Pearls of Wisdom from DWN’s DePaul Female Administrators Panel

By Jamie Sokolik

Whether you recently started your first full-time position or you’ve been in the working world for many years, a little insight and advice from those who came before can prove invaluable. On Wednesday, Jan. 26, DePaul Women’s Network (DWN) hosted the semi-annual Female Administrators Panel, featuring Cheryl Einsele, assistant vice president for academic fiscal administration; Ashley Knight, dean of students; Erin Minné, senior vice president for advancement; Jennifer Rosato Perea, dean of the Law School; and Stephanie Smith, vice president for human resources.

Read on for some insights and guidance from the DePaul Female Administrators Panel…

  1. “It’s not about balance, it’s about integration.” –Ashley Knight

I don’t have work-life balance. I work every day. Weekends. I’m always working. I try to make sure there’s big chunks of time in my life that are enjoyable and spent with family, but it’s really about integration. If you can find integration in your life between work and your family and love and passions, then that’s your goal. That’s my goal every day is to just be integrated in all that I do. But, yes, work is a part of every day and every minute.

  1. “Find your leadership brand.” –Stephanie Smith

It would be a disservice to not address the double standard out there; and then from my point of view, you add in the extra assumptions of being a minority woman. There are certain things people automatically assume based on what they see—before they know who you are or how you’re going to lead. It’s an imperative to figure out, what I call, your leadership brand. A brand is literally how you show up—what you look like, how you speak, what you do, how you approach issues. Think about what your point of difference is. Who are you? What’s your expertise? What do you have to deliver to an organization? What is it that you want to be about? How are you going to incorporate your authentic self to benefit the organization and the people you lead?

  1. “Learn to be comfortable with ambiguity.” –Erin Minné

There is so much gray area in our lives—in higher education in particular, but in anybody’s life these days. And you need to find a way to be OK with that. There are a lot of people who want things concrete, and they want all the answers. They only want to deal with things they can get their arms around. As you progress in your career, that becomes increasingly impossible. You have to understand that there might not be one right answer to a problem. There might be many solutions, all with different outcomes, and some better than others, which is subjective. Gray can be good. Knowing how to find your way through it, and how to help others through it, is valuable.

  1. “Lead with authenticity.” –Jennifer Rosato Perea

As a female leader, you should lead with authenticity. If you are warm, be warm; if you are passionate, be passionate. If you are authentic, you will be a much more effective leader and will be much more satisfied personally and professionally. But there are limits to how authentic you can be, as you still need to meet the expectations of a leader in a male-dominated environment. It’s not enough to be competent. Charisma matters, how you look matters—so you need to be constantly self-reflective as to how you will be perceived. Every dress or suit I put on, every nail color I put on, every shoe I put on—I ask myself not only, “do I look and feel good?” but also, “what impression am I making on others?” If I feel good and will make a good impression, then the focus will be on my experience and skills.

  1. “Meet somebody new at DePaul every week.” –Cheryl Einsele

I had a mentor who advised me to try to meet someone new at the university every week. Find out what they do, and see what you have in common. In an elevator, just say, “Hello! Good morning!” It’s that easy, and you might meet someone who you have a lot in common with or who can connect you with people who might be helpful to your career.

This panel is one of several events open exclusively to DWN members and members-at-large. We invite you to become a member and to join us in networking with and supporting women within the DePaul community. The recruitment season starts next month, so stay tuned for more information on how to join DWN, or email with any questions.

Jamie Sokolik is a member of the Marketing & Communications team for DWN, and an assistant editor in the Office of Advancement at DePaul.

DWN Faculty Panel Reveals Lessons for All Working Women

On April 25, the DePaul Women’s Network hosted “Faculty Service Opportunities and Career Development Panel.” DWN Communications Team Member Laura Durnell recaps and reflects upon what participating in the event taught her.

Laura Durnell

Right before the DePaul Women’s Network’s final event of the 2013-2014 year, The Atlantic published an article called “The Confidence Gap.” In the article, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman presented evidence that showed women in the workforce shortchanging themselves through not pursuing opportunities or broadcasting accomplishments simply because of a lack of self-assurance.

