Women’s leadership program connects Edinboro students to industry leaders

Focusing on leadership and professional development, Edinboro University hosted a forum and orientation for the University’s first ATHENA Connections College Leadership (ACCL) Program.

One of the first four higher-education institutions to launch a chapter of this prestigious female leadership program, EU delivered the outreach workshop on Sept. 9 to 20 leaders and students in the Learning Commons in the Baron-Forness Library.

“This program brings students together with female leaders in industry, non-profit and many other organizations to learn from each other and apply their learning in both educational and professional contexts,” said Monica Clem, executive director of Career Development and Experiential Learning at EU. “Our goal is to steward these young professionals in their journey from student to life after college while helping them develop skills that are transferable to any industry.”

ACCL integrates the ATHENA Leadership Model into a series focused on eight principles of leadership: living authentically, learning constantly, advocating fiercely, acting courageously, fostering collaboration, building relationships, giving back and celebrating. Facilitators consisting of established and emerging female leaders direct each session.

By participating in the ACCL program, students gain an increased sense of self as a leader, gain leadership competence critical to personal and career success and map out a personal pathway for further leadership growth.

The ACCL program features collaboration between EU’s Center for Career Development and Experiential Learning and the Women’s Philanthropy Council.

“The Women’s Philanthropy Council has made great strides in advancing opportunities for young women at Edinboro, and this program allows many of our contributors to get more involved in meaningful, impactful ways,” said Julie Chacona, EU’s Director of Development and Women’s Philanthropy Council representative, who directs the program with Clem. “Programs like this really demonstrate how valuable the WPC is to our students and community.”

ACCL participants demonstrate learning and leadership by planning and executing a capstone project in spring 2018. This project will educate the greater EU community about the ATHENA Leadership Model and the Connections College Leadership experience.

The September orientation also featured guest speaker and Edinboro alumna Andrea Stevenson-Conner (’87), President and Executive Director of ATHENA International. Stevenson-Conner has over a decade of experience in non-profit leadership and an extensive body of work promoting gender leadership equity in a global context.

During her address, she spoke about her own journey from Edinboro to the financial industry, and then to China where she is currently launching the first Chinese chapter of ATHENA Connections.

The 2017-18 ACCL program includes 15 student participants, all of whom were selected based on applications that required a minimum 3.0 GPA, demonstrated leadership and/or campus involvement and a recommendation from a faculty or staff member of Edinboro.

Edinboro University also nominates an outstanding female student each year for the ATHENA Erie Young Professional Award. This year, senior Emily Widomski, a Health and Physical Education major, earned the 2017 EU nomination.

Applications for the 2018-19 ATHENA Connections College Leadership Program at Edinboro University will be accepted this spring.

Individuals interested in serving as facilitators should contact Monica Clem at (814) 732-1460 or Julie Chacona at (814) 732-1779.

Photo caption: Twenty Edinboro University students, facilitators and community leaders met in EU’s Learning Commons for the first ATHENA Connections College Leadership (ACCL) Program orientation on Sept. 9.

ATHENA International