11 Favorite Moments from DWN’s Annual Event

Post by Jennifer Leopoldt, Communication and Technology Co-Chair

Thanks to everyone who attended the DePaul Women’s Network Annual Event on March 7! The event was a success, with highlights throughout the day. We couldn’t narrow it down to a Top 10 list, so here are the 11 best moments from the Annual Event (in chronological order).

  1. The event had great attendance from female faculty and staff across DePaul departments. We had 143 people attend the day’s festivities!
  2. DWN President Christine Gallagher Kearney gave her opening statement about how our network has grown. “DWN is blossoming!” she told the audience.
  3. Alison Cuddy’s keynote speech touched on what our university has meant in her life. The arts and culture reporter at WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago Public Radio once was adjunct faculty here. “DePaul was critical in creating some of my own connections to Chicago. … DePaul helped me navigate the path from academia to what I was going to be in my life,” she said.
  4. Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Women CEOs told session attendees how active listening can help both the listener and the speaker, because it makes you feel validated. Participants got to break out and practice in small groups.
  5. Own It – Understanding the Power in Owning Your Success: Julie Payne-Kirchmeier from Northwestern University discussed why it’s so hard for women to own our success—notably because we have a fear of failure. She urged participants to remember S.O.S: Sit at the table. Own your space. Share your success.
  6. Women’s Wellness Panel: An experienced panel gave answers to popular myths and facts about their areas of health expertise, from nutrition and fitness to emotional wellness. The panelists discussed habits to pick up (exercising) and stop (smoking, even socially) and reminded participants that no matter how busy life seems, “It’s not selfish to do self care.”
  7. Motherhood Roundtables: In two different breakout sessions, women got to come together for vibrant discussion on various topics of motherhood and career development. An experienced faculty or staff member moderated discussions for those considering motherhood, new to motherhood, experienced mothers, those who decided against motherhood and other groups.
  8. Being an Ally to Transgender People: Katy Weseman, DePaul’s LGBTQA Student Services Coordinator, led attendees in better understanding gender identity and dismantling transphobia. The audience learned tools they could use as allies and discussed professional examples in a constructive environment.
  9. Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed a chance to network with other women from different offices and departments around DePaul.
  10. DWN and The Women’s Center co-sponsored a luncheon and panel discussion moderated by DWN President-Elect Joy Boggs. Panelists both in and outside of higher education spoke about “Women’s Journeys: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance.” The panelists were asked, “What advice would you give your younger self?” and replied with thoughtful points about practicing forgiveness, having confidence and reminding yourself that you were born “brilliant and beautiful.”
  11. In the evening, there was a reception and screening of “Band of Sisters,” a movie about Catholic nuns engaged in a lifelong pursuit of social justice. Two of the panelists present were featured in the film, and they talked about their reaction to recent news about the papacy and Rome: “We are the church,” one told attendees.

Check out the photo slideshow below and tell us: What was your favorite part of the Annual Event?

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What to Expect at DWN’s Winter Faculty Event

Post by Lark Mills, Communication and Technology Co-Chair

Illustration of People Climbing a Ladder

DWN Faculty committee co-chairs Carolyn Bronstein, Maria Ferrera and Rebecca Johns-Trissler share what to expect at their upcoming event, Life on the Academic Ladder, on Jan. 25. They also provide advice for faculty starting their careers and for staff who may be interested in teaching.

Who will be speaking at the event?

The panel of speakers for this event includes women at various stages of their academic careers at DePaul University.

Panelist Moderator

Panelist Speakers

What is the format for this event?


The event will begin with breakfast and informal networking.

Panel Q&A

Carolyn, the panelist moderator, will ask the panelists to share an opening statement to identify where they are at on the academic ladder. Are they starting out relatively fresh from graduate school, mid-ladder, or close to the top in terms of rank and academic experience?

Next, Carolyn will ask the panel to share insights that have helped them move from rung to rung. This may include the best choices they have made as well as some choices that, in retrospect, did not yield hoped-for results. Furthermore, Carolyn will prompt the speakers to share what has been rewarding at each stage of their careers and also what challenges that they have faced along the way.

Open Questions

Attendees will have the opportunity to address their own questions toward the panel.

What have you learned that you wish you had known early on in your academic career? What advice would you give faculty who are first starting out in their career?