DWN’s event reflected the issues mentioned in the article. “Twenty percent of full professors are women,” said panelist and English Professor Anne Clark Bartlett, who also serves as Special Assistant to the Provost for Innovation and Academic Planning. This revelation regarding women in academia also relates to the number of women in the workforce outside the Ivory Tower who do not often pursue or hold positions of leadership.

Even though this panel was specifically marketed to full-time faculty on the tenure track and focused on the role service plays in tenure decisions, much of the advice presented also applies to adjunct faculty, DePaul staff and all women in the workforce. Overall, the panelists provided advice and suggestions about taking initiative, strategically planning activities, and being thoughtful with time commitments regarding work advancement—all activities that would not only help build careers in and outside academia, but also build confidence.

During the panel, the accomplished and inspiring panelists used those effective strategies to discuss the role service plays in tenure decisions. The panelists also shared their stories and advice about the best way to plan and participate in service. Roxanne Owens from the College of Education, who now serves as Chair for the Department of Teacher Education, said she has served on some committees she didn’t want to, but serving allowed her to get her name out to her department and DePaul.

“But don’t be a martyr [with volunteering],” Owens warned. “Yet if you agree to serve on a committee, show up!”

Mona Shattell from the College of Nursing, who is now Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, said service has given her opportunities to serve on committees outside of her nursing field and to better get to know DePaul and its students. For example, she served as the faculty advisor to the DePaul Women’s A Cappella Chorus.
When she started on the tenure track, Shattell said she looked at her career goals and didn’t join a service opportunity unless it matched her goals, emphasizing, “It helped me write my narrative and align my service.”

Like Shattell, Bartlett made her service align with her goals. Until she received tenure, Bartlett devoted most of her service within her research concentration of medieval literature, specifically medieval women’s literature. During her early years on the tenure track, Bartlett organized conference panels in her field, participated in professional organizations, and spent the rest of her energy and time on research and teaching. Once she became an associate professor, Bartlett began serving on university committees, including a stint as the Faculty Council President. However, Bartlett believes a lot of service early in a professor’s career can be “a disaster. Service opportunities are always going to be there.”

Slightly disagreeing with Bartlett, Judy Bundra from the College of Music, who is also Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, encouraged professors on the tenure track to grab the service opportunities that are available and to pick ones that have a wide impact. “To not do any committees university-wide is not wise,” said Bundra. Since her adjunct days, Bundra has risen to the rank of associate professor and served as a Faculty Council representative and department dean.

Maggie Oppenheimer from the Economics Department in the College of Business echoed other panelists in stressing the importance of making contacts within one’s own field as well as at DePaul. “Get on conference programs or organizations,” Oppenheimer said. Through her service inside and outside DePaul, Bundra said she “got her name out” as well as DePaul’s.

Regarding collegiality and reputation, all of the panelists advised not just signing up for service but truly fulfilling the responsibility of serving. “It’s not in the handbook, but being a good colleague and doing your share is important,” Oppenheimer said. Current Faculty Council Chair and College of Communication Professor Michaela Winchatz agreed, mentioning the frustration regarding the noticeable absence of others when the same people repeatedly volunteer and other faculty lay low.

As important as service is, Owens cautioned tenure-track faculty members from using service as a way to avoid research. In a post-panel email, Owens wrote, “I believe people need to contribute to the university, their college, their department and their professional community through service activities—but they also need to be aware of when they are overcommitting themselves to service as a way to avoid something they might struggle with a bit more (such as writing).”

Finally, one such piece of advice that any academic and professional can embrace came from Shattell via Twitter: “Keep your CV not only up-to-date but up to the minute!”

Read more about the Twitter conversation during the panel in our Storify recap.

Laura Durnell is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is an adjunct in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Department at DePaul University.

Why DWN Is a Smart Decision (and 7 Reasons I’m Happy I Joined)

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

Jaclyn Hugg
Jaclyn Hugg, DWN’s Communications Team

By Jaclyn Hugg

The average human being makes thousands of decisions daily. Calculate that for a year, and well…you do the math! These decisions can be anything as simple as choosing what cereal to eat for breakfast, to something more complex like contemplating a career change. Yet, many of these decisions have an effect on what we think, say and/or do, and ultimately, aid us in influencing the world around us.

