexpectedly? Have you ever wondered how inconsistent performers continue to get promoted? Have you ever been told, “That's not how things work around here?" Understanding organizational politics is the first step in successfully navigating organizational politics. In this session, we'll discuss the difference between influence and authority and review a range of strategies you can use to move your ideas and career forward. After completing this workshop, you will be able to: Describe sources of organizational power; Analyze the factors that make people especially influential; Customize persuasion messages based on receivers' values and preferences; Apply lessons from social movements and political revolutions to drive organizational change; Build the brain trust and coalitions required to move ideas forward.

10:30 AM

WLI Talks

10:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Presenters include:
Ann Marie Klotz
Cory Owen
Karen Morgan
Liz Gordon Canlas

Join four leaders in higher education as they discuss varying perspectives on what women need to be successful in their current roles, advance their career, and find personal fulfillment. Through a “Ted-Talk"approach, each woman will share her unique journey and top three strategies for navigating the multiple roles that women play at work and outside of the office.

12:15 PM

Lunch with Small Group Discussion by Career Stage

12:15 PM - 1:45 PM

1:45 PM

Assertive Communication: Tools and Strategies

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Presented by Allison Crume, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Florida State University

Communication is a top skill throughout industries and roles. Often women find themselves leaning on passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive communication techniques when assertive communication may be the best route. This session will discuss communication tools and strategies to assist with participant's assertive voice. Active attendee participation and involvement will be key to the success of the program.

Interest-Based Negotiation

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Presented by Nancy Brooks, Iowa State University, retired

Negotiations can be difficult due to power imbalances often experienced through gender bias. Interest-based negotiation can level the playing field in bargaining efforts. This session examines the strategy of interest-based bargaining as well as the process to achieve the desired outcome.

Managing Up

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Presented by Mamta Accapadi, Vice President of Student Affairs at Rollins College

Relationships are one of the conduits by which we do our work. When we examine our own effectiveness as leaders, we often look at skills, trainings, and knowledge that we need to accomplish our organizational and institutional goals. What would it mean to uplift the relationships that make us effective? One such relationship, the one we share with our supervisors and other higher-up institutional leaders, can be transformative to our careers. In this session, we will identify what it means to 'manage up,' develop personal strategies to engage our 'higher-ups' in our own career journey, and achieving our career aspirations with joy along the way.

You Can’t Opt Out of Leadership: Becoming an Exceptional Supervisor

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Presented by Dr. Ann Marie Klotz, incoming Vice President of Student Affairs at Radford

According to a Gallup (2012) poll, the #1 person that employees do not want to see each day is their boss. Surprising? Maybe not. Other studies indicate that the #1 person that can help propel your career is a great boss. Let's bridge the gap and understand how to become an exceptional boss and to manage up if you don't have the luxury of having a good one. Humor, a safe space to discuss, good conversation, and practical take-aways are all part of this roundtable discussion.

3:15 PM

Being a Leader in Managing Crisis

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

This session is presented by Pat Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs at University of Miami

In today's climate, crises on college campus range from mass shootings to hurricane and storm relief to controversial speaker preparation. In times of crisis, all departments are called into action to best support the needs of the campus community and often times, the community as a whole. Join this session to learn some of the leadership challenges you could face in times of turmoil and how to best address these in the most impactful manner.

Career Change Roundtable

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Facilitated by Kim Harrington, AVP of Human Resources, Georgia Tech

Please join this discussion about successfully navigating a career change. If you are considering a career change, in the middle of a change, or just on the other side of one – we look forward to your voice in the conversation.

Examining Wellness

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Presented by Liz Gordon-Canlas

It seems that as women advance in our careers, the ability to prioritize our wellness diminishes. How do we learn to better manage our energy when it is already a challenge to manage our time? What are the best practices for developing and maintaining the stamina necessary for advanced leadership? What institutional changes would you make to promote a culture of wellness on your campuses? Join us for a roundtable discussion on considerations for self-care best practices, shared inspiration, and more.