Carolyn Bronstein Profile PhotoCarolyn: I advise junior faculty to be very clear about their research agendas and to try to focus on projects that advance those agendas in clear, defined ways. I was very open to projects in different areas when I was a junior faculty member, and although the intellectual exploration was pleasant and led me in mostly productive directions, I could have benefitted from a sharper focus.

What are the most common obstacles that faculty face in their academic careers?

Maria Ferrera Profile Photo Maria: The landscape of expectations to receive tenure seems to be changing and diverse between departments. It is difficult to really know where you stand within the process sometimes. There also seems to be little dialogue about the challenges of balancing and raising a family as an academic, particularly when you belong to a collectivist culture that inevitably will breed internal conflict in response to the demands of this position.

Rebecca Johns-Trissler Profile Photo

Rebecca: This answer is different for different specialties, but a common issue women faculty face is that they’re building their careers at the same time they’re beginning to build their families. Faculty work provides a generally good work-life balance, but that balance can be more difficult to create while you’re working your way up to tenure, needing to spend a great deal of time on publications and research. I wrote the entirety of my second book after my daughter was born, feeling enormous pressure to do so. Having a child put a tremendous damper on my ability to research for the book. I was not able to travel to Europe to do on-the-ground research I might have done if I hadn’t had an infant at home. And yet, I was more efficient with the time I did have, using it to better purpose than I had previously, knowing I had to pay a babysitter if I wanted to write.

What do you hope that faculty and staff get out of this event? Why should people attend this event?

Carolyn Bronstein Profile PhotoCarolyn: Academia is a complex career with many formal stages. Our hope is to demystify some of the “rungs” of the ladder for those who have yet to climb them. You can feel very alone during the tenure process and alone afterwards when you are confronting the “now what” questions that are common among mid-career faculty. Therefore, connecting with others who have shared similar experiences is valuable and comforting. For staff who may be contemplating a move toward teaching and research, this event is great opportunity to hear about the realities of academic life, which can be different from what people may picture or imagine. People should attend to hear diverse perspectives on the academic life from a wide range of talented colleagues who represent all stages of the ladder.

We’d love to hear from you.

  • Will you be attending this event?
  • What do you hope to get out of it? 
  • Which rung are you at on the academic ladder?
Registration for this event closes Monday, January 23, 2013.

Participants Offer Quick Praise for Speed Mentoring Event

Post by Jennifer Leopoldt (Communication & Technology Co-Chair)

You arrive in a room full of strangers and are told to pair up, see if you have a connection, and quickly move on to meeting someone new. It’s not speed dating – it’s speed mentoring!

On Nov. 15, DePaul Women’s Network hosted an event for DePaul staff members to connect and get to know each other while discussing professional strengths and challenges. Women paired off and spent three minutes talking to each new connection before coming back to discuss and network. A page of conversation starters and a handout listing each participant’s name, title and three self-identified strengths helped guide the conversations.

DWN President Christine Gallagher Kearney and Member-at-Large Julie Nuter, who led the event, based the evening on a template from the University of Kentucky. The DePaul event paired women of all different levels at the university. “We want to look at what we can give to each other regardless of our titles,” Kearney said.

Even though meeting so many new people could seem intimidating, the speed mentoring group agreed that the experience was positive. Participants wrote their opinions and reactions to the event on sticky notes, which were added to posters around the room. Here’s what the women thought, in their own words.


“I loved coming to this event. It gave me the opportunity to branch out and gain a lot of valuable knowledge.” “Everyone was very friendly and open with each other.” “This was great and worth it. I look forward to other events!” “I had a great time and hope to gain a mentor as a result!”


“I can be a resource for others.” “I had more to share than I realized.” “I was surprised that talking with so many new people wasn’t awkward or intimidating.” “No matter how different our jobs may be, I had a connection with each person in some aspect.”

Another surprise was how quickly the time flew by. “I thought three minutes was a healthy amount of time, but it’s nothing!” said Shena Ramsay, assistant dean in the College of Communication, after the event.

What will you walk away with?

“I will walk away with more confidence in my ability to meet new people and make positive connections quickly.” “Connections to people to help with my job and people I have a lot in common with and can socialize with as well!” “I’m walking away with a larger network. I’m also establishing potential partnerships with staff from other offices.” “I’ll walk away with a reminder of all the resources at DePaul University.”

Best of all, one participant wrote that she came out of the evening with a greater interest in the women’s network and DWN events. If you’re interested in DWN, please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and feel free to leave a comment below!