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Conference encourages women to 'Leap into Leadership'

May 12, 2013 - From staff reports

Nearly 300 women were elected to city, county and state positions in Wyoming in November, and at least 12 participants of past Leap into Leadership events were among them. Leap into Leadership, co-hosted by the Wyoming Women's Foundation and the Wyoming Women's Legislative Caucus annually since 2008, aims to increase women's leadership at all levels.

According to Rep. Rosie Berger, House District 51, "This is about having a diverse conversation where male and female constituents are both represented in the most effective manner."

Berger is the House Speaker pro tempore, chairwoman of the Corporations Committee, and founder of the Wyoming Women's Legislative Caucus.

Big Horn County and Fremont County voters elected the greatest number of women to office in Wyoming in 2012, and WYWF and WWLC hope to build on those successes by encouraging more women to take on professional and civic leadership positions.

On May 21 in Sheridan and May 22 in Riverton, Leap into Leadership workshops will give area women tools to take on larger leadership roles, including information about local boards and elected positions. Trainer Katie Groke Ellis will use a nationally proven curriculum developed by the White House Project that empowers participants to network, seek local women mentors and build a coalition. At lunch, women will hear from local area panelists who will share how they balance responsibilities with their leadership roles. The Sheridan panel will include Berger and the Riverton panel will include Rep. Rita Campbell, H.D. 24.

More than half of the graduates of local Leap into Leadership workshops held the past two years in Cody, Evanston, Gillette and Laramie said they were contemplating a run for political office afterward, and 100 percent said they would consider serving on a volunteer board in the future.

All participants must be registered by Tuesday and scholarships are available. Visit www.wywf.org for event details and registration.

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