‘Women Are Superheroes’ in SMU’s 2014 Symposium

Profiles in Leadership Awards

‘Women Are Superheroes’ in SMU’s 2014 Symposium

SMU Womens' Symposium 2014 - 'Women Are Superheroes' graphicThe SMU Women’s Symposium celebrates its 49th anniversary with a focus on using your power to change the world for the better.

U.S. Air Force veteran Kimberly Olson, president and CEO of Grace After Fire, is the special guest for the 2014 Symposium, “Women Are Superheroes.” Olson will deliver the Emmie V. Baine Lecture during lunch on Wednesday, March 5, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

This year’s theme has shaped Symposium programming in both literal and figurative ways, says Karen Click, director of the SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives. “Imaginary superheroes may be heroes of strength, or they may be sexualized partners – but a real-world interpretation is of women who have changed our world, have been great mentors and have amazing powers for good.”

Keynote speaker Olson embodies the bridge between these ideals, Click adds. “She was a literal superhero as a career Air Force pilot who flew into combat and used her strength and skills, plus some incredible technology, to defend our nation. And she’s a figurative one as well, as the leader of an organization whose purpose is to support other women veterans.”

Student organizers are excited about both the theme and their guest, Click says. “Superheroes have been an important part of their collective imagination, and they seem thrilled to have one in their midst,” she says. “Military life seems pretty distant to most of our students as well, and they’re looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about a woman who lived that experience.”

> Find a complete list of 2014 SMU Women’s Symposium events

A variety of Symposium interest sessions will address topics ranging from comic-book depictions of women superheroes, to “Wonder Women” of the workplace, to the pressures of living up to the “Supermom” ideal.

The Symposium is the oldest continuously running program of its kind in the country and attracts hundreds of community leaders, high school students and college students, faculty and staff members each year. Programming is designed by the Symposium Advisory Board and Student Planning CORE Committee.

> More about the Symposium Student Planning CORE Committee

The Symposium will also recognize the winners of its 2014 Profiles in Leadership Awards and Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award. The recipients are:

Profiles in Leadership Awards

  • De’ Edra S. Williams, engagement director of Paranet Solutions
  • Ethene Jones, founder of the Humanitarian World Foundation
  • Monica Urbaniak, director of prevention and outreach and bilingual therapist at the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center
  • Mavis Knight, Education advocate and member of the Texas State Board of Education
  • Cecelia Guthrie Boone, philanthropist and chair of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award

  • Linda Hall, chair of the Board of Directors of Wisdom’s Hope and advocate for the homeless

For more information, contact the Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives, 214-768-4792.

> Learn more and register online at the SMU Women’s Symposium website

January 27, 2014|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

2013 SMU Women’s Symposium minds the age gap March 6

SMU Women's Symposium 'Mind the Age Gap' logoFor its 48th anniversary, the SMU Women’s Symposium is using a new format to explore age-old questions about the differences and common ground among generations.

Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Ellen Jackofsky and senior art history major Bekah Boyer will participate in a moderated discussion on this year’s theme, “Mind the Age Gap.” The Emmie V. Baine Lecture event will take place during lunch on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

This year’s event promises to be “a very different kind of symposium,” says Karen Click, director of the SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives. “I visit many different women’s organizations in Dallas, and most of their membership is over 60. They want my help in reaching out to younger women.”

But those efforts are hindered by “a feeling of incapability” shared across generations, Click says. “Younger women are worried about taking on the responsibility of keeping up the push for women’s rights. Older women are worried that their experience no longer matters. When women should be uniting to tackle issues, we’re stuck reinventing the wheel.”

This year’s event will focus on how those gaps affect the community, Click adds. “We see this specifically as an issue impacting Dallas, so we decided not to seek national speakers.”

> Find a complete list of 2013 SMU Women’s Symposium events

“We believe that each generation of women has something different to contribute,” says senior political science and management major Pooja Patel, co-chair of the Symposium’s CORE student planning committee. “By trying to minimize the ‘gap’ or disconnect between them, women’s groups in Dallas will be stronger and more effective.”

A variety of Symposium interest sessions will address topics ranging from the generationally shifting barriers to reproductive rights to how age affects women’s perceptions of appropriate (and inappropriate) fashion choices.

