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Women of color find vibrant community at April leadership conference

Anita Cline-Cole is practicing her leadership skills working with the Universitys Leadership Institute for the upcoming Power and Possibilities conference in April.
Anita Cline-Cole is practicing her leadership skills working with the Universitys Leadership Institute for the upcoming Power and Possibilities conference in April.
St. Catherine University

To Anita Cline-Cole, the opportunities, access to power and possibilities that exist for women of color are strongly tied to community and creating a space for that community. Cline-Cole is creating that space as she helps plan the upcoming St. Kate’s annual leadership conference for women-of-color in April, “Power and Possibilities.”

Cline-Cole, originally from West Africa, works in the University’s Graduate Admissions office, but is also doing an internship with St. Kate’s Leadership Institute, under the guidance of Director Mary Angela Baker, as part of her studies for a master’s degree. This year’s conference has become her special project.

Conference is about values
The conference embodies, says Cline-Cole, two of the university’s enduring goals—social justice and women’s leadership. “We have an amazing faculty and staff, and this conference gives us an opportunity to showcase them to the community,” Cline-Cole says.

What began several years ago as an effort to introduce the community to St. Kate’s has in recent years created an informal community of professional women who get together once a year to network and renew old ties.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see,” says Baker. “When these women get together, it’s like being in a small town where people know each other. The connections people make are marvelous. One year, there were two women who had met for the first time, and they stayed talking together that day, long after the conference had concluded.”

Twin Cities Superintendents to share experience, expertise
Drawing professional women from across the Twin Cities metropolitan area, this year’s conference will headline two keynote speakers: Superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools Valeria Silva and Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools Bernadeia Johnson. Additionally, participants will engage in table topic discussions that cover a broad range of areas, including: mapping your career; collaboration and trust; how to build your circle of influence; and creating your own personal board of directors.

“Anyone who is getting to know St. Kate’s for the first time can’t help but be impressed not just by the quality of faculty and staff, but also with how passionate our students are about being here and being a Katie,” Cline-Cole says. “So, this conference is a great recruitment tool for us in acquainting the women leaders of color in our communities with what St. Kate’s has to offer.

To learn more
The conference is Wednesday, April 13, 3-6:30 p.m. Cost is $35 for general public, $30 for St. Kate's alumnae and $10 for students with a valid ID. To register, visit the University's Leadership Institute website.

Feb. 28, 2011 by Arline Datu

See also: Business, Leadership, Students