Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Women's leadership seminar to include speed-mentoring

Participants in the state's premier women's leadership seminar this year will get a special one-on-one speed mentoring workshop.

The special session replaces a panel of experts in the six-week class, which is an 11-year project between the La Follette School and Wisconsin Women in Government that helps mid-level women managers move into leadership positions by building on their skills in management, networking and leadership.

"We evaluate our offering every year with our WWIG partners," says Bridget Pirsch, La Follette's coordinator of the program since its inception. "We decided this year that a one-on-one discussion with experts would be a better use of our limited time."

La Follette School career development coordinator Mary Russell will handle the specifics of the night since it is similar to a speed networking session she has run for La Follette graduate students. Each student will meet with a mentor face to face for three minutes before moving to the next one. WWIG will recruit the needed 20 experts to provide the personal sessions for each seminar participant.

In addition, the six-week session include its usual courses on the process of decision-making and the effect of gender, management style, small groups and political culture on that process. Other classes examine how policy issues emerge and develop, and how the policy process unfolds. Participants also practice their writing and presentation skills.

"The Wisconsin Women in Government Seminar promotes women's participation in public affairs and helps them take the next step in their careers,'' says Dennis Dresang, an emeritus professor with the La Follette School who helped set up the joint program. He said the seminar helps WWIG's mission to help women build careers in government-related fields. For the La Follette School, the seminar is a component of its practice of the Wisconsin Idea, of extending the boundaries of the university to the borders of the state.

In addition to Dresang, faculty include Susan Webb Yackee, an associate professor at La Follette; Georgia Duerst-Lahti, a professor of political science at Beloit College; Alice Honeywell, a writing consultant and former La Follette School publications director; and Terry Shelton, La Follette School outreach director.

The program begins January 15 and includes two full Saturdays and four evening sessions. Applications for the 2011 seminar are due by December 10. Details available online.