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Women in Leadership Conference

The Women in Leadership Conference is a yearly networking event for undergraduate women at Bellarmine.  Each March,  female students are selected to participate in the conference, which fosters personal and professional growth with each young woman in attendance through 5 major themes:

  1. Mentoring: Each participant is assigned to a prominent woman from the city of Louisville who will serve as a small group leaders.
  2. Professional Development: Women gain insight on a variety of issues including professional attire, job search and graduate school processes, effective communication, negotiating compensation packages and tips for successful performance reviews.
  3. Inspiration: Women will be inspired by the shared stories of panelists, mentors, and chosen participants
  4. Leadership Development: Expounding upon the professional development, women participate in sessions designed to enhance their personal leadership development, such as discovering and utilizing personal strengths, evaluating and managing finances and reaching life goals
  5. Exchange of Ideas: Throughout the conference, women will be exposed to multiple perspectives on best practices, tips for success, and leadership skills.

The event originated with the alignment of several factors. Early in the 21st century, Bellarmine University had a vested interest in developing the leadership skills of students as civic leaders, and it was during this period that the idea for the conference occurred. Bellarmine’s increased focus on leadership development was met with the motivation of a graduate student from the University of Louisville working in the Division of Student Affairs.

When the idea of giving specific focus to female leadership development was first proposed to the campus, there was immediate support for the concept, since 65% of the student population at that time was female. At the first effort toward a larger leadership development initiative, the Division of Student Affairs decided to produce the Women in Leadership Conference by forming a committee of ten Bellarmine students, faculty and administrators who began planning the inaugural conference in October 2004.

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the committee decided that the conference should occur annually during the month of March. After five months of intensive planning by the committee, the inaugural Women in Leadership Conference took place on March 9, 2005, involving 25 undergraduate female Bellarmine students collaborating with 16 professional female leaders from within the Louisville community. The participants interacted with these leaders through a panel discussion, mentor groups and personal and professional development sessions.

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