On Monday, March 31, I gathered with four colleagues and friends a little before 5 p.m. in a room set for 100 people in Indianapolis and prepared to give our presentation “Wonder Women: Leaning In as Women in Student Affairs”. As the room began to fill, and then people began to take seats in the aisle, and then pull up chairs in the hallway… we knew we were on to something.

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A view from the hallway at our #ACPA14 session.

One hour later after the five of us had shared our personal stories in “TED Talk” style, we were overwhelmed, relieved, and deeply satisfied. We also knew that we needed to do more. Clearly, there’s a need for a community of support for women in student affairs. And, more broadly, as we discussed our perspectives, there’s a need for a space for feminists in particular to gather and exchange thoughts, regardless of gender identity or expression. So, today we launched “Student Affairs Feminists” a blog devoted to providing a space and a voice for feminists in student affairs and tagged the hashtag #SAfeminist to provide space for ongoing conversation. I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with so many individuals at ACPA and beyond via Twitter, and I look forward to reading posts from my colleagues and friends!

Please check out this link: http://studentaffairsfeminists.wordpress.com and consider contributing a post!

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Very early on in my career in student affairs I had a really terrible supervisor (who will remain nameless). He was a “good ole’ boy” in the purest sense, catering not to his staff but to the upper administration (nearly all men) at the college. He undermined my role as the primary advisor to a group of students frequently: sometimes he provided only providing lukewarm support of my decisions and other times he blatantly advising students to take a course of action in direct opposition to my previous advisement. It probably comes as no shock that I moved on from that position as quickly as possible. There is nothing worse than having an unsupportive supervisor.

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Sally Hegelsen, author of the book The Web of Inclusion: Architecture for Building Great Organizations speaks to the leadership role of women and their influence in the workplace. She writes:

“The women I studied built profoundly integrated and organic organizations in which the focus was on nurturing good relationships; in which the niceties of hierarchical rank and distinction played little part; and in which lines of communication were multiple, open, and diffuse. I noted that the women tended to put themselves at the center of their organizations rather than at the top, emphasizing both accessibility and equality, and that they labored constantly to include people in their decision-making. This had the effect of undermining the boundaries so characteristic of mainstream organizations, with their strict job descriptions, categorization of people according to rank, and restrictions on the flow of information.”

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