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Leadership during tough times focus of virtual women’s conference

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Community leaders from business, education and nonprofits will anchor the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Women’s Leadership Conference that will be held virtually from March 2-4.

They will lead a range of virtual sessions, offering career and personal guidance and sharing stories about successes and challenges. The annual event is coordinated by UL Lafayette’s Office for Campus Diversity, in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

This year’s conference will touch on issues such as balancing family and work, empowerment, health and wellness, and inclusion, said Dr. Taniecea Arceneaux Mallery, UL Lafayette’s executive director of Strategic Initiatives and chief diversity officer.

“I anticipate our speakers will explore these topics in the context of some of the unprecedented challenges facing our nation – isolation and anxiety during the pandemic, social injustice, and political uncertainty,” she explained.

“The objective, as always, will be to help each other figure out, ‘how do we take care of ourselves, our families and each other? How do we stay positive in the midst of everything going on? How do we adapt and continue to succeed?’”

The University’s Women’s Leadership Conference, in its 14th year, is typically a one-day, in-person event. It’s being held virtually this year to ensure the health and safety of attendees, Mallery said.

“The format is different, but the focus remains the same – professional development, and helping women leaders connect, establish support systems, share ideas, learn about community resources, and hear about each other’s experiences.”

Mallery envisions the virtual format will attract people from different regions of the state and country to an already popular conference. More than 300 people attended last year’s event at UL Lafayette’s Student Union.

She is also hopeful to expand the scope of a conference that “is geared toward – but not exclusive to – women.”

“As family and workplace roles increasingly shift, especially now when many partners are working from home at the same time, personal and professional success for each is more interdependent than ever,” she said.

As part of the conference, three women will be recognized during virtual awards presentations. 

The Sarah Brabant Trailblazer Award, which was established in 2016, recognizes a leader’s longstanding contributions to her community and profession. It was established in 2016 to honor Brabant’s commitment to advancing women’s equity. She is professor emeritus of sociology at UL Lafayette.

The Emerging Leader Award, which was created last year, recognizes “young people who are quickly becoming influential leaders,” Mallery said. A Rising Leader Award will also be given for the first time in recognition of “mid-career accomplishments.”

Learn more about the Women’s Leadership Conference

Graphic credit: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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