8th Annual Women in Leadership Conference Connects Students Virtually

‌On Monday, March 8th, the Florida State University College of Communication and Information (CCI) hosted the annual Women in Leadership Conference as‌ a ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌Women’s‌ ‌History‌ ‌Month, ‌joining‌ ‌an‌ ‌international‌ ‌effort‌ ‌to‌ ‌highlight‌ ‌female‌ ‌leaders. Starting‌ ‌12‌ ‌years‌ ‌ago‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌small‌ ‌mentoring‌ ‌breakfast‌ ‌organized‌ ‌by‌ the ‌student‌ ‌group‌ Women in IT/ICT Sharing Experiences (WISE), the conference ‌has‌ ‌grown‌ ‌to‌ include ‌over‌ ‌50‌ ‌speakers,‌ ‌20‌ ‌community‌ ‌partner‌ ‌organizations,‌ ‌and‌ ‌over‌ ‌300 alumni‌ ‌and‌ ‌students‌ ‌‌who‌ ‌were‌‌ ‌in‌ ‌attendance‌ ‌last‌ ‌year.‌

To facilitate a virtual setting for the conference, CCI partnered with live stream and media consultant Christine Souders to execute livestreams of the event on both Facebook and YouTube.  This year, we ‌continued‌ ‌to‌ ‌build‌ ‌on‌‌ ‌our‌ ‌guiding‌ ‌theme‌:‌ ‌“Learn,‌ ‌Inspire,‌ and‌ ‌Engage.”‌ ‌The‌ ‌speakers‌ focused‌ ‌on‌ ‌many‌ ‌aspects‌ ‌of‌ ‌leadership in an interview format,‌ ‌using‌ ‌their‌ experiences‌ ‌as‌ ‌inspiration‌ ‌to‌ ‌others.‌ Our speakers and interviewers were all CCI alumni and students with the addition of our honorary alumna, WFSU’s Kim Kelling, a strong supporter of our programs.

Speaker Interviewer Topic
Denishia Sword Kim Kelling Embracing Change
Laura Spears Elizabeth Uchimura Gather your assets and lead
Laura Barrett
Brionna Boileau-Theresias Nicole Mendez The power of being an Intrapreneur
Faith Gealey Johanna Eugenio Developing a Servant Leadership Mindset
Chessa Goodman
Shayla Perry Shannon Mitchell Overcoming Workplace Challenges
Melissa Angel Carson Mitchell Communicating across Silos
Emily Logan Natalie Marcelo STEM efforts on campus
Kelly Newbrough
Cameron Chisolm
Gabby Dunlap
Jennifer Garner Emily Logan Future of Work
Jenn Topper Erika Benton Leadership in Non-Profits
Alissa Ovalle Marquez Mikayla Owen Living Uncomfortably


“Many thanks again to the FSU College of Communication & Information for the invitation to be a part of the Women in Leadership Conference #WIL2021,” said conference speaker Shayla Perry. “I am always honored to participate in events at my alma mater. I arrived at Florida State University at 17 years old. The university was very pivotal in life lessons and discovering what I wanted to do in my life. I had a detour… I have an IT degree but ended up in marketing and events LOL, but hey it all worked out. BE FLEXIBLE!  I thoroughly enjoyed my session, 𝗢𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲. I have received so many messages from session attendees. I love that my transparency helps others. I love to encourage and motivate women who are experiencing/have experienced issues in the workplace.”

In her reflection, interviewer and alumna Mary Carson Mitchell said that the “FSU College of Communication and Information instilled in me a curiosity for all things ‘comms’ and Melissa Angel and I talked about how a CCI degree in Media Studies gave us a wide array of skills and interests in our field. You can make a difference in how we communicate change both globally and here at home in Tallahassee, FL”

Having an online conference also provided some opportunities not available to alumni across the country.  Alumna Hannah Brock had attended two previous conferences as a student.  Since graduating and living in Atlanta, she felt a disconnect from the college.  She said, “I am so glad I got to attend the 2021 Women in Leadership conference this year. I loved hearing from so many talented women about their experiences in the corporate, non-profit and education spaces. As I continue furthering my career I am always looking for ways that I can improve and make a name for myself in my company, and this year at WIL I learned some great ways to do that, but what I thought was even more impactful is how I can continue to help other women coming up behind me. Hearing how women are mentoring and helping to provide opportunities for other women really inspired me to see how I can do the same for younger women in my area/in my company. This year at WIL I was able to attend session where my peers from school were speaking and it is such an awesome opportunity to see all the great things they are doing and how they are doing their best to change the world. I hope that whether virtual or in-person that I am able to attend WIL next year.”

Conference organizer Ebe Randeree said that “the event brings our community together to focus on leadership; we will continue to highlight areas for improvement and support our alumni and students.  This year was different and we look forward to coming back face-to-face next year.”

“I really enjoyed participating in the Women in Leadership Conference for a second time,” said student attendee Isabella Escobar. “I had the opportunity to live post on Instagram throughout the event and enjoyed listening to all of the sessions learning everything from embracing change to living uncomfortably.”

The streaming sessions were watched by 50-60 viewers throughout the five hours and the conference’s recording reached over 392 views. We‌ look forward to returning to the FSU ‌Turnbull‌ ‌Conference Center next year with a face-to-face event that brings us back as a community to meet‌ ‌in‌ ‌person,‌ ‌to‌ ‌shake‌ ‌hands,‌ ‌‌connect,‌ ‌and engage.‌

The recorded event is now available here.