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M. Geneva Murray

Dr. M. Geneva Murray

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Women Leading OHIO professional development program accepting applications for 2019-20 cohort

Application deadline is Aug. 16


The Ohio University Women’s Center will host Women Leading OHIO, a professional development program for faculty and staff, for the fourth consecutive year.

The program, which begins Oct. 4 and meets weekly on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., is open to about 15 participants who will engage in networking, discussion and education focused on women’s roles in the workplace and in higher education. It is most beneficial to early-career employees who have three or fewer years of service at the University. The 2019-20 cohort application deadline is Aug. 16.

Director of the OHIO Women’s Center Dr. M. Geneva Murray said “the goal of the program is to foster professional and leadership development, while connecting with a cohort of others who are early in their careers and can serve as a support network as our participants transition to life as an adopted Bobcat and Athens community member.”

Participants will have an opportunity to engage in mentoring or job shadowing with on-campus leaders, network with professionals within the University, investigate and discuss gender issues in higher education and learn about career paths and advancement. They also will attend the ACE Women’s Network of Ohio Conference at Edison State Community College (Nov. 1) and the Celebrate Women Conference at Ohio University Lancaster in the spring.

“It's been an impactful experience for the participants and I really enjoy seeing the connections they have made – both in the program and those with their mentors and guest speakers,” Dr. Murray said. “It also aligns with the University's strategic pathways that emphasize diversity and inclusion because one of the program’s goals is to support diverse staff and faculty by sharing this cohort experience, and to identify ways in which we can be allies to one another within the workplace and community. We want to create an environment on campus that makes people want to stay here.”

Through the WLO Alumnae Group, there also will be socials for participants. This year’s Alumnae Group co-chairs are Jenn Bennett, director of WellWorks, and Mychael Ihnat, a resident director in Housing and Residence Life.

“The Alumnae Group is an investment in the Women Leading Ohio community,” Bennett said. “This continuation of the program allows our cohorts to stay connected and expand their relationships with the other participants. It is also a space for us to connect, foster and lift up our areas of interests, such as writing, wellness and fun.”

Bennett said Women Leading Ohio was a blessing to her when she arrived on campus because it gave her a community of women to connect with and share experiences with inside and outside of the workplace. 

“It fostered my growth in observing and honoring different leadership styles,” Bennett said. “WLO allowed me to examine my definition, journey and celebration of success, not only for myself but for and with others. It is wonderful as a supervisor to know that such a valuable program such as Women Leading OHIO is offered on our campus and the return on this investment continues long after the program ends.”

Ihnat said she believes that one of the biggest advantages of joining WLO is connecting with women across campus whom she likely would not have had the opportunity to meet without it.

“This past year, the Alumnae Group has helped me continue building relationships with all members of WLO by hosting either a monthly social event or an interest group throughout the year,” Ihnat said. “Without WLO, I would have never met so many awesome and spectacular women at Ohio University. It has really opened many doors to new and great ideas of how to improve my skills and leadership.” 

Dr. Murray said the Women's Center is willing to work with applicants’ colleges or departments in order to secure the $800 contribution that covers the cost of the program.

She said the program is typically less expensive than attending an out-of-town conference and is cost effective.

“WLO gives employees a full year of experience that aims to embed them in the campus community,” Dr. Murray said.

To apply or to nominate someone for a role in the program, visit https://ohio.campuslabs.com/engage/submitter/form/start/277745. Self-nominations are encouraged.

For more information or to have a written letter about the program sent to your department or college, contact Dr. M. Geneva Murray at murraym2@ohio.edu.

Testimonials from WLO alumnae:

Nikole Morris, director of E-Systems in the Graduate College: "As a new member of the campus community, the primary benefit was the expansion of my OHIO network. WLO exposed me to a wide range of OHIO employees with both academic and administrative roles on campus. The cohorts are an amazing opportunity to meet with a diverse group of OHIO women while being connected to resources and tools that may help shape your career path here at OHIO and beyond."

Anna Pierre, manager of communication and academic relations in Undergraduate Admissions: “As a naturally inquisitive person, Women Leading OHIO helped me think about the questions I should be asking and motivated me to find the answers. It gave me the confidence to pursue relationships and opportunities that I would not have sought out in the past. Through those relationships and additional opportunities – like job shadowing – I have been able to explore my personal and professional goals and seek out new professional developmental pathways.”

Dana Wright, administrative specialist in Housing and Residence Life: “Now that I’ve completed the entire program I can say that my expectations were surpassed! Every week, I was challenged to examine myself both personally and professionally and I was given the tools, knowledge and support to make real changes in my approach to leadership. One of the most valuable results was the friendship and supportive relationships built among all of the women in the cohort. My network on campus has grown substantially from all of the people that I met through this program.”

Related Links

Women's Center