By MADELENE BIRENBAUM
On June 25-28, the Women’s Leadership Institute at Mount Mary College will help students transform their lives outside of the classroom through NEW Leadership Wisconsin, an award-winning, bi-partisan program for emerging women interested in public office and/or leadership roles.
Compromised of speakers, workshops and lectures, the conference gives attendees lessons on networking and workplace diversity. Attendees come from a variety of Wisconsin colleges and universities with diverse interests, backgrounds and goals.
What these students have in common is their ambition to be women leaders. The goal of NEW Leadership Wisconsin is to teach students how to be better leaders by learning the basics of professionalism, such as how to act confidently, speak eloquently and have an appropriate social media presence.
Brianna Glossett, who graduates this May with a degree in social work, attended last year’s program. Glossett said participating in NEW Leadership Wisconsin is “a very good idea … because you learn so many skills you probably never thought you would learn.”
Networking is one skill Glossett said she practiced at the conference. She learned simple ways of networking, which included introducing herself and meeting new people.
In “speed networking,” a variation of speed dating, students introduce themselves to speakers and influential women leaders and learn about workplace professionalism. The activity takes on characteristics of an interview in two short minutes.
“The smallest things you can do will help you in the long run,” Glosset said, referring to the activity.
Basma Wadeea, an accounting and business administration major, also attended last year’s program. She praised the program’s networking and public speaking activities. “Listening to all the amazing speakers and having the opportunity to communicate with important people was a great experience,” Wadeea said.
NEW Leadership Wisconsin teaches students about self-branding with a variety of activities. Students learn their strengths, leadership styles and personal visions. The students take these skills and transfer them into a self-brand.
“[The conference] just showed me that everyone has those times where they feel like they are not in the right place, but they know they should be there,” Glossett said. “A unique part of the WLI program is its diversity in students.”
A student’s college or university funds the cost to attend NEW Leadership Wisconsin. Awards are distributed at the end of the program.
Last year, Wadeea was chosen among her peers as “Outstanding Leader.”
“Being picked as the ‘Outstanding Leader’ at the end of the program inspired me to be a true, determined leader in the community for a better society. I have to admit that it’s one of the best educational experiences I have ever had in my life,” Wadeea said.