GOMO oversees the start, growth, and transfer of a successful leadership training program
The Women in Sciences Leadership Workshop was held April 12-13, 2023 at the University of Arizona. The two-day workshop hosted 50 women from across different fields and sectors including government, academia, and industry, as well as career levels ranging from graduate students, early- and mid-career professionals, to senior managers. With this cohort, the workshop series has now reached over 350 women from across the US and internationally. This 2023 meeting represents the fifth year that GOMO has led this program and the first time the workshop was hosted in Tucson, Arizona; previous workshops were held at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) headquarters in Boulder, Colorado and the 2022 workshop was held at the University of South Florida (USF) in Miami, Florida. In the future, the workshop organizers plan to continue hosting the workshop in different geographic locations to provide training to more women across the country.
Women remain a minority in scientific leadership and management roles. Training opportunities like the Women in Sciences Leadership Workshop give women the skills they need to grow as leaders.
The Women in Sciences Leadership Workshop series was originally developed by GOMO Program Manager Emily Smith in 2018 when she recognized the need to improve leadership training opportunities for women, who remain a minority in scientific leadership and management roles. “I have always looked for ways to improve myself and, while I am looking for that, I think that others could benefit as well,” Emily says. “Anytime I find a training or piece of advice that has helped me, I look for ways to share it in the hopes that it can help someone else. I particularly will share that advice with other women or people of color so they can pursue opportunities equally.”
The “Building Leadership Skills for Success in the Scientific Workforce” workshop is designed to provide tools and foster skills in leadership, communication, and mentorship. Although these skills are rarely taught in scientific and academic training, they are necessary for women to successfully grow in their roles as leaders, managers, and mentors. The workshop is led by Chris Olex, a speaker and facilitator with The Point specializing in personal, leadership, and team development. Chris teaches that the foundation of being a great leader is to first have a solid understanding of who you are and how you impact people. Attendees participated in a number of reflective and interactive sessions on a variety of topics, including 1) exploring their DiSC™ personality styles, 2) emotional intelligence and self-awareness, 3) how to give and receive feedback, 4) managing unconscious biases, and more.
The foundation of being a leader is understanding who you are, how you show up, and how you impact those around you.
Previous participants have expressed that they enjoyed the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of women and lean on the experiences of others to learn more about their own leadership styles. Trista Brophy, a PhD candidate from the University of Florida (UF) who attended the 2022 workshop, wrote in a blog for the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences that she applied to the workshop because she was “excited about the women-focused approach, hoping it would foster open and honest conversation about the many struggles women face as they progress through their careers.” Appreciating the space to reflect on her previous interactions and work relationships, Trista said that the skills she learned at the workshop will “help her to show up for others in a more robust and authentic way.” Mackenzie Kerr, a lab manager and outreach coordinator at USF, said “The workshop brought amazing women in many fields of science, from many organizations, and many stages of life, to one room to empower us, share experiences, and train us to be better leaders…By splitting us into groups of similar leaders, we got to get to know ourselves while meeting others” (USF College of Marine Science Blog).
Having established and successfully grown the program, GOMO will hand over future coordination of the Women in Sciences Leadership Workshop to NOAA ODIAC.
GOMO’s Emily Smith has served as the program’s lead coordinator for over five years, helping to organize and acquire funding and support through NOAA and the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) and UCAR. Since its start, the program has hosted five in-person and two virtual workshops that have helped to provide professional leadership and management training to women from a variety of sectors, including NOAA and other federal and state agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, universities, and private industries. After years of successfully organizing and growing the Women in Sciences Leadership Workshop series, GOMO will transfer future coordination of the program to the NOAA OAR Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (ODIAC). Pam Heinselman, Jasmin John, Lauren Koellermeir, and Liz Perotti from NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), and Ocean Acidification Program (OAP), respectively, plan to serve as coordinators for the 2024 workshop.