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Women-Centered Conference Focusing on Job Skills
Registration is still open for the Women's Leadership Conference, an annual training event for UA undergraduate and graduate female students.
Women looking to enter the professional world are encouraged to attend this month's eighth annual Women’s Leadership Conference.The conference provides an opportunity for University of Arizona female students to refine skills and knowledge of the professional world while also networking with professional women.
"People do have certain stereotypes about how men act and about how women act, especially in the work place," said Jaime Levinson, a UA graduate student in educational psychology and the conference's communications committee co-chair.
The April 3 conference is designed for undergraduate and graduate students studying in the colleges of Science, Engineering, Agriculture and Life Sciences and also the Eller College of Management, but women in other colleges are welcome to register.
The conference will be held 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tucson Marriott University Park, 880 E. 2nd St. The $15 registration fee covers breakfast and an etiquette lunch.
Though women make up roughly half of the workforce, men outnumber them in high-ranking positions. As of 2009, only 12 Fortune 500 companies had female chief executive officers or presidents.
Susan Butler, an executive for Accenture, initiated the conference, commonly known as WLC, in response to such statistics.
Butler intended for the conference to help women develop skills that would further enable them to succeed in the professional realm.
This year's WLC theme is “Transitioning into the Professional Realm," and the conference will include three workshops focusing on cultural diversity, the contemporary resume and ways to build professional credibility. Of the three available workshops participants can choose two to attend, along with the etiquette lunch, which is open to everyone.
“This conference is about playing off of specific skills that women have and skills they’ll need in the workplace,” said Levinson, who stressed that the conference is also about teaching participates skills they may never have thought they would need.
Some of these skills will be taught in the cultural diversity workshop, which addresses different behaviors expected from people with different backgrounds.
“Here, if someone doesn’t shake my hand I would think that was pretty rude. But somewhere else if you touch someone’s hand, especially if you’re a woman, that’s considered unacceptable,” Levinson said.
The goals of the conference include helping students create a vision of themselves as leaders and a plan for success, as well provide them with an opportunity to gain from the advice and experience of successful women already part of the workplace.
In addition to the workshops, an etiquette lunch is included. There, participants will learn what the proper behavior is for business lunches and other “eat and meets,” Levinson said.
"A lot of meetings are done over food," she said, “so what is the proper etiquette for that?” She stressed WLC’s goal of teaching students skills they may not even know they will need to have.
The conference also includes a guest of panelists who will share their experiences in the workplace and answer questions from the audience.
Panelists include Susan Ernsky, senior vice president of Mission Trust, and Dr. Julie Lang, a UA assistant professor os surgery and director of the Breast Surgical Oncology Program at the Arizona's Cancer Center.
“This is one of the only times you’ll have access to this diverse group of women," Levinson said.
"You have your skills and abilities just as you are and that’s fine but a lot of other people have the same skills and abilities," she added. "This conference will really give you a step up... to get that job and really move up in whatever profession you choose."