University hosts conference to empower women leaders

Photo by Kelli O'Toole/TheNews

Story by Ashley Traylor, Staff writer

About 150 women of all ages gathered in the Curris Center Ballroom Feb. 22 to take part in a daylong leadership conference – the Leadership Launch Women’s Conference – designed to empower women in leadership roles.  

The Leadership Launch Women’s Conference is part of The Leadership Women Inc., a nonprofit organization that strives to advance the personal and professional development of women.

The conference at Murray State was combined with the Town and Gown Breakfast and the annual Celebrate Women Luncheon.

Keynote speakers included President and CEO of Leadership Women, Linda Crompton, and Murray State alumna, Trisha Cunningham.  

Crompton worked in Canada’s banking industry, where she became the first female banking president.

As CEO of many organizations, Crompton advocated for women’s advancement and leadership. During her banking career, she created the Return to Work program to encourage women to continue to engage in work during maternity leave and she revised loan criteria for female entrepreneurs.

Cunningham retired as the chief citizenship officer at Texas Instruments. She is a graduate of the International Women’s Forum Leadership Fellows Program, Leadership Texas, Leadership Dallas and Leadership International.

Two years ago, Cunningham said she started thinking about change because she wanted to do more.  

“I did not want to look back and say I didn’t do something just because I was comfortable or just because I was in my box,” Cunningham said.

This led her to retire from her job as Texas Instruments and begin thinking about other opportunities to explore.

She gave the acronym BOLD for women to apply to leadership in their career.  

  • B – Believe in yourself and others
  • O – Open to opportunities
  • L – Lead and be led
  • D – Deliver with differentiation

She asked the attendees to reflect on their job title, whether their job is fulfilling and their job purpose or their goal for their career.

Cunningham said she wanted women to realize their potential in their careers and their ability to make a lasting impact on their organization or community.  

Vision boards are a tool to organize goals for different aspects of life, she said. She uses a vision board to make goals for friendship, spiritual and family life, home improvement, career, community impact, financial stability and personal time.

Cunningham said everyone’s goals are going to be different, but she said “If you don’t where you’re going, then how are you going to get there.”

Other speakers included Cate Leos, Lillie Brock, Laura Douglas, Sylvia Lovely, Cathy Morris, Lana Porter Kathy Stanfa and Lou Davidson Tillson.  

The Leadership Launch Women’s Conference was sponsored by the Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce, Murray State, Murray State’s Women’s Center, Town and Gown, Murray Women’s Club and LG&E and KU.