Advancing Women’s Leadership: 2023 IWL Initiatives

By: Leslee Ruggeri, Director, SWE Institute for Women’s Leadership at Nichols College

This year Nichols College is proud to celebrate 10 years of the Susan West Engelkemeyer (SWE) Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL). The college, now under the inspiring leadership of President Glenn M. Sulmasy JD, LL.M, is on its way to becoming the business college for women in Massachusetts and beyond. The IWL continues its mission to empower students to engage in leadership, mentoring, networking, research and other professional events focused on women’s empowerment and representation in the workplace and society.

Still underrepresented in leadership positions, women face barriers and challenges that men don’t, making it harder for women to advance in their careers, and for organizations to achieve gender equality. A key to surmounting these hurdles is to unlock the potential of our women students and to encourage them to take on leadership roles while providing them with the support, information, and resources they need to succeed. To this end, the primary focus of the IWL remains to provide valuable and educational content for women interested in pursuing leadership positions while simultaneously creating professional development opportunities that deliver pertinent training for success.

One such professional development opportunity is our Women in Nichols Mentorship Program, which pairs students with women leaders. With a successful mentorship program in place, students can directly receive valuable guidance and support from women who have first-hand experience navigating the challenges of leadership roles. Creating dedicated programs such as our Nichols WIN program that help ensure women receive mentorship and sponsorship in their careers is a research-backed strategy for advancing women leaders.

This year, the Institute for Women’s Leadership will continue programs that provide leadership opportunities for women. These programs include:

  • Women in Nichols Mentorship Program (WIN): Currently, 55 mentors and mentees participating.
  • Women in Leadership Lecture Series (WILL): Three interactive, women-centric lectures happening this semester.
  • Drive Confidence: A beginner golf clinic for women students offered by Nichols Golf Coach, Tim Howard, offered during the fall and spring semesters.

Additional 2023 IWL initiatives:

  • Massachusetts Women’s Index publication: to be released March 2023.
  • Community outreach efforts: in the local Worcester/Dudley-Webster area.

The IWL is currently supported by a full slate of advisory board members who help guide and shape the future of the program. As the Director of the IWL, I look forward to new beginnings and accomplishing different projects to support the efforts and development of the IWL. The Board of Advisors and I are excited for all that the new year has in store, and we hope you are too. We look forward to connecting with you and sharing our knowledge and insights.

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