WLAG Announces 2017 Winners of Awards for Outstanding Scholarship and Practice in the Area of Women and Leadership
By Joanne Barnes & S. Lynn Shollen
Joanne Barnes is Chair-Elect of the International Leadership Association's Women and Leadership Affinity Group (WLAG) and Chair of WLAG's Membership and Awards Committee. Dean of the Graduate School and a Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University, she presents and publishes on women and leadership, cultural intelligence, and global leadership. Barnes is a certified trainer/coach, working with universities and businesses to provide assessments and coaching to prepare people for expatriate and global assignments.
S. Lynn Shollen is 2017 Chair of the International Leadership Association’s Women and Leadership Affinity Group and an associate professor of leadership studies in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. She is co-author of the book Faculty Success Through Mentoring: A Guide for Mentors, Mentees, and Leaders (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009). She serves as a reviewer for Journal of Leadership Education and Leadership, and on the advisory board for Christopher Newport University’s Center for Effective Teaching.
As a community focused on advancing women and leadership, the ILA Women and Leadership Affinity Group (WLAG) believes it is important to recognize and celebrate people who are contributing excellent work toward our goal. In 2014 WLAG began bestowing awards for outstanding scholarship and practice in the area of women and leadership at our annual networking luncheon at the ILA global conference, but as the biennial Women and Leadership conference has grown, it seems fitting — beginning this year — to present the awards at the Women and Leadership conference on a biennial basis. Keep an eye out for the next award cycle prior to the 4th biennial Women and Leadership conference in 2019!
The WLAG received numerous impressive nominees in each category this year and we are pleased to announce the 2017 awards for Outstanding Scholarship and Outstanding Practice in the area of women and leadership to the following leaders in the field!
The Outstanding Scholarship for Established Scholars award recognizes excellence in the scholarship of a seasoned scholar whose published work (theoretical, empirical, or applied) has advanced the understanding of women in leadership in a significant way.
Winner: Faith Wambura Ngunjiri – Faith is a tenured Associate Professor at Concordia College. Since her dissertation, Faith has focused her research throughout her career on women and leadership with a specific focus on a marginalized population. Her work with mentorship to the next generation of scholars to build upon her own and others’ work sets a model for others to follow. Faith’s impactful scholarly contributions throughout the years have been consistent and many; she is truly devoted to the research and scholarship of women and leadership. Below is an excerpt from the nomination letter we received from another WLAG member:
Ngunjiri has continued her research and scholarship on women and leadership, and with her colleagues Chang and Hernandez, has also contributed to others’ ability to study women and leadership with their qualitative methods book Collaborative Autoethnography (CAE). Within WLAG, several individuals and teams have used CAE effectively and have had their work published in the Women and Leadership book series.
The Outstanding Scholarship for Emerging Scholars award recognizes excellence in the scholarship of a graduate student or early career scholar whose presentations, dissertation, and/or published work (theoretical, empirical, or applied) has the potential to advance or already has advanced the understanding of women in leadership in a significant way.
Winner: Paige Haber-Curran – Paige is currently an Assistant Professor and soon to be an Associate Professor at Texas State University. Paige has already made remarkable contributions to the area of women and leadership with her research in the areas of women and emotional intelligence, gendered leadership, and student leadership. Along with her solo work, Paige has been collaborating with senior scholars and in this process has developed a wide range of experience and publications that is most recently demonstrated by her work examining women and leadership in a global context. Below is an excerpt from the nomination letter we received on her behalf:
Paige is committed to continuing to make a scholarly impact that works to advance women in leadership. In May Paige’s second co-edited book will be released, entitled Critical Perspectives on Gender and Student Leadership, which is part of the New Directions in Student Leadership series (Jossey-Bass). This book is an important contribution to the fields of student affairs and leadership education.
The Outstanding Practice with Broad Impact award recognizes excellence in the practice of an individual whose advocacy, commitment, or actions in support of women in leadership has influenced individuals, audiences, organizations, or broad communities. The award recipient is someone who practices leadership—from outside or within the academic arena—with a focus on women and leadership and has benefited women in a variety of areas and arenas beyond the recipient’s local sphere, resulting in broad impact.
Winner: Sara Safari – Sara has been working with education for girls in Nepal. She leads the Empower Nepali Girls Organization, which provides scholarships and educational support for girls in some of Nepal’s most vulnerable communities, among other initiatives. She is also involved in fighting human trafficking. One of the major efforts of Sara’s practice is the global impact of involving women in multiple fields to inspire and support young women and engage them in leadership. She invites women in various leadership roles to join her on global trips to be role models for young Nepali women. Below is an excerpt from her nomination letter we received:
Sara Safari continues to be an advocate for social justice and girl empowerment around the world. She fights for women’s rights and has received the Global Citizenship Award for her outstanding work with Empower Nepali Girls. Her inspirational book about her life changing experience, spiritual redemption, and a search for social justice is called Follow My Footsteps. She is donating all the profits to Empower Nepali Girls. She is doing a TEDx talk in Paris in May 20, 2017 to empower women all around the globe. She is striving to be a role model for the girls in developing countries because she never had a role model herself growing up in Iran.
The Outstanding Practice with Local Impact award recognizes excellence in the practice of an individual whose advocacy, commitment, or actions in support of women in leadership has influenced individuals and audiences within their organization or community. The award recipient is someone who practices leadership—from outside or within the academic arena—with a focus on women and leadership and has implemented a substantial change, policy, or event that has benefited women within a local sphere.
Winner: Geneva Murray — Geneva is Director of the Women’s Center at Ohio University, where she ensures that women faculty, staff, and students have a voice and develop as leaders. Beyond her role duties, she also engages the community of Athens, OH in developing women leaders. Geneva has led numerous initiatives to empower and develop women as leaders, including pairing women students to mentor young girls in the community, pairing women students with professional women in the Athens community, and creating She Leads OHIO and Women Leading OHIO — programs that build networking, support, and community among women across the main and regional campuses.
Dr. Murray’s efforts to instill leadership among women in our Ohio community can be seen in the intentional creation of She Leads OHIO. A participant of this program mentions that Dr. Murray’s ‘passion for this topic and for helping women to not only become empowered about equal pay, but to find and use data in a straight-forward way, is why the workshop remains the best professional development session I’ve ever attended.’ Currently, She Leads OHIO has attracted women across Ohio University’s main and regional campuses, as well as the mentorship component that recently tripled its number of applicants.
Congratulations to all of the deserving awardees, and more suitably, thank you for your hard work and important contributions to advancing women and leadership! Please join us in honoring these four impressive women at an awards ceremony to be held at the 3rd biennial ILA Women and Leadership conference, June 11-14 at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. Learn more about the conference and register here!