Women’s resource center celebrates 30th anniversary with leadership summit

Julie Spierer, Special Features Editor

The University’s Women’s Resource Center (WRC) celebrates 30 years of providing women and underrepresented groups support on campus. In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the center hosted a two-day event comprised of a gala and women’s leadership panel. Students, alumni, faculty, and staff joined together to discuss women’s successful achievements beyond our campus.

“The Summit aimed to bring together women across a variety of disciplines to learn from each other and most importantly celebrate each other. The 30th anniversary theme, “Inspired by Women, Empowered for All” really illustrates how important representation is in regards to inspiration and also how there is a global benefit to the work that women are doing. I’m so proud to be the director at a time like this. We are building the next innovators, engineers, founders- leaders,” Kelsey Hicks, Director of the Women’s Resource Center, said.

The Women in Leadership Summit Committee included Carole Bourgeacq-Hardt P’11, Angela Brouse, Lois Engle, Missy Gutkowski, Elif Miskioglu, MarryAnn Sigler Stanton, and Lauren Wicklund.

The center’s establishment

The Women’s Resource Center was co-founded by Jamie Grant and was originally led by staff members and graduate students. At the time of the center’s founding, Grant was employed as the University’s assistant director for annual giving.

Grant’s University job was her first after college, and she wanted to see more attention given to underrepresented groups on campus. She began by forming the women’s studies master’s course inside the University’s interdisciplinary master’s program. On a fellowship, she opened the first Women’s Center and acted as its co-director.

In accordance with its mission toward increasing representation of all students and fostering a sense of inclusion at the University, the center facilitated the establishment of the first LGBTQ group on campus as well.

Throughout the year of the center’s establishment, the campus welcomed feminists of color to speak with students and engage in discussions, as well as help form different support groups to ensure inclusion and comfort on campus.


Coffee talks

On March 1 the University welcomed a variety of female panelists to engage in small-group networking sessions with attendees.

Preceding the coffee talks located throughout campus, students were encouraged to attend a welcome lunch in the ELC with University faculty, staff, and summit guests.

In the Elaine Langone Center (ELC) Arches Lounge, students listened to alumna Bridgette Mayer-Johnson ’96. She told students about her experiences and career path after graduation which led her to her current position as an art gallery dealer and entrepreneur. Mayer-Johnson holds her own gallery in Philadelphia.

Lisa Domanowski ’00, current program director of Moog Inc., a designer and manufacturer of control systems for applications in aerospace, defense, industrial, and medical devices, discussed how to stand out as a leader in an organization as a newly minted engineer. Future engineers listened to her experiences and gained insight on how she got to be in the position she is today.

Diane Vazza P’20, one of the Top 50 Women in Global Fixed Income and Credit, who is now acting Managing Director for the Global Head of Fixed Income S&P Global, discussed her career path in capital markets.

Hillary Mandel P’20, Senior Vice President at the International Management Group (IMG), discussed her experience in the media business and how to deal with its constantly changing qualities. IMG operates in more than 30 countries as a leader in sports, events, media, and fashion.

Women in leadership dinner

In the ELC, Center Room a dinner was held with the Women in Finance club,  Society of Women Engineers, members of Panhellenic Council, members of the U & I Club (Unite and Inspire), student athletes and other student leaders.

“It was wonderful to see so many young women as well as alums and parents come together to discuss women’s empowerment and the challenges we face in the workforce. It was also a really unique experience to have this opportunity to engage with the panelists in such an open setting and it shows how important women’s empowerment is to the Bucknell community,” Mary Anne Click ’19 said.

“It was both inspiring and empowering to be surrounded by such insightful and successful women across all different industries. Events such as last week’s summit serve to create an empowering and supportive environment for women on campus. It is especially important in light of recent events making headlines in the media surrounding sexual assault and harassment in the workforce. It is imperative that we as Bucknellians are conscious of these disparities in the workforce and acknowledge our role in creating an environment that both encourages and fosters the growth of everyone – both men and women,” Kaitlin Stansel ’20, co-president of Unite and Inspire said.

Unite and Inspire functions to empower women in all realms of their lives. To do so, the organization is focused on three initiatives: leadership, philanthropy, and campus education and empowerment. “We hope to provide both a welcoming and encouraging environment for individuals to speak freely about the issues of gender relations and equality on campus and in the workforce,” Stansel said.

30-year celebration gala

Also on Mar. 1, the entire campus community was invited to the Terrace Room in the ELC to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of women and organizations for and by women in a formal event called “Inspired by Women, Empowered for All Gala.”

Advocates and allies for women’s rights were also honored in the celebration. The WRC aims to honor women of all experiences and backgrounds.


The following day, students were encouraged to attend a breakfast in the ELC with the guests for the upcoming panel. Following this, the panelists met with counselors and staff of the Career Development Center. 

In the afternoon, summit attendees entered Walls Lounge in the ELC for a panel discussion with all of the women who facilitated the coffee talks the previous day. Provost Barbara Altmann began the panel’s discussion and welcomed the women in her opening remarks.

The panel included a diverse group of women, representing different industries and experiences that have led them to where they are today. The women spoke of their perspectives on leadership in the workplace, how leadership skills are developed, and insight on fostering leadership qualities.

The women spoke of how their leadership roles impact their organizations and the industries they are a part of.

“Our panelists shared pertinent and current information that can only help our students prepare for future internship/full-time position search, understand the importance of networking and how to maximize your exposure to a field/function during your first few jobs. I love what one of our panelists said ‘do not tell me where or what you want to be in five years. Tell me how you can help me or be part of the solution if you work for me,’” Carole Bourgeacq-Hardt P’11, a member of the summit’s committee said.

If you have any questions or would like to receive support, visit room 63 in the ELC, or contact the center through their email at [email protected]. Visit their Facebook page for updates on speakers and events hosted by the WRC.

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