Be a part of a special program for women seeking to become leaders in higher education administration and student affairs.

Coproduced by several higher education associations, this unique program will bring together administrators from across campus functions to help you:

  • Hone your leadership skills for working in a rapidly changing environment
  • Develop a better understanding of the campus as a workplace and culture
  • Share experiences with others about how campuses are adapting and adjusting to the new reality
  • Create new personal networks and networking skills to better tap the higher education community
Through presentations, small-group exercises, and discussion, you will gain a practical understanding of what it takes to be a leader on a college or university campus—both the challenges and the rewards. Examine the unique roles, skills, and relationships needed to lead as higher education faces and deals with the most challenging period in 50 years.


All times are converted to Eastern Standard Time
Sun, December 03, 2017
12:00 PM


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Those participating in the preconference workshop can pick up their registration materials at this time.

1:00 PM

Preconference Workshop: Modern Job Search

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

There are many aspects to the job search process; however, a strong resume and compelling cover letter are the cornerstone. This preconference session will do a deep dive into constructing and presenting a well-developed resume and cover letter and will address common misconceptions about how and what information should be included on your resume and why a targeted cover letter is important. The session will conclude with a panel discussion and a question and answer opportunity around assessing and developing leadership qualities to support your career trajectory. Participants are asked to bring a current resume and recent cover letter to this session.

3:00 PM


3:00 PM - 6:30 PM

4:30 PM

Conference Welcome and Keynote Speaker: Deesha Dyer

4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Deesha Dyer, former special assistant to the president and White House social secretary during the Obama Administration, will be the opening keynote speaker for the 2017 Women’s Leadership Institute. In her role at the White House, Dyer oversaw state dinners, celebrity performances, and visits by world leaders. She now serves as an advocate for women and as executive director of, a global empowerment and education travel program for teen girls she co-founded in 2014.

6:30 PM

Networking Reception

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar while getting to know other attendees.

Mon, December 04, 2017
7:00 AM

Registration and Bookstore Open

7:00 AM - 5:30 PM

7:15 AM

Book Club

7:15 AM - 8:15 AM

LGBTQ Roundtable

7:15 AM - 8:15 AM


7:15 AM - 8:15 AM

Continental Breakfast

7:15 AM - 8:30 AM

8:30 AM

Finding our Voice: State of Women in Higher Education

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Presented by Toyia K. Younger, Vice President for Leadership Development and Member Services at American Association of State Colleges and Universities

A review of data reveals implicit bias as it pertains to the evaluation of women in the academy. This session will examine trends and demographics of women in leadership and help attendees rethink the role of women in higher education.

10:15 AM

Conflict Management 101

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Kim Harrington, Georgia Tech

How to Negotiate with Anyone-Five Strategies

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Nancy Brooks, Iowa State University, retired

We negotiate many times every day. This session is designed to inform us about what type of negotiation strategy will work best for each situation. By considering the relative importance of both outcome and relationship, it becomes easier to adapt our strategy to achieve optimal results.

Moving Beyond Cultural Competence: Leadership Through an Equity Lens

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Toyia K. Younger, Vice President for Leadership Development at American Association of State Colleges and Universities

This session will explore the evolution of cultural competence and identify skills needed to lead an institution or organization from a history of exclusion to practices of inclusion.

Reclaim Your Time, Reclaim Your Life: Creating an Authentic and Organized Life

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Presented by Joan Maze is the Director of Campus Activities & Operations at Macalester College

11:30 AM

Leadership Moves: Developing Your Career Strategy

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Presented by Ellen Heffernan, President, Spelman Johnson

As you contemplate your next career move, you need to think about not only what the next position might be, but how to package and market “brand you.” From the moment you submit a resume for a position, you are a candidate for that position – how you assess the interview process, maximize your options, and do your due diligence to become the successful candidate are all topics for this presentation. This session will also explore how to differentiate yourself from colleagues in the field, position yourself clearly in the minds of the search committee, and will cover tactical strategies focused on developing a successful job search plan, the leadership qualities and skill sets that are critical for rising leaders in higher education, and the concept of institutional fit.

12:30 PM

Lunch with Small Group Discussions by Geography

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

1:45 PM

Executive Presence

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

3:00 PM

Finding and Strengthening Your Allies on Campus Roundtable

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Collaborating on campuses is an increasingly important part of our professional lives. As we grow in our careers, it is even more vital to find and strengthen your relationships with allies across campus. This is particularly important as we develop as professionals and add to our portfolios. This roundtable discussion will discuss various ways to connect with potential allies on your campus to create partnerships that will support furthering your career.

