Chapman University will host its inaugural
Women’s Leadership Conference
on Saturday, February 18. This half-day event features women leaders who will share their expertise from fields such as entertainment, higher education, business careers, K-12 education, law and the public sector, community, and philanthropy. The event is open to the public.

“Empowering women has taken on a new vigor in recent times and we are thrilled to be offering this opportunity to people of all ages, genders and backgrounds to come and not only hear from, but also interact with women leaders with a variety of backgrounds,” said
Margaret Grogan
, Ph.D., dean of Chapman’s College of Educational Studies.

Women’s Leadership Forum: Igniting the Flame
will feature two keynote speakers who will highlight the event. Dr. Myra Strober, a labor economist from Stanford University; and Dr. Sumun Pendakur, the Director of Institutional Diversity at Harvey Mudd College, will discuss discovering ones’ life passion, empowering others and career advancement.


Dr. Myra Strober of Stanford University


Dr. Sumun Pendakur of Harvey Mudd College

In between the keynotes are six breakout sessions where attendees can interact with industry leaders, ask them questions and network. The breakout sessions feature a panel of invited distinguished women representing a variety of fields, including:

  • Aida Molina, Director of Education for the CA Collaborative for Educational Excellence,
  • Ayesha Mahapatra, Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Young’s Holdings, Inc.,
  • Emily Chiles, Professor at North Virginia Community College,
  • Sheryl Bourgeois, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of University Advancement at Chapman University, and
  • Vicki Abeles, documentarian and Director of “Race to Nowhere.”

“We want the conference speakers to be accessible to attendees,” said Dean Grogan. “So the breakout sessions are designed for the speaker to talk briefly and then simply interact with and take questions from the audience. It is our desire that this will provide more meaningful takeaways for attendees.”

The event will take place in Argyros Forum Room 209 and is open to the public. Registration and a $30 fee are required. Breakfast and lunch are provided. More information on the event can be found here:

The major sponsor of
Women’s leadership Forum: Igniting the Flame
Schools First Federal Credit Union

About Chapman University

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University attracts extraordinary students and faculty from around the globe. Its ten schools and colleges foster a vibrant intellectual community, and provide extensive opportunities for students to learn, grow and discover alongside remarkable faculty. The University is home to some 8,000 students pursuing bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, and is alma mater to more than 40,000 alumni found throughout the United States and the world. Now celebrating its 155th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The University is comprised of its main campus in Orange, California, and the Rinker Health Science campus for graduate health science programs in Irvine, California. Visit us at

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