Women’s leadership pioneer publishes research findings

In an event at the Marlboro College Graduate Center on January 12, attendees celebrated the publication of a book chapter co-written by Kerry Secrest (pictured, right), founder of the Women’s Leadership Circles (WLC) of Vermont. The chapter appears in the new book Managing in the Social Sector: Strategies for Advancing Human Dignity and Social Justice, published by Springer and edited by S. Aqeel Tirmizi and John D. Vogelsang (ISBN 978-3-319-47045-0).

“Women leaders experience unique challenges and opportunities. This program is designed to provide powerful women the space, support, and tools to lead with clarity and confidence,” said Kerry, describing the purpose of the WLC, now a program of Marlboro’s Center for New Leadership. “We need to move the dial on women’s leadership, and we’re taking a local approach to having positive impact.”

The chapter is co-written by Marla Solomon (pictured, left), director of partnership programs for the Five Colleges, who partnered with Kerry to research the effectiveness of Women’s Leadership Circles. The chapter explains the scholarship and research behind the WLC model, focusing on how women develop leadership through ongoing networks of mutual support. This was also the subject of a presentation by Kerry last fall at the Global Conference of the International Leadership Association.

The January event included comments from Meg Smith, director of the Vermont Women’s Fund, and was also attended by Cary Brown, director of the Vermont Commission on Women, and Tiff Bluemle, director of Change the Story. The findings presented by Kerry and Marla, and included in their chapter, are important to both academic research on leadership as well as promoting and enhancing women’s leadership in Vermont.

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