Successful Time Management Tips Roundtable

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Led by Stephanie Gordon, Vice President for Professional Development at NASPA

Wish you could make more hours appear in the day? Looking for tips on how to make the most of your (ideally) 8 hour work day? Join in to learn about tips in managing your time to be the most productive YOU in this crazy ride of life. Share suggestions with fellow participants in this interactive roundtable discussion about how to make your time work best for you.

Working Caretakers Roundtable

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Led by Angela Coleman, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Florida A&M University

Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a caregiver. This roundtable will emphasize that the focus is on “YOU, the caregiver, not on the family member receiving care.” Roundtable participants will develop a “box of self-care tools” and share their experiences on how to focus on effective self-care practices.

4:15 PM

Being Sponsorable

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Paradigm Shift in Leadership: How to Move from Me to We

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

This session is presented by Karen Morgan. She is the Assistant Provost for the Undergraduate Experience and an associate professor of Mathematics at New Jersey City University..

Likely all of us have all heard the phrase: If you want something done right, do it yourself. Yet, that phrase shouldn't be an adopted mantra for any leader. A leader is only as effective as their team. There are several ways leaders can promote a collaborative culture that we are working together to achieve common goals, including focusing on their team's progression, skill development, evaluative feedback, and positive reinforcement. For this roundtable discussion, we will consider pragmatic approaches and strategies to become "we" leaders.

The Experiences of and Career Path of Underrepresented Women in Student Affairs Roundtable

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Led by Angela Coleman, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Florida A&M University

This roundtable session will provide a platform for women in student affairs to share and hear their voices and experiences. Objectives for this session include sharing survival strategies for women of color, identifying barriers and the campus climate, embracing different learning and management styles, and motivating those attending this roundtable session to support other women entering the field.

6:00 PM


6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

7:30 PM

Association Gatherings

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Tue, December 05, 2017
7:30 AM

Registration and Bookstore Open

7:30 AM - 5:30 PM

7:45 AM

Morning Beach Walk/Run/Roll

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Pursuing an Advanced Degree Roundtable

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Led by Stephanie Gordon, Vice President for Professional Development at NASPA

Thinking about pursuing an advanced degree? Not sure what it takes to make it from start to finish? Join Stephanie Gordon and fellow participants to discuss the path to earning an advanced degree. Share your tips to success or ask questions on how to get started on the process.

Continental Breakfast

7:45 AM - 9:00 AM

9:00 AM

Navigating Organizational Politics

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Have you ever had a good idea shot down unexpectedly? Have you ever wondered how inconsistent performers continue to get promoted? Have you ever been told, “That’s not how things work around here?” Understanding organizational politics is the first step in successfully navigating organizational politics. In this session, we’ll discuss the difference between influence and authority and review a range of strategies you can use to move your ideas and career forward. After completing this workshop, you will be able to: Describe sources of organizational power; Analyze the factors that make people especially influential; Customize persuasion messages based on receivers’ values and preferences; Apply lessons from social movements and political revolutions to drive organizational change; Build the brain trust and coalitions required to move ideas forward.

10:30 AM

WLI Talks

10:30 AM - 12:15 PM

Join four leaders in higher education as they discuss varying perspectives on what women need to be successful in their current roles, advance their career, and find personal fulfillment. Through a “Ted-Talk”approach, each woman will share her unique journey and top three strategies for navigating the multiple roles that women play at work and outside of the office.

12:15 PM

Lunch with Small Group Discussion by Career Stage

12:15 PM - 1:45 PM

1:45 PM

Assertive Communication

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Interest-Based Negotiation

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Presented by Nancy Brooks, Iowa State University, retired

Negotiations can be difficult due to power imbalances often experienced through gender bias. Interest-based negotiation can level the playing field in bargaining efforts. This session examines the strategy of interest-based bargaining as well as the process to achieve the desired outcome.

Managing Up

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

You Can’t Opt Out of Leadership: Becoming an Exceptional Supervisor

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

According to a Gallup (2012) poll, the #1 person that employees do not want to see each day is their boss. Surprising? Maybe not. Other studies indicate that the #1 person that can help propel your career is a great boss. Let's bridge the gap and understand how to become an exceptional boss and to manage up if you don't have the luxury of having a good one. Humor, a safe space to discuss, good conversation, and practical take-aways are all part of this roundtable discussion.

