Registration open for annual Women’s Leadership Institute

UofSC to offer free conference for women in higher education

Online registration is now open for one of the University of South Carolina’s most popular annual events. Based on previous years, the 420 spots available will fill quickly.

The Women’s Leadership Institute is a free daylong conference of professional and personal development for women in higher education set for April 25 in the Russell House University Union. It is open to faculty, staff and graduate students from higher education institutions in the state.

Last month, the American Council of Education awarded the Women’s Leadership Institute the 2018 ACE State Network Leadership Award for its support of women and advancing women’s issues in higher education. 

The theme for the 15th annual Women’s Leadership Institute is “Why not me?” Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. Sessions run from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. with networking and refreshments from 4:15 – 5:30 p.m. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

Registration is available online.

This year’s event will feature a keynote address by alumna Denise Ryan, a motivational speaker and founder of Firestar Media. Ryan is known for delivering passionate talks that are relevant and uplifting and that tackle topics such as dealing with change, getting along with others and staying motivated.

In addition to Ryan’s address and a panel of university women leaders, attendees will choose from 24 sessions on a variety of topics, including gender and bias, finding a mentor, pay equity and personal finance, healthy cooking, cybersecurity, resolving conflict in the workplace, saying no, understanding stress response, getting involved in politics, caring for aging parents and using technology to make life easier.

Resume review and mock interview sessions will run throughout the conference, and blood pressure and hearing screenings will be offered from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m. Sign-up for these activities when you register. 

Below are a few responses from women who attended last year’s conference:

  • “The WLI has given me my first look into the power of women working together to lift each other up and the positive effect that can have in the workplace.”
  • “The power of the conference can’t be overstated: 400-plus women from all over the state coming together to hear, talk and think about leadership. It’s an ambitious and amazing conference!”
  • “Everyone was very honest about the issues they’re facing, and it made me feel like I was not alone.”
  • “This year’s conference has had a positive impact upon my work in higher education as well as the ability to work with other women and assisting others to achieve their goals.”
  • “Once again, WLI hit it out of the park! The provost’s focus on friend-mentors was a good reminder to surround ourselves with people who support us, yet tell us the truth.”

Mary Alexander, assistant provost for academic administration, has led the Women’s Leadership Institute since 2011. For more information, email her at

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