Women Who Lead Pre-Conference Breakfast inspires female leaders

Photo: From left to right, U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, State Senator Anitere Flores, SGC-MMC President Liane Sippin, and State Representative Jeanette Nunez. 

Photo by Giselle Cancio/FIUSM 

Giselle Cancio/Staff Writer 

The Student Government Association, the Office of Governmental Relations and the Women’s Center hosted the Women Who Lead Pre-Conference Breakfast in order to celebrate and honor the year’s work of FIU’s female student and administrative leadership.

“We wanted to provide the opportunity to glean various meaningful insights from three of FIU’s greatest supporters and introduce many of FIU’s more influential women,” Alexis Calatayud, Director of Governmental Relations for SGA, sophomore majoring in political science.

Three women were selected to speak and host a panel, and they were selected because of their desire to build up and pour into the next generation of FIU women leaders.

“They have distinguished themselves throughout their careers as women of commitment and service to the South Florida and, particularly, the FIU community,” Calatayud said.

U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, State Senator Anitere Flores and State Representative Jeanette Nunez, all of which are FIU alumni lead the discussion with the students.

They discussed how to develop leadership, embrace the unexpected journeys career paths may lead into and balance career objectives and personal lives.

All three women shared a very direct message on pursuing goals and not being afraid to launch into ventures that are out of one’s comfort zone. Sometimes a planned out life does not work out as planned, and it’s a matter of rolling with the punches and embracing opportunities as they arrive.

As women, it must be understood that the ideal of a woman’s balanced career and personal life are false expectations. Rather, women must focus on the work, time and relationships at hand at each given moment which include being 100 percent present at all times. In this way, we appreciate and invest into each part of our lives intensely, rather than investing in several things at once.

“The Pre-Conference Women Leadership Breakfast was an incredible opportunity to interact with women leaders that excel both in the professional and personal realm,” Tiffany Roman-Biffa, sophomore majoring in international relations, said. “It also gave me a new perspective in how to take advantage of my leadership roles to learn more about myself and what I want to achieve in life.”

There were distinguished guests of the FIU community present, including Dr. Anne Sippin, Dr. Cecile Houry and Barbara Bader.

Dr. Sippin has been in the field of education for over 30 years. She currently advises international students and scholars on immigration issues and specializes in F-1 and J-1 issues. She was born in Cuba and grew up in Miami, and is an undergraduate alumnae from FIU.

Dr. Cecile Houry was recently appointed Assistant Vice President in the Office of Engagement. She also received the FIU Community Award in October 2011.

Barbara Bader is the founding director of FIU’s Educational Leadership Enhancement Program that began in 1993 — a position she continues to hold today. In 2004, she was recognized for her leadership and continuous outreach to colleagues and was the recipient of the Florida Association for Women in Education Presidential Award.

Female leaders were given the opportunity to glean insight from three of the most powerful and humble public servants in the State. Student leaders were given perspectives of two women in their thirties who have well established business and political reputations. One of these women is in her early sixties with decades of leadership growth and has reached the highest level of office and colleague and community esteem.

“It was a fantastic event! All of the speakers were engaged, honest and wonderful.” Tylin Woodstock, sophomore majoring in political science, said. “It really motivated me as a political science major that it’s fine if I’m unsure about how I want to use my degree because it’s flexible. Internships will direct me to my purpose like it did for Senator Flores.”

More information will be available for the Women Who Lead Conference in early February and the conference will take place March 24 at MMC and March 25 at BBC.

“We are excited this Pre-Conference breakfast will encourage women to attend the actual conference in March,” Calatayud said.


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