Luncheon to educate on discrimination

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A Women’s Leadership Luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Curtiss Hall Seminar Rooms F and G.

The event is being run through the Office of Student Life and is themed “Nevertheless She Persisted” to honor women who have fought discrimination. The event is geared toward teaching women how to overcome gender discrimination, but it is open to all students interested in learning about effective leadership skills.

Cara Deschermeier, an assistant director of Student Life, was in charge of the planning and creating of the event and putting together the group of panelists.

The keynote speaker is education professor Lacreta Clark, and the panelists are Interim Director of Student Wellness Programs Andrea Hamlin, Public School Academy Transition Coordinator Sharmee Gloss and criminal justice professor Sheruni Ratnabalasuriar.

These women were picked because they are female leaders at SVSU who have fought against forms of discrimination against women.

Deschermeier hopes that students will walk away having learned something that they can implement into their own lives. She also wants the luncheon to be a networking opportunity.

“My main goal is for our attendees to be able to come and be able to network as well as find something that is shared with them that day that they may be able to apply to their lives and their leadership style,” Deschermeier said. “We are here for mostly students but faculty as well to just come in and listen to others’ achievements. For the lunch portion, we are going to make it so that students have the opportunity to at least speak with one staff member and learn from their experience as well, even if the staff member is not on the panel.”

Clark is the first African American to earn full professor status in SVSU’s history. She plans to share her story at this event.

“My main goal while speaking is to encourage women to use their voice for positive change and to inspire others who desire to become faculty,” Clark said. “I will share my successes and challenges of being a leader and the adversity that one faces while leading. I will share my experiences and become vulnerable so that other women can be encouraged to fight and stand for what’s right, even if it means that sometimes you will stand alone.”

Clark also looks forward to giving current students advice she wishes she had been given at their age.

“Put your academics first, get involved in organizations that will benefit you personally and professionally and build bridges and relationships with people who have your same values and goals,” Clark said. “Finally, have fun, and enjoy the journey of learning and discovery, and you will find you in the process.”

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