March, the month of women, has not felt celebratory given the current Covid19 crisis. Yet, let us remember that when we come together as a united community we can accomplish great things. We are all #AloneTogether.
A bright spot, which reflects the power of unity, is the launch of the Marquette’s Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), of which I am a Co-Director. Just days ago, the IWL’s website went live and I invite you to peruse it.
As for the IWL, well here’s our story, which is a celebration of partnership and problem-solving that was both the genesis of IWL’s creation and mirrors in its collaborative leadership structure. In 2015 the seeds of the IWL were planted when the Explorer Challenge was launched. That Challenge received more than 180 proposals, yet few of them were from women. One donor, Claire Rolfs, noticed this gap and decided to do something about it. Thus, a partnership between Claire Rolfs and Marquette was born.
Over the next five years she and Jeanne Hossenlopp, VicePresident for Research and Innovation, worked together to facilitate change. Their first project, was the Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) launched in 2017. Then in 2019, through the leadership and advocacy of Claire and Jeanne, the IWL was launched with a generous $5 million endowment by the Thomas J. Rolfs Family Foundation.
Today, the IWL is positioned to leverage the research talents of Marquette’s remarkable community of scholars to become a national thought leader on women’s leadership issues, while WIN will serve as the programming arm of the IWL. As we live out the IWL’s mission to advance women’s leadership locally and globally through pioneering research, innovative programming and collaborative engagement, we remain deeply appreciative of the support from our partners, and I remain honored to be a Co-Director. Finally, as advocates for justice, we invite everyone to join us to bring to life the IWL’s vision of intersectional inclusivity and gender equity as we Engage, Inspire and Transform.