The Symposium is the oldest continuously running program of its kind in the country and attracts hundreds of community leaders, high school students and college students, faculty and staff members each year. And for some participants, including CORE co-chair Kimberly Elmazi, it’s a family legacy.

“All three of my elder sisters participated in CORE during their time at SMU,” says Elmazi, a junior political science and international studies major. “Eight years after my third eldest sister graduated from SMU, I joined the committee as a first-year. Now I’m a co-chair.”

More about the Symposium Student Planning CORE Committee

Elmazi is especially looking forward to the interest session “The Incredibles: Can You Have It All? Gender Roles and Reproductive Rights” because one of her sisters will be a speaker. “It’s funny how things have come full circle,” she says.

The Symposium will also recognize the winners of its 2013 Profiles in Leadership Awards and Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award. The recipients are:

Profiles in Leadership Awards

Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award

For more information, contact the Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives, 214-768-4792.

Kelsey Reynolds (’14) contributed to this article.

Learn more at the SMU Women’s Symposium website

March 1, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Julie Powell to give keynote at 2011 SMU Women’s Symposium March 2

Julie PowellAuthor and food enthusiast Julie Powell, known to millions as one half of “Julie & Julia,” will deliver the Emmie V. Baine Lecture during SMU’s 46th Annual Women’s Symposium. This year’s event is scheduled for March 2, 2011, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

Powell will speak during lunch at the Symposium, which is the oldest continuously running program of its kind in the country and attracts hundreds of community leaders, high school students and college students, faculty and staff members each year.

The topic, “Happiness Is…,” was the result of brainstorming by the Symposium advisory board, CORE student planning committee and staff members, says Karen Click, director of the SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives.

“We found we’re often comparing notes with each other about that secret to happiness,” she says. “Women are constantly trying to understand this thing. There are so many false paths to happiness, so much money spent in pursuit of it, so many dynamics involved in seeking and finding it. We thought it was a great broad theme, and the entire community can relate to it.”

Finding the ideal keynote speaker was the next challenge. “Most people don’t get their degrees in happiness or work for the Department of Happiness,” Click says. Powell’s biography and body of work stood out in that regard, she says.

In 2002 Powell, an Austin native, worked in the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s call center, answering questions from victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and complaints from the public about the LMDC’s plans for rebuilding on the World Trade Center site. In search of a sense of direction in her life, she decided to cook every recipe in the landmark 1961 book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, cowritten by Julia Child, and blog about her experiences. Those writings, collectively known as The Julie/Julia Project, led to Powell’s first book, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, published by Little, Brown in 2005. The book in turn helped inspire the major motion picture “Julie & Julia” starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, released by Columbia Pictures in 2009.

But wealth and fame brought no contentment. Powell almost lost her marriage and went through a series of financial disasters that ate into her new fortune. “Basically, she discovered she wasn’t happy at all,” Click says. “She became a butcher’s apprentice to rediscover her spark and motivation, and she wrote her second book about that experience.” Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession was published in 2009.

The Symposium will present a variety of interest sessions on the subject of finding happiness, as well as a show by the Dallas improvisational comedy group Heroine Addiction.

In addition, the Symposium will recognize the winners of its 2011 Profiles in Leadership Awards and Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award. The recipients are:

Profiles in Leadership Awards
Lois Finkelman, public policy consultant
Candace O’Keefe Mathis, CEO, Foundation for Women’s Resources
Peggy Sewell, philanthropist and director, Sewell Automotive Companies
Karen Shuford ’70, charitable trust consultant, Bank of America Private Client Group
Kathleen Wu, partner, Andrews Kurth LLP

Gail Reese Excellence in Mentoring Award
Phyllis Bernstein, philanthropist

Symposium attendance is discounted for SMU faculty and staff, and students can attend free. The online registration deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 23. Register through the Women’s Symposium website or contact Wendy Smith, 214-768-4792.

(Photo of Julie Powell ©Kelly Campbell)

> Learn more at the SMU Women’s Symposium website
> Visit Julie Powell’s website at juliepowellbooks.com

February 22, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|
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