Whereas I cringe when I think about some of the choices I made within the past year (because who doesn’t make mistakes?), one of the things I am most proud of was my decision to apply to become a member of the DePaul Women’s Network (DWN). As a new staff member who had just moved halfway across the country for my current job, I was looking for a way to quickly connect with the university—an entity that would help me explore what it means to be part of the greater campus community, and an outlet that would allow me to serve in accordance with its mission and values. I am happy to say that since joining DWN last July, the Network has not only provided me that which I have described above, but also so much more. And as a way to celebrate my seven months of service, I felt it would only be fitting that I articulate what this experience has meant to me in the form of a top seven list.

Drumroll, please…

  1. Excitement & Challenge. As a member of the Communications team, I have the exciting and challenging task of telling DWN’s story. Through my participation in the Network, I was able to engage my passion for writing and learned new skills in a supportive environment.
  2. Professional Development. Being part of the Network is a great complement to my professional role as Staff Advisor for HerCDM—a student organization aimed at empowering women students within DePaul’s College of Computing & Digital Media (CDM). Because of the knowledge and resources extended to me as a DWN member, I feel as if I can better serve as a resource in regards to helping my students work through gender-related issues in their academic and professional lives. Additionally, I am able to offer timely and relevant suggestions for programming as a result of topics and discussions that emerge from DWN-related activities.
  3. Professional Connections. My participation in the Network put me in contact with women from across the institution that I would have never otherwise met. Through my membership, I developed productive working relationships with other DWN members. I actively seek out DWN members for their expertise, advice and assistance on any number of issues pertaining to my full-time role within CDM. I view a number of these women as mentors, and certainly all as valued colleagues.
  4. Expanded View. I am growing in my knowledge and am becoming more open-minded about gender issues in the workplace and in society in general (specifically as they pertain to women).
  5. Personal Growth. Being “in-the-know” about upcoming activities—uniquely created for and targeted toward women faculty and staff at DePaul, allows me to step out of my comfort zone (I am an introvert by nature) to initiate conversations with colleagues about issues directly related to DWN’s programming. Serving in this role has given me the confidence to network in this way, and somewhat of a platform to encourage fellow women faculty and staff to let their voices be heard and to participate in our events.
  6. Collaborative Environment. DWN sleeps, eats and breathes collaboration between its members and within the campus and surrounding communities! No intense and unnecessary competition amongst women colleagues here! This has been a refreshing change for me.
  7. Lasting Connections. In addition to developing strong professional ties, I am connected with a number of my DWN “sisters” on a more personal level. Through lunch meetings, afternoon walks and coffee dates, these women are great friends and a source of strength and inspiration for me.

As you can see, I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the DePaul Women’s Network and I plan on continuing my participation. My experience so far inspires me to invite you to participate. Become an active member today! Recruitment runs through April 4; visit our website to apply online. To learn more about the Network, you also can check out our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)!

Jaclyn Hugg is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is Assistant Director of Advising for the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University.

Network Power

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

Phyllis A. Gregg

By Phyllis A. Gregg

Americans take pride in our independence. From the moment of birth we are taught to be independent, to “go it alone,” to be tough. While being independent and self-sufficient are admirable qualities, I find myself concerned when I see people, especially women, exclude themselves from the opportunity of community. There’s power in community, so consider this a call for a change. Let’s move from independence to interdependence.

To be clear, interdependence isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, interdependence is a source of power, that’s why women’s networks matter. A women’s network is a vital resource. While women are powerful in their own right (let’s face it, a woman on a mission is a force), when you connect with other women you maximize your power. Today I challenge you to exercise your wisdom and recognize the power of a network.

I know first-hand what a network can do. Over the course of my career I built a network of friends and family, colleagues and professional contacts. My network is a source of strength and a place of refreshment. What does my network do for me? If I need to think through an idea, I reach out to my network. If I need a laugh (and who doesn’t need a laugh), I turn to my network. If I need the comfort of companionship, I relax with my network. The women and men in my network come from all walks of life, and it is their diversity that gives me the courage to meet the challenges facing me. My network empowers and spurs me on to embrace my full potential.

I hope my sharing inspires you to reach out to others and allow others to reach out to you. So many women tell me they don’t have time to network. However, the reality is that you cannot afford to not be part of a network. Without a network, you close yourself off, stifling your personal and professional development. Networking is you investing in yourself and in others. It takes very little to get started but once you do, the returns are incredible!

