Enriching Programming Through Unprecedented Scholarships

In Q3 of 2020, while we and the rest of the world tried to navigate out of lockdowns and tried to determine when life would get back to “normal”, Leadership Women started to map out our 2021 programming year. Hoping a vaccine was on the horizon, we strategically planned to start our programs much later in the year, offering virtual programming before we met in-person. As many of our graduates know, our programs are based on the diversity of our participants. For us that means racial and ethnic diversity as well as a range of professions and a geographic mix. The richness of our programming stems from the discussions between our participants – the process of sharing concerns and solutions with others outside your normal work silo. A teacher from a small town, can discuss equity and community with an engineer from a large city….or the Director of a non-profit can discuss the same challenges she faces with a Supervisor from the corporate sector. The value is in the room…the lessons learned from each other help to close the divide and show us the richness of what we have in common – so much more than what separates us.

So while staff determined the best programming strategy for 2021, the Leadership Women Scholarship Committee stepped up to assist those in the educational and non-profit sector by offering scholarships at a level never before seen in our organizational history – guaranteeing that the wealth of thought stayed in the room with a diverse group of women for the 2021 cohorts.

The Leadership Women staff would like to thank Pilar Oates, the Scholarship Committee Chair, along with committee members, Anette Carlisle, Sheilah Clay, Fran Dillard, Lana Porter and Alice Reinarz, for their dedication and their willingness to expand the scholarship monies to unprecedented heights for 2021. With their leadership, both Leadership America and Leadership Texas cohorts were filled to capacity, securing our legacy of putting together classes that represented everyone from physicians to teachers, from engineers to volunteers, to corporate execs to entrepreneurs. And while we extend our thanks, there are a few others who would like to do the same…

“My involvement in Leadership Texas would not have been possible without this organization’s decision to specifically pursue educators’ participation in all that Leadership Women has to offer. As an educator in our public school system, involvement in this type of personal and professional development is simply not feasible for our already stretched district and campus funding. While I can think of so many women leaders in our field who would benefit from being a part of LW, without the scholarship committee’s pursuit of educators to be a part, our districts, schools, professionals and students miss out on the benefit that Leadership Women can and does offer. I am a direct beneficiary of the intentional inclusion of educators in Leadership Texas, and was reminded at our first session in Corpus Christi what a privilege it was to be in the room with all of those amazing women.” Jessie Cayton, Lubbock Independent School District, Lubbock, Texas

“I strongly believe that anyone can be a leader. However, It’s to lead smarter and more effectively that individuals need to seek training and guidance to achieve greater goals. My boss has always described me as life-long-learner. A meeting planning professional whose career was founded with just high school education, I realized that I had to be consistent and constant with hands-on knowledge from both a ‘classroom’ as well as from my peers. I’m an avid seeker for learning opportunities, such as the scholarship I obtained from Leadership Women.  It’s still hard to believe that I am part of this amazing leadership women program. The fact that I’m part of such an elite group of professionals, with education and positions that surpass mine, I consider that in itself a win difficult to quantify in words. I’m a strong believer that, in addition to what you learn from expert speakers in a particular topic, you learn greatly from the people you surround yourself with. You learn as you network and exchange ideas and knowledge.  I’m humble that Leadership Women awarded me a scholarship to be part of this enriching program. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience thus far and it’s one of those opportunities I will treasure for years to come. Thank you!”  Teresa Alfaro, Volunteers of America, Fairfax, Virginia