See You in Columbus? Five Reasons to Consider Attending WISA 2011

On June 17th, 2011 the NASPA IV-East region will host the Women in Student Affairs (WISA) drive-in conference at Ohio State University. This one-day professional development opportunity started in 2003 with a small committee of eight women working together to bring this new initiative to our region.

WISA, a Knowledge Community of NASPA, has a stated purpose and goals:

”The purpose of the WISA Knowledge Community is to give voice to the needs of women in student affairs and to provide professional development opportunities through both regional and national activities designed to address gender equity and prompt personal growth.

WISA initiatives work to center the experiences of marginalized people and focuses on the intersections of race, class, sexuality, disability and gender identity with gender and sex.

WISA provides a home for student affairs professionals who work in women’s and gender centers or with gender-related concerns on college campuses, creating networking opportunities for those professionals.”

(Taken from:

I was grateful to have the opportunity to work on the first conference as a graduate student and it definitely helped me to understand the labor of love that coordinating a conference entails. We had no idea that this first conference (held in Siena Heights, Michigan) would become a successful tradition. WISA is held every other year and this upcoming conference in 2011 marks the 5th time WISA has been offered in our region.

With the conference date quickly approaching I want to share with you five reasons to consider attending WISA 2011.

1) It is an intentional professional development opportunity designed for women at all levels and all functional areas within Student Affairs: The theme for the conference is “Purposeful Leadership: Redefined.” It is designed to be a place where knowledge can be shared and connections made. There is something about walking into a room full of women with shared experiences and wisdom to offer that is very inspiring.

2) Help other women by donating to their philanthropic cause: WISA has teamed up with “Dress for Success” in Columbus and is encouraging attendees to donate plus-sized business attire, purses, shoes and jewelry/accessories for women entering the workforce who may be in need of clothes for work. It is a great chance to do some spring cleaning and help other women, too!

3) Mentorship opportunities: At the 2007 regional WISA conference, the planning team adopted the model created by the national WISA Knowledge Community offered a Panel of Listeners program. This is a structured one-hour opportunity for new/less seasoned professionals to be paired up with mid and senior level professionals. It is the hope that your connection continues after the conference. You just might meet a new friend or mentor!

For more info check out:

4) The cost of attendance won’t break the bank: In a time of budget cuts, professional development money is often the first thing to go. WISA has worked hard to keep the conference affordable and is much cheaper than a typical one-day charge for a regional or national conference. The one-day format is perfect for people who don’t want to pay for a hotel—they can simply drive home after the conference concludes.

5) The program sessions are designed for women at all levels—everyone will find something that they want to learn about: As a member of the planning team for the first four WISA conferences, the one re-occurring theme that we found in the conference evaluations is that our attendees wished they could have attended every program! WISA attracts talented professionals and hearing their expertise through their program sessions is the heart of what makes WISA so successful.

Have you been to a WISA conference before? Let me know what you enjoyed about it! I hope to see you in Columbus in June!

Follow me on Twitter @annmarieklotz

About annmarieklotz

I write about all things education, personal & professional development and growth. Once is a question, twice is a discussion and three times is a blog post! Born and raised in Detroit Michigan but currently calling the Pacific Northwest home. I work at Oregon State University and belong to a fantastic community of higher ed professionals around the globe! Lover of theater and the arts. Live your best life!
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4 Responses to See You in Columbus? Five Reasons to Consider Attending WISA 2011

  1. Tommy Coy says:

    Does an attendee have to be a member of NASPA to attend? I have some graduate assistants that I am interested in sending whom are not members of NASPA. Let me know and see if I can get them to roadtrip down!

  2. Great question Tommy! Nope, it is open to anyone. We also often have 8-10 men attend–and sometimes they present, too….just a thought 🙂

  3. Kristen says:

    I cannot wait til WISA and for Columbus (“my” town) to be flooded with awesome women (and a few men) in Higher Ed. Thanks for posting Ann Marie.

  4. Suzanne Onorato, co-chair WISA KC says:

    Fabulous! While I am unable to make it I am thrilled to see this tradition continue. Enjoy 🙂

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