Diane C. McDonald, July 27th, 2017
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School will explore “Strategies for Navigating the Path to Executive Leadership” in its semi-annual Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) conference on Oct. 20 at Texas A&M University. In its eighth year, WLI was created as a vehicle to boost the number of women in leadership positions and demonstrate the school’s commitment to developing women as transformational leaders.
The 2017 Mays WLI Conference is a dynamic one-day leadership conference that focuses on critical issues pertaining to women’s leadership development. The conference theme will focus on the strategies for women to step up to the corner office. Attendees are invited to explore issues that women leaders face through a keynote featuring Col. Kimberly D. Olson, dialogues, networking and a luncheon panel discussion.
“WLI is a great example of our mission to develop the Mays Transformational Leader: Responsible, ethical leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets and vision, who have strong business competencies and personify selfless service,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones.
This year’s theme was inspired by the underrepresentation of women in executive leadership positions. National statistics show that 50 percent of all undergraduate degrees and 30 percent of MBAs granted in the U.S. in 2014 went to women. Yet fewer than 5 percent of Fortune 500 firms are headed by women.
According to Annie McGowan, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion at Mays Business School, the goal of WLI is to arrest national trends by leveraging the knowledge of the school’s world-class leadership faculty, the adult learning expertise of the Mays Center for Executive Development, and the power of the Aggie Network to offer a gateway to seats at board tables and development activities for those aspiring to expand the scope of their leadership opportunities.
The event will take place in the Memorial Student Center Bethancourt Ballroom at Texas A&M University.
The conference is open to the public. Registration before Sept.15 is $400 for a table of eight, $60 for business leaders, $30 for faculty and staff, and $12 for college-aged students. All meals and refreshments are included in the registration fee.
The event is sponsored in part by Mays Business School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information and to register, visit tx.ag/MaysWLI17
About the speakers:
Kimberly D. Olson, Colonel (Retired) – Through her trail-blazing military service as an aviation leader, commander and patriot Col. Olson has reshaped the perception of women serving their country. She was part of the first generation of female military pilots in the United States Air Force and one of the first to command an operational flying squadron. She served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Air Staff and deployed to several combat zones, including Iraq. As the retired CEO/President of Grace After Fire, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to helping women veterans help themselves, she reshaped how care was delivered to thousands of women veterans.
Annie McGowan, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Mays Business School – McGowan heads the Mays Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which aims to realize Mays’ strategic vision as a vibrant learning organization that respects differences and embraces connectedness. McGowan works with members of the school in the areas of cultural sensitivity and inclusion, diversity in student recruitment and retention and community relations. She is an associate professor of accounting and has served as the director of the Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) at Mays since 2008.
Cynthia Devers, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and a Mays Research Fellow, Mays Business School – Devers is also an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation and an outgoing Associate Editor of Academy of Management Review. In her research, she draws on behavioral decision and social psychological perspectives to examine the roles formal and informal governance mechanisms and social evaluations play in individual, group, and organizational behavior and outcomes. Her work has been published in strategy and management journals, including Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Journal of Management.
Renee Schroeder, Senior Vice President, Advisor Services Technology, Schwab Advisor Services – Schroeder is responsible for development and maintenance of the Advisor Services products and websites. This includes Schwab Advisor Center, Schwab Retirement Center, and Schwab Institutional. Before joining Schwab, Schroeder worked for USAA, where she led applications development, systems maintenance and customer support for USAA’s Brokerage & Mutual Funds; Institutional Trading; Life, Health, and Annuities; and Wealth Management systems. She earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University.
Susan Rudd Bailey, M.D., Fort Worth Allergy – Bailey is an allergist and immunologist from Fort Worth, Texas, and the Speaker of the American Medical Association House of Delegates. Dr. Bailey brings an impressive record of involvement in organized medicine and is a recent past president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA). In 2016, she was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University.
Deb Merril, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Just Energy Group Inc. – As the President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of a growing global energy company, Merril applies her passion for raising the bar to delivering forward-thinking solutions and progressive product and service options as a trusted energy advisor for customers across geographical lines. She holds an MBA and a master’s degree in economics from Mays Business School.