The Advancement of Women
On the drive to the Centennial Conference last summer, Red Tassel members Chapter President Blair Fernandez and Secretary and Membership Chair Brendan Wall developed the concept for the chapter’s Women in Leadership Panel, which they hoped would start a successful new tradition. They left the conference with nothing but excitement to continue to push their chapter forward. This passion and energy can be seen in the success of the Women in Leadership Panel. “We wanted leaders on the panel who had personally encouraged our members,” said Blair. “It was important the chapter felt connected to these leaders. When we reached out and expressed this to the six women we invited to our panel, they felt honored someone in the chapter had mentioned them by name.” The panelists were Nikki Brauer, director of Health Promotion and Wellness; Kate Piper, coordinator of Student Activities and Involvement; Barb Dallinger, associate director of the Bone Student Center; Angell Howard, coordinator for professional development in the Vice President’s Office; Shannon Darling, academic advisor in University College; and Ani Yazedjian, professor and chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

The chapter prepared ten questions as a group to ask the panel and allowed time for participants to ask their own questions. Brendan explained, “We asked them about the challenges they had in their careers and if they ever wished another leader would have spoken up for them, but we also asked fun questions like what their favorite leisure activity is or what is a failure they learned from.” When asked what was most impactful about the event, both agreed it was the honesty of the panel Blair noted, “When you are a woman leader on campus, your genuineness sometimes gets withheld, but [our panel] did not hold back on any question we asked. It really connected me with their answers, they gave us real raw information.” Brendan also appreciated how “they shared experiences when men leaders had stood up for them and situations where they hadn’t and they wished they had. This helped the men in the room understand when we should take action to make these inequalities not a normal work place occurrence.”

Everyone who attended walked away from the event with a different lesson learned. With the pilot program, the chapter laid the groundwork for this panel to become an annual event. Said Brendan, “Leadership is really something you are not born to. … Leadership is a skill you develop and hone your whole life; and only by taking opportunities [and] learning from mistakes and others can you be an effective leader.”

Blair offered this advice for other chapters and members. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to those who are in leadership at your university because they want to help and encourage you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from those in power because they have done truly amazing things to get there.”

Welcome New 1918 Society Members
Steven Biondolillo, Boston University, 1976
Susan Deane, The University of Denver, 1974
Barbara Doster, The Ohio State University, 1955
Jane Farrell, University of Wyoming, 1976
Dave Forman, University of Wyoming, 1977
Ann McDonald, Southern Methodist University, 1956
John Parker, University of Missouri - Kansas City, 1989
Doris Ponitz, Michigan State University, 1953
Michael Reagan, Friend of Mortar Board
Nelda Stuck, Michigan State University, 1958
Greg Ziebell, University of Arizona, 1976
Mortar Board has a unique place in the history. Founded in 1918, Mortar Board was the first national organization to honor college senior women. Before women had the right to vote in the United States, Mortar Board members were leading their society to prominence across the country. Read more about this empowering 100 year history in your own copy of the centennial publication. Order at Purdue Press (code: PURDUE20) or on Amazon.
A family history of Mortar Boarders, a deep dive into the Ideal of service and a look into the exception year of the Forum chapter, this issue of the Forum has everything. Interested in receiving a hard copy of the Forum? Get a 12 month subscription for only $25. Better yet, join the MBAA and get your subscription free. Recently have a life change or achievement, we want to feature you! Share your news to be in the Mortar Board Forum .