The fifth annual Women and Leadership Conference, put on by the Andrus Center, will take place in the Student Union Building on Sept. 27 and 28. The event welcomes attendees from the Pacific Northwest and will host multiple guest speakers from across the country and Treasure Valley.
“Over 800 people are expected to attend this year,” said program coordinator for the event, Katherine Robb. “This is the largest number considering last year we sold out at 700 tickets.”
The professional development conference is a chance for women and men to discuss professional leadership roles and development. This year’s conference theme is “Lessons in Leadership.”
“Each speaker will tell their story and what their lessons in becoming a leader were,” Robb said. “We try to bring all of our keynote speakers from across the country-though there is one from within Idaho.”
The keynote speakers coming to campus include, but are not limited to, Captain Gail Harris, who was the first African American Naval Captain, Meredith Walker, author Anne Doyle and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization.
Sophomore biology major Tanner Anderson was interested to learn about this event.
“I think bringing these big names and others from out of state will not only spark interest in the discussion among its avid supporters, but may even pique the interest of those who may not necessarily agree with the premises the event appears to be based upon,” said Anderson. “Especially with an event like this. That may sound strange, but I feel that talks of social equity are taboo here in the 208 and people can’t always relate to the discussion or they straight up don’t want to participate.”
Robb explained that during this professional development conference the goal is to bring to the forefront the issues women face getting into leadership positions, but also bring in the professional development aspect with the skill-builder sessions.
There will be 20 skill-builder sessions led by different speakers. Each session will last an hour and fifteen minutes and focus on different aspects of professional development, such as public speaking, caregiving, interviewing and practicing personal care.
“It is all-encompassing to help live a well-rounded life while showing that you don’t have to neglect one area of life to do another,” Robb said.
Robb explained a majority of those attending the conference are from Idaho, but others from the Pacific Northwest also come.
“Businesses, such as HP, send their employees to the conference and are supportive of this opportunity,” Robb said.
This year, the tickets were priced at $215. In the future, however, there will be a push for scholarships for more students to attend.
“I think that having Boise State host the event despite the event not being directly for the benefit of students is really great,” Anderson said. “It allows Boise State to become part of a larger community outside of Boise and lets people come and see what Idaho has to offer.”
Robb explaineds that the opportunity to be involved every year in this event goes beyond just attending.
“We do have student volunteers and I make sure to get them into a breakout session and to listen to some of the speakers,” Robb said. “This event will take place every year and we are starting to really get a push for volunteers, which we still need this year.”
Robb emphasized there is importance for this event on campus.
“It is brnging to the forefront the quality and equity of women leaders and being able to have it backed by Boise State is really important because leadership starts at as young of an age as we can.”
Anderson agreeds that the campus’s role in hosting this event goes beyond normal university academic roles.
“This shows that Boise State is aware of and supports (to some degree) the different issues and movements that are at the forefront of social progress in America,” said Anderson. “While I definitely don’t have the money to purchase a ticket to the event, it is cool just to know that Boise State played such a big part in events like this.”