Taking female leadership to the heart of America’s Colleges

07 July 2023

Claudia Monteiro writes about her recent experience at the WiBE Network conference in San Jose.


There are a few knowns to female leadership: women tend to lead with longevity, they value leadership with heart and value – and actively seek – mentorship.

Networking and mentorship are big themes for the Women in Business Education (WiBE) Network conference and this year was no different. Now in its second edition, WiBE provides an environment where educational leaders can connect with senior peers and seek advice on their trajectories and careers, a strong draw for those attending this year’s conference in San Jose, California.

In that sense, it’s drawing from the huge focus on DEI across North America.

One of the initiatives highlighted at this year’s WiBE is Iowa’s State College initiative to attain gender equality and DEI. It includes several strands, such as an investment on new majors that are relevant to diverse student populations, scholarships aimed at these groups and an investment on faculty diversity, resulting in the highest percentage of tenured female faculty in the Big XII group. The College also benefits from a student-led Women in Business club which offers peer and professional mentorship to more than 100 students per year. The Club runs a study trip – in collaboration with the Austral Group, focused on inclusive companies that invest in female leadership.

We also heard from the Barton School of Business, which takes part in the Widener Global Leaders Program (Widener-GLP), designed to foster an inclusive community for first-generation college women. Through multidisciplinary learning experiences, networking opportunities, and mentorship from various top-level professionals, the Widener-GLP will propel participants to more powerful arenas within businesses and organizations worldwide.

For 2024, WiBE is taking a spoonful of its own medicine. Instead of focusing on one annual conference it will organise one-day symposiums across several states in the US to meet the next generation of business education leaders in their own backyards. And that’s a pretty inclusive move.

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