Phyllis A. Gregg, M.A., joined the DePaul University community in 1992 as an evening coordinator in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and currently works in the Office of the President as a Senior Executive Assistant.

She is a doctoral student at DePaul University, Board President of the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education and, through the Office of Faith-based Initiatives with the Chicago Public School system, has created and implemented an anti-bullying curriculum for the Safehaven program.

Phyllis is a motivational speaker on issues pertaining to women, spirituality and wholeness, and on topics related to exploring the soul. She spends her evenings in the company of her husband, Gregory, her daughter, Lindsey, and her four grandchildren, Ashleigh, Kevin, Sarah and Kelly.

(Learn more about being part of the DePaul Women’s Network now during recruitment for 2014-15!)

Where and When I Enter: Intersectionality, African-American Women and Higher Education

As Part of DePaul Women’s Network Women of Culture Series, DWN, in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity, and the School for New Learning, had the honor to recently present: “Where and When I Enter: Intersectionality, African-American Women and Higher Education”, featuring Dr. Venus Evans-Winters, Associate Professor of Education at Illinois State University. Read on for DWN Communications Team Member Dorothy Griggs’ recap of the event. 

By Dorothy Griggs

Dorothy Griggs
DWN Communications Team Member Dorothy Griggs

Dr. Evans-Winters is an Associate Professor of Education at Illinois State University in the department of Educational Administration and Foundations, and is a Faculty Affiliate with Women & Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies.  Dr. Evans-Winters’ research and teaching interests are the sociology of education, educational policy, critical race theory and feminism.  Dr. Evans-Winters is also a therapist and the author of the book, Teaching Black Girls – Resiliency in Urban Classrooms.

An energetic speaker with an infectious laugh and the uncanny ability to make her audience feel more like kinfolk than strangers, Dr. Venus Evans-Winters began her talk by showing a YouTube video of Nina Simone on stage singing, “Four Women,” where she sang about four of the many varied and distinct histories of African-American women.  While the song itself is over forty years old, it speaks to the intersectionality of racism, sexism and classism that still exists today.

Dr. Evans-Winters spoke about some of the issues faced by African-American women in higher education.  Most are well known and well-documented:

  • Fewer African-Americans receive tenure
  • Inequity in pay
  • Only allowed to teach race and gender specific classes
  • The number of diverse faculty members not keeping pace with the increased diversity of the student body

She went on to speak on issues that are not as obvious – mini abrasions, she called them:

  • Walking into a room of your peers and it being assumed that you are the support staff
  • Ideas and opinions devalued
  • Personal choices of how to wear one’s hair negatively impacting evaluations, which in turn, negatively impacts opportunities for tenure
  • When speaking up, the risk of  being labeled an “angry Black woman”

When looking to quickly gauge a company’s values and culture, many African-Americans know that it is often as simple as looking around for someone who looks like them.  Do they span the ranks of the organization from the top down, or are they all clustered near the bottom?  The color and gender of the top hierarchy of any organization speaks louder than its motto or mission statement.

Dr. Evans-Winters stated that no one should be the only “one.”  If a company recruits an African-American executive, there should be other African-American executives for her to be able to elicit support, from the perspective of being one of the few.  The same thinking applies to students.

Dr. Evans-Winters spoke on how the Eurocentric, privileged and elitist culture of higher education is vastly different from the cultural many African-Americans have grown up in.  And while most Blacks are well versed in the culture of White Americans, the larger population knows very little about the psyche of African-Americans, due in part to the fact that the little research that is conducted deals primarily with the pathologies and deficiencies of that population.  Dr. Evans-Winters believes that to better understand African-Americans, research would be better served by focusing on the resiliency and strength of character that allowed African-Americans to rise from the depths of slavery.

Many African-Americans in higher education feel that they must split their identities and conform to the ideologies and culture of the dominant race in order to be successful.  But wherever people of color go, they bring their history, their culture, and their unique perspective of the world.

A one time practicing therapist, Dr. Evans-Winters talked of how there was never any psychological therapy given to Blacks when slavery ended.  None was offered following the mass lynching of black men or, in more recent history, following the abolition of Jim Crow.  Black women have learned to lean on one other to overcome these and numerous other hardships and atrocities, the effects of which outsiders cannot begin to comprehend.

