Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wisconsin women working in government complete leadership program

Twenty-one women took part in the 14th annual leadership training seminar sponsored by Wisconsin Women in Government and the La Follette School of Public Affairs in January and February.

Women participating in the five-week leadership course work in two legislative offices; the state departments of Administration, Corrections, Employee Trust Funds, Health Services, Natural Resources, Transportation; state Supreme Court System's Board of Bar Examiners, Public Service Commission and Capitol Police; the Dane County Executive's Office; Madison Mayor's Office, Sustain Dane, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

"Once again, we have an outstanding class," says Bridget Pirsch, the La Follette outreach specialist who handles arrangements for the class. "Each year the reputation of the class grows and spreads, and more women around the state see the seminar as a vital step in their professional and personal growth and networking."

La Follette School director Susan Yackee was lead faculty for the seminar. She was joined by La Follette School professors Dennis Dresang and Donald Moynihan, UW–Madison political science professor Christina Ewig, Jessica Tormey of UW System Administration and UW Extension editor and communications expert Kristine Zaballos.

The program provides management and leadership training for women working in state and local government, and a few who work for businesses and non-profits that interact with government.

Over the course of 30 hours, participants explore topics such as organizational culture, performance management, networking, leadership styles, ethics, gender and power, Wisconsin's political culture, effective writing and presentation skills. The instruction includes case studies, readings and writing and other exercises. In addition, participants get advice from current political leaders and professionals, and take part in a speed-mentoring session featuring many seminar graduates and officers and members of WWIG.

This year's class began with a full-day session on January 18, and ended with a graduation ceremony on February 8, with an address by Tia Nelson, executive secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

Funding for the seminar is raised each year at the annual WWIG Scholarship and Recognition Gala scheduled for Tuesday, May 6, with keynote speaker Kay Bailey Hutchison, a former U.S. senator from Texas.