Empowering Leadership at Miami and Beyond

Group of 20 women who participated in the Empowering Leadership at Miami and Beyond Pre-Semester Program, 2019Group of 20 women who participated in the 2019 program

In its second year, the Empowering Leadership at Miami and Beyond pre-semester program for new students aims to inspire and prepare students to run for office in college and beyond.

During the 2019 program, held right before Move-In in August, 20 incoming students explored the connection between gender and leadership, with a focus on college women’s interest in and experiences with leadership. Participants spent two days together learning from Miami faculty, Associated Student Government leaders, and elected officials about how to get involved in leadership opportunities in college and specifically at Miami.

The program included an Elect Her workshop, a national program sponsored by Running Start that prepares women to successfully run for student government office.

Program Origin

The Empowering Leadership at Miami and Beyond program began in 2018 through a M.I.A.M.I. WOMEN Giving Circle grant. Colleen Bunn (then an assistant director in residence life) presented the idea at the Hawk Tank event that spring. The concept received funding for a graduate student (Christina Fitzpatrick, MA ‘17) to develop and pilot the program that fall.

“We want to help close the gender gap in elected office by inspiring and preparing students to pursue leadership positions, roles and experiences from the moment they set foot on campus,” said Bunn in the proposal. “When women are not at the table, everybody loses.”

This year, the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion assumed responsibility for the program after Bunn left Miami for another position. Jane Goettsch, director of women*s initiatives for the Center, took on the planning.

“The goals of the program are to expose participants to and help students explore the role gender plays in leadership,” said Goettsch. “But the heart of the program is getting women to run for office on campus.”

What’s Next? How to Run for Office and Change the World

Students and others interested in learning more about women in government and leadership roles can attend the How to Run for Office and Change the World event on September 23, 2019 at 7 p.m. in Room 104 of the Shriver Center. The event will feature Kate Black ‘06, co-author of “Represent: The Woman’s Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World,” and Dr. Renate Crawford. A reception and book signing will follow.