To that end, Dr. Evans-Winters advocates that Black women should have a ‘Room of One’s Own,’ where they can create a safe place to share their stories, a place of community to nurture and heal, time to network with one another, and a loving environment with de-colonized images of beauty.

Additionally, women of color need allies from higher-ups, equal pay, students educated in a pluralistic democracy, professional development, and cultural diversity in the work place, with the goal being the humanization of the individual.

Dorothy Griggs is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is the department assistant for the Center for Students with Disabilities at DePaul University.

A Simple Loving Act of Service

A version of this post, written by Jaclyn Hugg (DWN Communications Team Member), was originally published on A Whispered Wish.

Fill-in-the-blank, would you? The world needs more _______.

…think about it

Okay, got it?

What did you say?

Depending on when presented with this challenge, I’m almost certain I would complete it differently each time because, let’s face it, the world needs a lot. The world needs more DREAMERS. The world needs more DOERS. The world needs more PUPPIES (I just made you say “awh”, didn’t I?). But really…who doesn’t love a warm, fluffy, cuddly little canine? I digress.

If you ask, Hannah Brencher, Founder and Creative Director of “More Love Letters” (MLL), she would likely say (and I quote her website), “The world needs more LOVE  – “pure, old-fashioned, never goes out of style love. Ridiculous, oozing, cannot pack this thang into 140-characters kind of love. Fearless, bold, unstoppable love.”

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Hugg

I first heard about MLL through a website I visit almost daily called Positively Positive. This movement, aimed at lifting the spirits of complete strangers through the art of letter writing, called to my affinity for what I call “real mail” – you know…like cards, postcards, and letters people send via The United States Postal Service. My interested was piqued!

While perusing the MLL site and viewing Brencher’s TED talk, I learned that her individual effort – to write 400 love letters over the course of one year, bloomed into something that now has national and international attention and involvement. And those interested in participating in MLL’s quest have several options:  they may 1) write and leave letters in random places for unsuspecting recipients to find, 2) write letters for Love Letter Bundles, and/or 3) nominate someone for a Love Letter Bundle.

With the nation’s (arguably) most romantic day quickly approaching, I’d invite you to join me in this simple act of service. If you do nothing else between now and February 14th, would you please write one love letter? It doesn’t have to be fancy – just a quick note of encouragement for someone you know, or perhaps a complete stranger that stumbles upon your words. In doing so, you might offer the recipient just what they need, just what their world needs.

Jaclyn Hugg is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is Assistant Director of Advising for the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University.

How to Make the Most Out of Career Opportunities

On Jan. 29, the DePaul Women’s Network hosted a career panel with staff at various levels from around the university. Here, DWN Communications Team Member Clarissa Fidler relates lessons from the event.

Just ask. Be honest. Challenge yourself. Be confident.

Fantastic insight and advice abounded at DWN’s career panel, “Making the Most Out of Career Opportunities,” held at the Lincoln Park Campus on Wednesday, January 29.

Four panelists, who serve in diverse roles across the university, shared their professional journeys and milestones, while offering advice about career development. They stressed the importance of asking for more responsibility, taking personal inventory of your desires and commitments, and not being deterred by a non-linear career path. The panel was well attended by DePaul staff members and received extensive praise both in person and on Twitter.

Emily Meisenzahl, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, had this to say about the event: “I loved it. It was helpful and gave me several tips to get more involved with DePaul and network better across departments. DWN did a great job choosing panelists as well as the topics. Very impressed! ”

Our panelists included:

  • Brian Cicirello, Instructional Technology Consultant, Office of Mission and Values
  • Mary McGuinness, Director of Workplace Learning and Performance within Human Resources
  • Samuel D. Morgan, Academic Advisor/Assistant Director of Credentialing, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
  • Lauren Paez, Associate Director of Academic Advising, College of Science and Health, Office of Advising and Student Services

To see more of what our panelists and attendees had to say, check out our event Storify.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, hashtag: #DWNevent. The event was also recorded and will soon be available to download on iTunes U.

(Also: If you’re a DePaul graduate looking for more career and professional development tips, be sure to check out DePaul’s annual Career Week, coming up Feb. 9-15!)

Jobs Panel
DePaul staff members speak at DWN’s jobs panel.

Clarissa Fidler is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is a department assistant for the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse at DePaul University.