4:30 PM

Breaking Up with the Mirror: Exploring Body Image Through the Lenses of Age, Culture, Leadership, and What You Bring to the Table

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Presented by Dr. Asha Fields Brewer

It's difficult to emotionally support students, when you're reminiscing on the figure you had when you were in school. It's challenging to bring your best self to an interview, when you're distracted by the fit of your formerly “favorite blazer”. Dealing with body image isn't just about finding the perfect makeup, wrinkle cream, and workout regimens. It's about the influences from our culture, our work-space, and our society that shape what we think about ourselves. It's about challenging the disconnect between what we bring to the table, and the package in which it comes wrapped. This workshop will explore body image through an array of lenses, so we can more clearly see our values in ourselves.

Doing Your Best Work: Being Present

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

This session is presented by Pat Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs at University of Miami

Between the constant notifications, finding ways to be present can present a challenge. Work, school, home, family, and personal lives are not separate lives, but rather all part of our person that need equal attention. How do you maintain balance and manage to give each of these the best care and attention possible? Join in for a session focused on just how to achieve finding the best balance that works for you and how to ensure the ability to stay present in the moment needed.

Spirituality and Mindfulness

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Presented by Mamta Accapadi, Vice President of Student Affairs at Rollins College

What would leading from our most present selves feel like? In the busy-ness of our work, and our commitment to professional excellence, we often give all of our energy to others- other people, other organizations, other projects. A thoughtful mindfulness practice creates the opportunity for us to invest in ourselves, fully present of the energies and expectations around us, and lead from a centered place. In this session, we will talk about what a thoughtful mindful practice could look like, and develop mindfulness mandalas for ourselves.

6:00 PM

Dinner on Your Own

6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

8:30 PM

Evening Activity

8:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Enjoy s'mores and hot chocolate around a casual beachside bonfire.

Wed, December 06, 2017
8:00 AM

Registration and Bookstore Open

8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

8:30 AM

Closing Keynote: Voices from the Cabinet: Women Leaders in Higher Education

8:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Panel moderated by Raymonda Burgma, University of Denver Director of HERS Institute

Panelists include:
Tess Barker, JD, PhD
Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor
University of Michigan – Flint

Susan E. Borrego, Ph.D
University of Michigan-Flint

Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D.
Becker College

Patty Patria, MBA, PMP, CISSP
Vice President for Information Technology
Becker College

The demographics of cabinets in postsecondary education are changing – albeit slowly. With more women ascending to senior-leadership positions such as the chief of staff, vice presidential roles, and ultimately the presidency, it is integral that we understand the various philosophies of teamwork in achieving strategic goals at a college or university and how being a woman in leadership position can affect process of achieving those goals.

9:45 AM

Community Review

9:45 AM - 10:30 AM

10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 12:00 PM


Registration includes general session and breakout sessions, program materials, an opening reception, dinner, lunches, brunch, and two continental breakfasts. Registration will be available soon.

 Early (by September 19)
Regular (September 20–November 21)



Member Fee Details
The member fee listed above is extended to all members of participating associations. At the time of registration, all delegates will view the member fees. Confirmation of membership by your association will occur, and the additional $100 nonmember fee will be assessed and invoiced to you if necessary.

The cancellation policy is available here.



Lodging is provided by the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.

Single or double occupancy: $169, including complimentary resort fee

Hotel reservations may be made  online  or by calling the reservations department at 877.622.3056. Rates are available until capacity using group name "Women's Leadership Institute 2018."  Make reservations before November 9.

Please note that onsite parking is $29 per day with valet parking available at $36 per day. Parking is either outdoor or in an underground garage with a 6’ 8” clearance.


Travel to and from the Hotel

The Women's Leadership Institute has secured reduced rates between John Wayne (SNA), Long Beach (LGB), Los Angeles (LAX), or LA/Ontario International (ONT) Airport and the hotel with Super Shuttle although there are several companies that serve each airport. The hotel does not provide airport shuttle service. You may make a reservation by contacting Super Shuttle for either a private car, a private or shared shuttle (LAX or SNA only). For booking Super Shuttle, use this link or discount code SJDLB for a 5% one way or 10% roundtrip discount. 

The Newport Beach Marriott is located at 900 Newport Center Drive,  Newport Beach, CA  92660.