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November 15, 2018

Leadership Lessons at the Second Annual Women’s Leadership Conference

Women's Leadership Conference

Women’s Leadership Conference

Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to fail. Seize opportunities. Connecting with others in person is more important than ever, even in our hyperconnected world.

These are just a few of the takeaways from Adelphi’s second annual Women’s Leadership Conference, which took place on November 3, 2018. In its first year, Adelphi’s daylong conference providing professional development and networking opportunities drew around 130 students and alumni. More than 250 people, including campus staff, who attended for their own professional development and training, attended this year’s conference. Themed “Develop Yourself as a Leader” the conference allowed attendees to learn from speakers about leadership, management and mentoring, building on one’s strengths, overcoming weaknesses, and embracing who you are with confidence.

After opening remarks from Thomas Ward Jr. ’93, executive director of the Center for Career and Professional Development, and Andrea Okun, a career counselor for the center, the breakfast keynote speaker, Carol A. Ammon, M.B.A. ’79, ’10 (Hon.), took the stage. Ammon rose through the ranks to advance from an associate scientist in research and development to become the founder, chair and chief executive officer of Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. She is also a philanthropist and, after retirement, obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“Women lead differently from men,” she told the audience. “Women are more collaborative, more consensus building. We thought we had to emulate men to be successful, but you can’t be successful if you’re trying to be someone else.”

Donna Orender ’07 (Hon.), former president of the Women’s National Basketball Association, CEO of Orender Unlimited and founder of Generation W, was the lunchtime keynote speaker. Orender challenged attendees to find their “Why not?” A former competitive athlete, she also told the audience to not be afraid to get into the game and compete and to not interpret failing with being a failure.

Throughout the day, participants attended breakout sessions on topics that included emotional intelligence, mentoring, diversity and brand building. The conference ended with roundtable discussions on career coaching, civic engagement, financial planning, philanthropy and women’s financial health.

While conferencegoers connected and posted about the conference on LinkedIn, they also discussed what some saw as an overuse of email and other social media platforms. Orender spoke of the power of connecting face-to-face, saying, “In a hyperconnected world, isolation is pervasive. We are social animals. We were wired to be social.”

Attendees attested to the power of attending the conference and networking in person with people at all stages of their careers.

Bianca LaVeglia ’13, an Honors College graduate, said, “Events like the Women’s Leadership Conference are a wonderful opportunity for members of the Adelphi community, both women and men, to come together, share their experiences and learn about the unique challenges facing each of us in the professional world. More importantly, as demonstrated by the various conference panelists, it is not the challenges that define us, but rather how we handle and ultimately triumph over them that are the true signs of leadership.”

Laura Teich ’09, president of L Teich Coaching & Consulting LLC, who sat on the panel for the session “Leading With Optimism and Resilience” and was the roundtable leader for “Career Coaching,” called the conference “engaging” and “empowering.”

“I left feeling energized!” Teich said. “Both Carol Ammon and Donna Orender had inspirational messages, and each panel session I attended offered great ideas and engaging questions from the attendees. As an alumna, I was honored to participate and share my experience and passion for supporting women’s professional development and leadership. The event was a growth opportunity for us all!”

The Women’s Leadership Conference is an initiative of the Office of Alumni Relations and the Center for Career and Professional Development. Plans are underway for the 2019 conference.

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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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