Indiana lieutenant governor to speak at ‘LeadHER’ panel
Alex Winegar | Friday, September 4, 2015
The Saint Mary’s College Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) and the Career Crossings Collegiate Speaker Series will host Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and her chief of staff Tonya Brothers-Bridge on Tuesday for a panel discussion titled “LeadHER.”
The panel will take place between 7 and 9 p.m. in O’Laughlin Auditorium and consist of local community leaders who will direct the conversation and ask questions of Ellspermann and Brothers-Bridge.
According to Saint Mary’s website, the discussion will center around topics such as “fearless leadership, transitions in life and the power of women mentorship.” Associate project director for the WEI Joan McClendon will moderate the event.
McClendon said female leaders from the community including president and CEO of the YWCA North Central Indiana, Linda Baechle, president and CEO of Michiana Partnership, Regina Emberton, while Saint Mary’s students Eleanor Jones and Ambar Varela will also join the panel.
Brothers-Bridge visited Saint Mary’s on May 27 for an entrepreneurial leadership event and asked if she and the lieutenant governor could return, McClendon said.
“She really enjoyed her time here and asked if they could come back to visit, including touring the campus and meeting the students,” McClendon said. “We are an all-women’s college so it is a natural fit for them to come.”
Ellspermann and Brothers-Bridge’s experience working together will be a key component of the talk, College director of media relations Gwen O’Brien said.
“Part of the reason we even asked Tonya to come was because she had an opportunity to share her relationship with the lieutenant governor,” O’Brien said. “She talked a lot about her relationship with the lieutenant governor [on her previous visit] so I think that will be important. I want and hope that women can take away that women can come together in a professional and in a personal level.”
McClendon said when she spoke to Brothers-Bridge, she asked what Ellspermann and Brothers-Bridge could bring to Saint Mary’s and what they wanted to discuss.
“Obviously they work together and have worked together before,” McClendon said. ” … They can speak to college students, either coming from high school into college, college students leaving and women making transitions in their careers and lifestyles.
“We have more in common than we do differences, so you have this beautiful opportunity to have these two very influential women to come in and share their very influential experiences,” she said.
Women of different generations will be represented at LeadHER, O’Brien said, and they will each learn something different depending on where they are in their life.
“To me, this talk is another example of how women help women,” O’Brien said. “We just do, we don’t hesitate with ‘what if.’ We’re talking to a couple different generations but wherever they are in their life, they could use a pep talk on how to make that transition in life or how to be a mentor.”
“There are some awesome women in the community that need to meet these awesome women inside Saint Mary’s College,” McClendon said. “And let’s not just meet but let’s develop synergy and relationships. That’s my passion, and I believe that is the passion of the lieutenant governor and her chief of staff. As a matter of fact I know that that is their passion, and that’s why they’re coming here.”
A photo booth and refreshments will be available at the talk, McClendon said. The event is free but ticketed.