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The WVU Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) empowers and engages women on campus, helping them achieve their full professional potential and form a community within which the participants can initiate valuable new relationships.

Member Spotlight

Sonikpreet Aulakh, MBBS MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine| Translational NeuroOncology| Division of Hematology-Oncology

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Celebrating a Milestone: WLI 10-Year Anniversary

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Effective leadership is learned, and the WVU Women’s Leadership Initiative helps level the playing field for women regardless of where they started. We focus on the unique needs of women leaders, providing a customized curriculum and hosting professional development, learning and networking opportunities throughout the year. With robust ranks, bold vision and 10 years of history as a guide, WLI is ready to face the challenges of next decade.

In 2022, WLI welcomed 41 new members, hosted national and local women leaders, and recorded its history and impact with a mini-documentary. While refocusing on its purpose, WLI also became the subject of a peer-reviewed article, authored by WLI members Allison Dagen, Lisa DeFrank-Cole, Christina Glance and Julie Lockman.

As we enter our second decade, WLI will continue to focus on relevant leadership enhancement opportunities to help members reach their full potential. Through executive coaching, leadership workshops, networking, capacity building, mentorship and more, WLI’s work will support WVU’s mission and Move the Needle to advance and sustain women leaders within higher education.

To support this work, WLI has created a new endowment fund to help sponsor professional training and development opportunities for faculty and staff. If you are interested in investing in the future of current leaders and those yet to emerge, consider a one-time gift. Just select WLI Women’s Leadership Initiative Fund on the "What would you like your donation to support?" dropdown list.

Alternatively, benefactors may complete the WVU Faculty and Staff Payroll Deduction form Program at Be sure to enter 2W1560, Women’s Leadership Initiative in the “ Fund/Designation - ID or Description” field.

Fall 2022 Calendar of Events

Events are open to all members of the WLI and will be held via Zoom unless otherwise noted on the calendar. Meeting links and details will be sent to members via email.

  • SEP 
    Membership Drive 
  • SEP 
    5 p.m. A Conversation with Dr. Genevieve BellLessons from My Leadership Journey
    Dr. Bell is the Director of the School of Cybernetics and 3A Institute (3Ai) at the Australian National University, and a Vice President and a Senior Fellow in the advance research and development labs at Intel Corporation. 
  • OCT 

    Dr. Sharon James McGee, Put Your Mask on First Before Helping Others

    Dr. McGee is a professor in Literature and Language (English, Rhetoric and Writing) and the Dean of Graduate Studies at East Tennessee State University

  • OCT 
    Noon Dr. Dana Brown, Why We Can’t Wait: The Importance for Women to Seek Leadership Roles in Politics and Higher Education
    Dr. Brown is the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Chatham University
  • OCT 

    Ms. Regina Durden, Connected Leadership: The Power of Women Leaders

    Ms. Durden is the President of the Executive Women in Texas Government


  • Nov 

    Dr. Sherri Lind Hughes, Moving the Needle: Advancing Women in Higher Education Leadership

    Dr. Hughes is the Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Engagement at the American Council on Education (ACE)

  • Nov
    3:00 p. m.
    Ms. Jeri Brooks, Strategic Advocacy: Tips from a Professional Lobbyist
    Ms. Brooks is the CEO and Lead Strategist of the OneWorld Strategic Group
  • Nov 
    Mrs. Jeanette J. McMillian, Leaning into Your Purpose
    Mrs. McMillian is the Assistant Director for the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Supply Chain and Cyber Directorate

* The WLI will continue to follow the University’s guidelines for in-person gatherings and networking events. An announcement will be sent via email if an event is canceled, rescheduled, or moved to an online format.

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