University News

Women's Leadership Conference Inspires, Unites, and Empowers

The University of New Haven's fifth annual Women's Leadership Conference focused on empowerment, bringing more than 250 women together to make important connections, and to learn from and motivate each other.

October 21, 2019

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of move in day
More than 250 people attended the University's Women's Leadership Conference. (photo credit: Robert Rattner)

Priscilla Osei '21 MBA is only a few weeks into her first semester at the University of New Haven. In attending the University's recent Women's Leadership Conference, she has already learned an important lesson she will take with her into her career.

"My takeaway was to go after what you want without worrying about what others might say," she said.

Image of Eileen Scully
Eileen Scully (photo credit: Robert Rattner)

The fifth annual Women's Leadership Conference, which focused on empowerment, brought together University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the local community. Faculty members were encouraged to bring their students with them, which many of them did. More than 250 people – including some men – attended the event, more than double last year's turnout.

"I'm glad the University supported and enabled women – students, faculty, and staff – to attend the conference," said Kathleen Roberts, the University's director of conference services. "It was exciting to sit in a room with so many female members of the community, from all areas of the University."

Eileen Scully, founder and CEO of The Rising Tides, a consulting firm dedicated to making workplaces better for women, was the first of two featured speakers. She encouraged women to support each other as sponsors, mentors, and advocates, and she questioned some of the ways that women have been conditioned to think about themselves, their abilities, and their achievements.

"Are you lucky, or did you earn this?" Scully asked. "You aren't lucky. You deserve it. You earned it. Stop saying this happened because you are lucky."

"Go after what you want without worrying about what others might say."Priscilla Osei '21 MBA
Image of Tiffany Dufu
Tiffany Dufu speaks at the conference. (photo credit: Robert Rattner)

Later in the day, Diane Smith, a distinguished lecturer at the University, a Connecticut media veteran, and Emmy Award-winning journalist, led a discussion with Tiffany Dufu, the CEO and founder of The Cru, a peer coaching service for women. The author of Drop the Ball: Achieving more by Doing Less, Dufu discussed how "dropping the ball" can enhance women's lives and reduce stress.

"'Dropping the ball' means we thought carefully about dropping unrealistic expectations," said Dufu. "You aren't the source of your own expectations of yourself unless you get clear and start asking yourself questions."

"You aren't the source of your own expectations of yourself unless you get clear and start asking yourself questions"Tiffany Dufu

Attendees also attended two workshops on topics that included feminism, closing the wage gap, and building solidarity.

Stephanie Zide '21 attended the workshop titled, "Women and Investing: Knowledge is Power – Six Simple Steps to Spring into Financial Action," and she says she learned about the importance of investing in stocks at a young age. She says the workshop – and the conference as a whole – was invaluable.

Image of workshop
Attendees went to two workshops at the conference. (photo credit: Robert Rattner)

"I liked how diversified it was, and how many different points the talks and workshops touched on," she said. "I am a sport management major, and women's empowerment is very important in this field. This conference made me feel empowered."