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Women Leading Change: Panel Discussion

Antioch University Santa Barbara’s Undergraduate Studies program hosted a discussion in honor of International Women’s Day on Friday, March 12th entitled “Women Leading Change.”

Esteemed panelists included former Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, Dr. Anna Everett, Ms. Anna Steffens, Ms. Julissa Pena and moderator Dr. Lois Philips, a seasoned strategic consultant and producer of a YouTube podcast about women as public speakers – Women Seen and Heard.

Anna Kwong, Antioch Santa Barbara’s Undergraduate Studies Program’s Director, began the event, stating that as the nation gradually moves toward recovery from the pandemic, the devastation remains. In 2020 alone, women experienced a net loss of 5.4 million jobs —nearly 1 million more than men (CNN Business). Gender inequality remains a persistent barrier in the workforce, and women must lead the change against it.

When asked to define leadership, Hannah Beth Jackson used the acronym “CIVIC” to demonstrate the traits a leader should possess. “C, stands for courage. “I”, integrity, “V”, is vision, “I”, intelligence and “C”, compassion.” She explained, “intelligence doesn’t mean a leader must have a very high IQ; she must understand thoroughly the issues and the people involved in the situation. There is no substitution for hard work, and women leaders must learn to take risks and put people together.”

In the post-event interview, Dr. Lois Phillips stated, “Research confirms that increasing the number and quality of women leaders improves an organization’s ability to innovate, collaborate, and perform. Women who lead change efforts tend to collaborate across functional areas, bringing people together in planning teams for brainstorming solutions to the problems facing their organization. Given the fast pace of change, the recent pandemic economic dynamics, organizations today need to be nimble to remain viable.”

Kwong sent the audience off with a promising note: “Our future is bright and promising. But we need to build our voices and make our presence known. We make up 50% of the world. Our future is in our own hands.”

The event was co-sponsored by the Women and Leadership Certificate.