Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Women to start in leadership seminar

A class of 23 women, including for the first time a seated legislator, will take part in the 13th annual leadership training seminar sponsored by Wisconsin Women in Government and the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Rep. Mandy Wright of Wausau, who was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in November, will join elected officials, lawyers, police, engineers, health officials, state agency workers and legislative aides for this six-week leadership program.

"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 this as a vital step in their professional and personal growth and networking."

The class was started in 2001 by the WWIG board in partnership with professor Dennis Dresang of the La Follette School and professor Georgia Duerst-Lahti of Beloit College. Other instructors include professor Susan Yackee of the La Follette School and writing consultant Kristine Zaballos. The program provides management and leadership training for women working in state and local government. The class also accepts a limited number of women from business and non-profits who interact with government.

Over the course of 32 hours, seminar participants explore topics such as organizational culture, 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 begins with a full-day session on Saturday, January 19, and ends with a graduation ceremony on Tuesday night, February 12, where the invited speaker is Kitty Rhoades, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.