More than 100 people attended the “Women in Leadership: A Networking Luncheon for the Next Generation” on Friday, September 22, at Tusculum College.
The luncheon was sponsored by the Offices of Career Development and Multicultural Affairs to provide students the opportunity to meet and learn about their careers of interest from local leading professional women in those fields.
Jacquelyn Elliott, vice president for admission and financial aid at Tusculum, made a brief presentation about women in leadership and challenged those in the room to be both mentors and pupils to others whether they were students or professionals. Elliott is also a grant-sponsored research assistant for the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program hosted at Drexel University, a program advancing women in academic leadership at medical colleges across the nation.
In research of women in leadership, Elliott said she has found that women typically accept the gender stereotypes about leadership such as that female leaders are nurturing of those around them whereas male leaders are focused on the bottom line.
However, she challenged those in the room to follow their heart and be true to themselves as individuals as they assume positions of leadership in their careers and communities, to remember that “the human heart is more than a pump.”
Elliott encouraged the students to seek out mentors, whether it be in the career of interest, in community service, or in spiritual matters. Although it has been traditionally thought that one should seek a mentor similar to oneself, she continued, studies have shown that mentor relationships in which the individuals are different have been successful because people learn much from each others’ differences.
Good mentors listen to their proteges, are understanding, challenge them to exceed their expectations, coach them toward success, help build their self-confidence, provide counsel, teach by example, and offer encouragement, Elliott said.
Mentors should encourage their proteges to communicate openly with them, set guidelines and expectations from the beginning, and establish performance measures because it is a serious business relationship, she continued.
Everyone can benefit from mentoring relationships, Elliott said, encouraging both the professional leaders and students to act as mentors as well as seek out their own mentors.
Sixteen women professionals from the education, business, medical, law enforcement, financial, engineering, and judicial fields participated in the luncheon. They included:
- Michelle Collins Barefield, a physical therapist at Greeneville Orthopaedic Clinic;
- Karen Burke, a deputy U.S. marshal for the Eastern Judicial District of Tennessee;
- Shawn Collins, manager for customer care at Forward Air, Inc.
- Jacquelyn Elliott, vice president for admission and financial aid at Tusculum College;
- Dr. Kimberly Estep, provost and academic vice president at Tusculum;
- Judith Henry, chief executive officer of Worthy Solutions, a firm dedicated to helping business leaders build sustainable, collaborative relationships;
- Dr. Lisa Johnson, director of the School of Education and director of learning support services at Tusculum;
- Jennifer Keller, branch manager at the east Greeneville branch of First Tennessee Bank;
- Dr. Vicki Kirk, assistant director of instruction for Greeneville City Schools;
- Ivy Leonard, treasurer for Leonard Associates, a management company overseeing BTL Industries, LMR Plastics, and several other associated companies and commercial warehouses;
- Cynthia Bibb Pectol, a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Mediator and an adjunct faculty member at Tusculum;
- Kelly Kreiter Penning, human resource manager for John Deere Power Products;
- Glenda Robinson, director of pharmacy for Greene Valley Developmental Center;
- Helen Smith, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern Judicial District of Tennessee;
- Cathy Walden, president of W & W Engineering, LLC; and
- Andie Westwood, clinical liaison for Reckitt Benckiser in its pharmaceutical division.