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NASPA was great…new connections, reconnecting, interviewing, pool time, Downtown Disney…all positive things! I want to share my notes from one particular session though: Women Exhibiting Leadership: Navigating a Male Environment. The room was packed for this session..so much so that I sat on the floor and never actually saw the panel! It was okay though…I was able to really focus on their words and filled a whole notebook page with notes. That is what I’ll be sharing below. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down who said what since I couldn’t see the speakers but the panel is listed below:

Cynthia Cherrey, Princeton University

Linda Clement, University of Maryland

Royster Harper, University of Michigan

Patricia Telles-Irvin, Northwestern University

Pat Whitely, University of Miami

Luo Luo Hong, University of Hawai’i, Hilo

They were speaking specifically about how to navigate the predominately male environment in upper administration of higher ed. My notes will seem jumbled, but I wanted to make sure they got out there!

-Be prepared-do your homework

-Spend time with men informally and network the way they do (pick up basketball for this speaker!)

-Apologies, compliments and decision making: 1. Don’t apologize unless it is the right time. 2. Say thank you but don’t say it was nothing. Take ownership for the work of you and your team. 3. Be decisive and move on.

-Crisis can show your leadership

-Return the headhunter’s call.

-Go in and ask for what you want.

-Take risks.

-Only you can put your best foot forward.

-Have a diverse network.

-Make your own decisions about who is for you and who is not.

-Expose yourself-sit on those committees!

-Be flexible, there will be surprises.

-Respond to the headhunters and share the wealth-give them the names of colleagues who are ready to move on and up.

-Be open to opportunities.

-Competency is rewarded with more work.

-See yourself where others can’t see you.

-Softer edges have been impactful, but be assertive and don’t be sorry about it.

-You owe your supervisor the honesty and emotion behind your decisions.

-Self authorship and authenticity are so important

-Be what the situation requires. Be clear what the consequences are for how you’re expressing what you feel.

-Respect external conditions that you can’t change.

-Your situation can change on a dime. There is lots of change in higher education.

-Understand the guild that your president belongs to-not always student affairs.

-Men have to define leadership broadly.

-Understand your privilege. It’s not a competition.

It was awesome to sit in this room with these successful women and hear their stories. It always makes me wonder what my story will be when I get to that level and what I am doing now to make that happen for myself in my journey as a student affairs professional.

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