» By ERICKA CONLEY – econley@my.apsu.edu

APSU hosted the 2nd Annual Women’s Leadership Symposium on, Friday, March 30. The event, sponsored by the Political Science department, was free of charge and all young women were encouraged to attend.

Takesha Anderson, administrative assistant to the Political Science department referred to the symposium as a good opportunity for women to become good leaders and to teach them how to navigate through the system and receive key tips for being in a leadership position.

The women in attendance also learned what characteristics define a good leader. When people think of female leaders they generally refer to Oprah Winfrey or other “high-profile” women, but this notion was challenged.

“Why not think of yourself as a leader? Although you are on the local level, you can still be a great leader,” Anderson said.

President Timothy Hall opened the symposium with brief remarks and encouraged the ladies to get “engaged” in a number of organizations while in college because this will help them gain the ability to understand people. By doing this the women will gain “a high level of emotional intelligence.”

As the ladies enjoyed a free breakfast and lunch, they were able to hear from different influential women in the community.

Carolyn Bowers, Montgomery County Mayor and APSU alumna, spoke and shared her personal story. She referred to herself at a young age as a “shy, country girl.” She had always had the desire to teach and ultimately began teaching after college in 1969. Her teaching career lasted for 29 years and, during that time, she worked in different organizations such as sponsoring the Business Club at Clarksville High School. She also encouraged college students to be a part of service organizations.

Candy Johnson, APSU alumna and Clarksville Council member for Ward 5 also shared her story with the audience. She said, “It doesn’t matter where you start, it only matter where you finish.” Johnson is the youngest elected official in the county.

Rosalind Kurita, former state senator pro-tempt and the current health care administrator for the state of Tennessee, spoke about influential women that have shaped our society. She spoke of Shirley Chisholm and Harriet Tubman. She referred to these women as leaders. Kurita also recommended making an effort to learn how to speak in public.

Marsha Lyle-Gonga, assistant professor of Political Science, the principle coordinator for this event, wanted to know why there weren’t many women in leadership positions, especially in Congress. Gonga pointed out that only 17 percent of the United States Congress is composed of women who are in leadership positions.

The event began at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m. There were a few intermissions where the young ladies were encouraged to talk to each other about what leadership meant to them. TAS