As I “traveled” around the country via Zoom this spring meeting with many rock star women-identifying NIRSA members to discuss the initial idea of a Women+ Caucus, the question I received most often was “Why”? It wasn’t asked in a negative way, but rather stemmed from trying to understand why launching this caucus was important to me.
Of course, I knew my why, and I imagine many who identify as women in our profession would share that why. When I was a student and young professional, I had few (if any) women-identifying professionals to look up to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond grateful for the wisdom, guidance, and leadership that my male-identifying mentors have and continue to provide to me (Hi Sid Gonsoulin, Retired Sr. Associate VP for Student Affairs University of Southern Mississippi and Bill Manning, Executive Director of Rec Sports and Senior Associate AD, Saint Mary’s College of California!).
However, as I’ve reflected, it occurred to me that in the absence of women-identifying mentors, I was constantly modeling my career goals and path after those who identified as men. Although I was learning from them, I always felt like their approaches to leadership and their work styles didn’t fully resonate with me. What was missing was a structured (yet informal) space for women-identifying NIRSA members to come together and share stories, network, and learn from each other.
After hours of thought partnering, and intentionally designing an inclusive structure with a team of amazing NIRSA members, we’re finally launching the NIRSA Women+ Caucus! We strive to ensure that all individuals who identify as women are seen and represented.
We’ll do this by:
- Promoting a community among Women+ in recreation, providing opportunities for authentic dialogue and relationship-building
- Providing accessible professional development opportunities designed to address gender equity issues and promote personal/professional growth
- Promoting opportunities for Women+ in recreation to find their professional voice as advocates for equity issues
- Supporting Women+ who aspire to enter the professional field of recreation and those preparing for professional advancement
NIRSA members can register for free
If any of this resonates with you, and you’d like to share virtual space with other campus recreation professionals who identify as women, we invite you to our first caucus meeting on July 15 at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT. Register for this caucus—and others—here.
We look forward to seeing you, honoring your space and experiences, and sharing wisdom to help us all move forward together.
- For more information about the Women+ Caucus, please contact Chrissy Galli.