From Inside Business
The College of William & Mary’s first female president says these are exciting times for women in leadership.
“This is a moment in which we are seeing women’s leadership blossom,” Katherine A. Rowe said April 3 at a Hampton Roads Chamber event.
Not only did she become the first female in that role at the university, she proudly carries a multitude of other identities with her each day. She is CEO, administrator, scholar, teacher, entrepreneur, athlete, coach, volunteer, daughter, spouse and mom.
“Everybody in this room works second shifts,” she said to the Power of Women audience at Hilton Norfolk The Main. “I’m so happy to be here thinking about the prosperity of our region with you.”
Rowe shared why she feels it’s an important time to be at William & Mary.
First, she said, is that she arrived at an institution with an exceptional readiness for change and an appetite for innovation.
The 326-year-old institution looks 10 to 20 years out in its planning cycle, which Rowe said is another one of its strengths.
“We are committed to long trajectories of transformation and development,” she said.
One example she gave related to the school’s newly launched minor degree program in innovation and entrepreneurship. Within just 24 hours, a 60-seat introductory class was filled with nonbusiness majors.
“We are moving our entrepreneurship center to the center of campus for this reason because it’s so clear that it needs to be for the whole institution – faculty, staff and all our students …” Rowe said.
She said the unprecedented alignment of the business community, legislature and higher education in the state is another exciting aspect of being at William & Mary today.
“The question for all of us in this room, and in the commonwealth, is what do we do next with that alignment? So, think about that. Take that question with you.”
Also exciting, Rowe said, has been the university’s celebration of 100 years of being coed and 50 years since accepting blacks.
“We are reflecting on the pioneering work of those giants whose shoulders we stand on,” she said. “Everybody in this room has benefited from somebody – many somebodies – pioneering for us.”
And while she fully understands and accepts the weight of the responsibility of her pioneering role, she said women’s leadership includes being able to transform others.
“It is important to lift others as we climb,” she said as she looked out into the audience and called it her “team.”
From Inside Business
By Sandra Pennecke
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