Medal of Freedom winner to headline UCCS Women’s Leadership Symposium

A winner of the United States’ highest civilian honor and widely known management expert will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Women’s Leadership Symposium May 1 at UCCS.

Frances Hesselbein, president and CEO, Leader to Leader Institute, will conclude a morning of workshops and discussions about fighting poverty, creating self-sufficiency, philanthropy, political action, communication and leadership.

Hesselbein earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 which recognized her as “a pioneer for women, diversity and inclusion.” She was hailed by management expert Peter Drucker as “the United State’s best leader” for her work in transforming Girl Scouts of the United States. Hesselbein led Girl Scouts from 1976 to 1990 and is credited with reforms to make the organization more inclusive, increasing its overall membership to record levels and tripling minority membership.

At the same time, she flattened the organization’s management structure moving from a traditional “top down” organization to a structure where the CEO stands in the middle of the organization and encourages employee ownership and listening.

Hesselbein’s speech, titled “Building Leadership to Build Healthy Communities” is expected to highlight her management philosophies based on careful study of known experts such as Drucker in combination with her own management and life experiences.

“Look after the community; you can’t be responsible for only your company,” Hesselbein told a reporter from The Economic Times. “You must ask your people: what is our vision for a healthy community that we are going to help build? Look out of the window and identify the trends that are coming and perhaps cannot be seen. You must always prepare the response; you don’t want to wait for the tsunami to hit.”

For more about Hesselbein, visit

Hesselbein’s comments will begin at 1:45 p.m. in the UCCS University Center Ballroom. Beginning at 10 a.m., there will be a panel discussion about increasing the impact of women in leadership and challenges facing women leaders. The discussion will feature Pam Laird, professor of history, University of Colorado Denver; Andrea Herrera, professor, Women’s and Ethnic Studies, UCCS; Jan Martin, Colorado Springs City Council member; Cathy Robbins, vice president, El Pomar Foundation; and Margaret Sabin, CEO, Penrose-St. Francis Health System.

Three workshops are also planned. They are:

“Whitehouse Project Benchmarking Report” will be lead by Donna Shavlik, former director of the Office of Women in Higher Education for the American Council on Education, and Darlyne Bailey, dean, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr College.

“Fighting Poverty and Creating Economic Self Sufficiency: Philanthropy and Political Action” will be led by Tracey Steward of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

“Strategic Communication and Leadership” will be led by Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor, UCCS,  and Jody Alyn, Jody Alyn Consulting. Participating in a panel discussion will be Donna Williams, chair, Rising Professionals and vice chair of the Urban League;  Maria Arias, vice president for operations management, Comcast; and Marilyn Newell, realtor and former investment banker.

Lunch and workshops are planned prior the Hesselbein’s address.

For more information, or to register ($30 includes lunch), please visit

Sponsors of this year’s event include El Pomar Foundation, the Gay and Lesbian Fund of Colorado, TIAA-CREF, Girl Scouts, and UCCS.

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