To empower female leaders on campus, the Fall Women UVU Employees Seminar and Lunch was sponsored and held by the Utah Women & Leadership Project on Oct. 31. With the announcement of a new founded Women’s Council, around 100 female staff, advisors and professors united for an inspiring lunch.

The director of the Utah Women & Leadership project Dr. Susan R. Maedsen, said that she wanted to bring UVU’s women together to the table on the topic of “Courage Over Comfort.” She underlined that colleges and educational institutions have to push women forward on the career ladder in order to be more successful in leadership positions.

“This lunch is really focused on female employees. For women specifically, we like to stay in our comfort zone. We have a lot of women who love what they are doing but want to stay in the zone but it is critically important that we have women leaders,” Maedsen said. “We really try to make women on this campus want to move up in their leadership positions.”

The council is a combination of student affairs, academic affairs and human ressources to create a grounded institution for females on campus. The Vice President for Planning, Budget & Human Resources Linda Makin presented some of the council’s long-term goals.

“We want to have have 50 percent female administrators, 50 percent graduation rate among women and 50 percent female faculty on our campus,” Makin said. “We will see some magical transformations.”

She was applauded by announcing one of the Committee’s goals in the next year is to work toward receiving approval for 6-week paid maternity leave for UVU employees. Also, they are working on anxiety and suicide prevention mentoring.

The attendees were inspired with shared stories of UVU’s women in leadership positions. Judy Martindale, the Interim President of Human Resources, has worked all the way up as a single mother. Her advice is for students in this direction is to get educated, work hard and do homework. She pressured the idea that women shouldn’t be guided by their parents’ ideas, but instead build careers in which they can be proud of. Gae Robinson, a student advisor in the Communication Department said that she could also identify with Martindale’s experience.

“I came from the same kind of struggle as she did. As I was married, we had our own business, then my husband left me and I had no education so I started college when I was 57,” Robinson said. “Now I am an advisor now and I love it. It just shows that with that hard work and determination, women can do anything.”

Photo taken by Eileen Lechteborger

Correction:
This article was corrected on Nov. 1, 2018. Previous versions misstated that there will be six weeks of paid maternity leave; rather, the university is still working toward it.