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KLI to Host Women and Leadership Conference

Posted February 9, 2016 in News

By Jeremy Anderson ’19

The 24th Kravis-de Roulet Conference, hosted by the Kravis Leadership Institute (KLI) and Claremont McKenna College (CMC) on Saturday, February 20, 2016, centers on “Women’s Leadership Journeys Revealed: Attributes, Styles, and Impact.” Click here to watch the conference highlights.

The conference, which began in 1990 and funded jointly by an endowment from Henry R. Kravis and the de Roulet family, will join leading scholars in the study of women and leadership with women leaders from diverse sectors to guide conference participants on their journeys to impactful leadership.

Meredith Brenalvirez ‘80, a member of the conference’s planning committee and KLI’s Advisory Board, believes this year’s theme will broaden conference participants’ perspectives on leadership and hopefully inspire young students to greatness. Brenalvirez explained the theme “identifies one of the key distinctions between women and men as leaders: how they got to the top. Women in leadership positions don’t often follow the straight-line career path of business that one might expect of their male colleagues.” Furthermore, Brenalvirez emphasized, “it isn’t just stepping away to rear children that is different for women: it is the career choices, blend of industries, paid and unpaid work, unanticipated diversions. Women leaders today have had to re-order priorities, re-invent their life plans and goals, and sometimes break new ground. This is true of women in the military, for-profit, nonprofit, government, politics and education.”

CMC Professor of Literature Audrey Bilger, who will speak at the conference, believes that women interested in pursuing leadership paths should meet and hear the stories of as many women leaders as possible. This will help them to develop their own style and to set their individual course. Courtney Chan ‘17, who helped plan the conference, agrees that the conference is an amazing opportunity for attendees to discover exactly what attributes and styles can lead to impact. Professor Bilger hopes that the conference will be inspirational for conference participants.

The conference, taking place in the Pickford Auditorium, includes a series of presentations, dialogues, fireside chats, and a networking reception. Tina Daniels ‘93, Whitney Bouck ‘88, Arielle Zuckerberg ‘11, and Professor Bilger will participate in a dialogue on the topic of “Women in Media and Technology.” When asked why she chose to speak on this topic Professor Bilger said, “as a gender studies professor, I am committed to equality for women and see the technology industry as an arena in which women have faced obstacles and outright hostility. This group of women leaders is considered to be equally committed to people working within the industry.”

Other conference dialogues include “Women and Politics” moderated by CMC alum and Political professor Kathryn Pearson ’93, featuring former Arizona Gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones and Scripps professor of Politics Vanessa Tyson, and “Journey to the C-Suite and Corporate Boards”, moderated by Betsy Berkemer-Credaire, author of The Board Game – How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors, featuring Barbara Barret, Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland, and Lydia Kennard, accomplished CEO and urban planner. Suvena Yerneni ‘18, views the conference as “a great chance to hear women’s success stories in these areas and as for the alumni, their transition from CMC to the professional world.”

The awe inspiring line up of speakers continues with CMC President Emerita, Pamela B. Gann, in a fireside chat with Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College during lunch at the Marian Miner-Cook Athenaeum. Crystal Hoyt ‘97, Professor of Leadership Studies and Psychology at the University of Richmond discussing important beliefs, including leadership efficacy and growth mindsets, which can help women overcome potential identity threat in the domain of leadership. And a talk by Joanna Barsh, Director Emerita of McKinsey & Company and author of How Remarkable Women Lead, which aims to teach young leaders to create a world at work in which they are doing meaningful work, learning and growing, forming and belonging to a community, finding their voice, and sustaining positive energy.

The planning committee for this year’s conference strived to replicate the success of previous conferences. This year’s co-chairs Tina Daniels, KLI Advisory Board member, and Sherylle Tan, KLI Interim Director, led a program planning team comprised of board members Sarah Smith-Orr, Meredith Brenalvirez, Leigh Teece, and Beth Pagel Serebransky, and KLI staff members Sara Thompson and Tammy Duggan-Herd. Looking back, Ms. Brenalvirez believes it was a “productive partnership from the start, with a free-flow of ideas and dialogue from all members of the team.” She quipped that the dynamic nature of the team “resulted in a fruitful and energetic brainstorming session.” The team assembled an extraordinary group of women leaders with a wide range of backgrounds to share their perspectives with conference attendees. Combined with the innovative research of top scholars from around the country, this year’s conference is very promising.

The 24th Kravis-de Roulet Conference is your chance to gain invaluable insights to guide your journey to impactful leadership! Registration is FREE for 7C’s students, faculty, and staff. To take part in this engaging and transformative experience register here.