3:15 PM

Being a Leader in Managing Crisis

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Career Change Roundtable

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Examining Wellness and Self-Care

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

While some individuals might thrive from stress, chronic stress can take a toll on our bodies and mental health. How do we learn to better manage our energy when it is already a challenge to manage our time? What are the best practices for developing and maintaining the stamina necessary for advanced leadership? What institutional changes would you make to promote a culture of wellness on your campuses? Join us for a roundtable discussion on considerations for self-care best practices, shared inspiration, and more.

4:30 PM

Breaking Up with the Mirror: Exploring Body Image Through the Lenses of Age, Culture, Leadership, and What You Bring to the Table

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Presented by Dr. Asha Fields Brewer

It's difficult to emotionally support students, when you're reminiscing on the figure you had when you were in school. It's challenging to bring your best self to an interview, when you're distracted by the fit of your formerly “favorite blazer”. Dealing with body image isn't just about finding the perfect makeup, wrinkle cream, and workout regimens. It's about the influences from our culture, our work-space, and our society that shape what we think about ourselves. It's about challenging the disconnect between what we bring to the table, and the package in which it comes wrapped. This workshop will explore body image through an array of lenses, so we can more clearly see our values in ourselves.

Doing Your Best Work: Being Present

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Spirituality and Mindfulness

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

6:00 PM

Dinner on Your Own

6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

8:30 PM

Evening Activity

8:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Enjoy s'mores and hot chocolate around a casual beachside bonfire.

Wed, December 06, 2017
8:00 AM

Registration and Bookstore Open

8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

8:30 AM

Closing Keynote

8:30 AM - 9:45 AM

9:45 AM

Community Review

9:45 AM - 10:30 AM

10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 12:00 PM


Registration includes general session and breakout sessions, program materials, an opening reception, dinner, lunches, brunch, and two continental breakfasts.

Early (by September 22)
Regular (September 23–November 25)




Member Fee Details
The member fee listed above is extended to all members of participating associations. At the time of registration, all delegates will view the member fees. Confirmation of membership by your association will occur, and the additional $100 nonmember fee will be assessed and invoiced to you if necessary.

Cancellation Policy
Upon written request, cancellations will be issued a refund and assessed a $75 processing fee prior to the registration deadline of November 4, 2017. A $150 processing fee will be assessed for a cancellation requested after November 5. No refunds will be issued after November 25, and the full registration fee will be assessed. The entire registration fee is due at the time of registration. A $25 processing fee will be added to all registrations not paid in full by the first day of the seminar. Checks or purchase orders should be made payable to the Association of College Unions International. All registration fees will be refunded if the seminar is cancelled because of low registration. Please register as early as possible so we can plan appropriate program materials.



Lodging is provided by the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The associations have negotiated a deeply discounted rate of $175 for this conference for either single or double occupancy. The resort offers many amenities including spa and golf. You are within a stone's throw of the beach, and the resort offers complimentary coffee and water for morning beach walkers. A fitness center is available for no charge, but the spa also offers a wonderful day pass for $25, which includes use of the newly remodeled spa pool, sauna, hot tub, relaxation room, and locker room.

The resort is just a short drive to the 55-block historic district in Fernandina Beach. It is a quaint historic sea village with antiques, dining, novelty shops, and jewelers.

Resort Information

Hotel reservations may be made online or by calling the reservations department at 866.763.2960. Rates are available until capacity using group name "Women's Leadership Institute 2017."

The group rate is available for the nights of December 3, 4, and 5, with scheduled check-out on December 6 (this follows the schedule of the program). Additional nights, if available, may or may not be awarded the group rate of $175. To ensure you receive the group rate, make reservations before November 3.

Travel from and to Jacksonville International

The Women's Leadership Institute has secured the option for a private car or shuttle service between Jacksonville International Airport and the hotel. You may make a reservation by contacting Amelia Transportation Group by email or phone (904.838.9686).

  • Private Car: $70 (7 a.m.–11 p.m.) or $85 (11 p.m.–7 a.m.)
  • Shuttle: $25 per person, four-person minimum

When making a reservation, include the following information:

  • Arrivals to Jacksonville International: Please provide name, airline/flight number, arrival time, cell number. 
  • Departure from Amelia Island: Please plan on departing the Ritz two hours prior to your flight time.