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Leadership conference the antidote to winter blahs

It’s the middle of January. Days are short, nights come too quickly and you’re stuck…in winter, or maybe you’re just stuck.

The antidote for these doldrums, according to Mary Angela Baker, is to bring some 300 professionals into one room together with engaging, dynamic visionaries and seasoned practitioners to consider what it takes to be a leader in the 21st century.

January, says Baker, is the time for reassessment and review. As Director of Continuing Education and the Leadership Institute, she oversees the planning and preparation for St. Kate’s annual Leadership Challenge, a daylong business conference for women, which traditionally meets in January and will hold its 14th convening on Jan. 27.

“It is the perfect time to jump-start our thinking about our connections with people, how we can strengthen our relationships, what resources are at our disposal and how all of this helps us to develop our skills as leaders, no matter what our roles or where we are in our lives,” Baker says.

In fact, where we are in our lives is all about local leadership and the concept of managing from the middle. “We all need to consider developing our leadership skills as one way to enhance our ability to influence those around us,” Baker says, “whether we are in a reporting relationship with them or just engaging with them in the course of our lives.”

Changing perspectives
Can local leadership have a global impact? That notion is behind this year’s conference theme, Think Global: Lead Local. Baker explains that St. Kate’s has already established its commitment to create curriculum that is more international.

“It is a decision acknowledging that the United States is becoming a multicultural society. We are a rich nation because of it, and we see it on our campuses, in the workplace and in our communities. The conference will offer workshops, seminars and networking opportunities that focus on the global aspects of leadership.”

One workshop, Navigating Chaos: Leading Change in the Global Marketplace demonstrates how a mono-cultural mindset can be a liability and why it is important to develop cultural competencies to keep pace with the economic and social transformations that are occurring on a worldwide scale.

Simply put, Baker says, "it’s important to know that other cultures may approach concepts such as decision-making differently."

Workshops topics also include:
- Leading in an International Corporation: A Panel Discussion by Best Buy Executive Women Leaders
- Leadership Competencies That Matter
- Clarity Counts: The Power of Crystal Clear Decision Making
- Enhancing your Leadership Skills by Serving on Boards

And for the fitness-minded, there is Desk Pilates—Living Pilates Every Day.

“The day is all about celebrating women’s leadership,” Baker says. “Our goal is to provide information and inspiration. When participants walk out of the room at the end of the day, they’ll have the tools and resources they’ll need to take their next action steps.”

Learn more
The Leadership Challenge conference begins Thursday, Jan. 27 at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 3:30 p.m. with a networking reception. Cost is $240; Twin Cities Women Council members and St. Kate's alumnae receive a $10 discount. To register and see all keynote speakers and workshops, visit the University's Leadership Institute.

Jan. 14, 2011 by Arline Datu

See also: Business, Leadership