Women’s Leadership Conference

The Women’s Leadership Conference is an event held to coincide with Women’s History Month and is designed to bring female leaders from Mid-Missouri together to discuss the past, present, and future of women’s leadership on a global level. The conference is built upon four pillars: networking, education, empowerment and diversity.

wewomenlogo3This year’s theme was “We Women” and incorporated students, staff, alumni, and community members as speakers and presenters. The content highlights issues focused on women leaders in a collegiate setting and beyond.

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The conference incorporates students, staff, alumni, and community members as speakers and presenters. The content highlights issues focused on women leaders in a collegiate setting and beyond. These issues will be discussed through a keynote speaker, various breakout sessions, and special presentations. Topics we hope to cover include but are not limited to visioning, work/life balance, leading with passion, feminism, self-awareness, strengths-based leadership, and professional development.


Know someone that you think would be interested in attending the Women’s Leadership Conference? The nomination form will become available a few months prior to the conference each year. Once your nomination is received, the conference planning committee will reach out to the individual nominated and encourage them to register to attend.


The Women’s Leadership Conference has a limited number of scholarships available for Mizzou students each year. The scholarship application can be found on the conference registration form once that information becomes available. Contact wlc@missouri.edu with questions or for additional information.

Call for Programs

The Women’s Leadership Conference Executive Board accepts submissions for program proposals for educational breakout sessions.  Submissions are typically due in late November for the conference held each March.

Conference Pillars

We believe everyone has the ability to lead and create positive change. The Women’s Leadership Conference is a resource for collegiate women to use as they plan and achieve their professional and personal goals. We accomplish this by embodying our four pillars throughout the conference planning process.

There is no better way to kickstart your leadership than through finding out about new opportunities. The Women’s Leadership Conference is a forum for community members to share their experiences and support each other’s’ goals.

The one-day conference highlights topics and issues relating to women’s leadership in a collegiate setting and beyond. Attendees will also learn ways to improve their leadership skills and how to utilize their personal strengths.

Our conference revolves around women’s leadership as we believe forefront women are underrepresented in many professional fields. The conference allows for participants to connect and engage with a community that supports the success of other women. We believe inspiring one another to succeed empowers one’s own leadership capacity.

We believe diversity is a key to success. We strive to provide an inclusive environment for all members of the community, regardless of gender, age or other identity pieces. Presentations and other activities are selected to provide participants with a variety of options to enhance their conference experiences and aid in their leadership development.

The Women’s Leadership Conference is a collaboration between the Center for Leadership & Service and the Women’s Center.

WLC 2016Get InvolvedParticipant InformationSponsors
Sample Schedule
8:15 – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast & Check-in
9:00 – 9:35 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:45 – 10:35 a.m. Breakout Session 1
10:45 – 11:35 a.m. Breakout Session 2
11:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Luncheon & Keynote Address
1:40 – 2:30 p.m. Breakout Session 3
2:40 – 3:30 p.m. Breakout Session 4
3:40 – 4:30 p.m. Closing Remarks & Networking Resource Fair

Featured Speakers
Keynote Address: Liz Forkin Bohannon

Liz Forkin Bohannon is the founder of Sseko Designs. Sseko is an ethical fashion brand that works to educate and empower women. By providing employment and educational opportunities, Sseko enables women to continue their education and become leaders in their country. In four years, Sseko has grown from three women making sandals together under a mango tree, to an international fashion brand that provides employment, educational opportunities and entrepreneurial training to women throughout East Africa. Using her unlikely story of a journalist-gone-shoe-maker, Liz shares her passion for social enterprise, conscious consumerism, social justice, creative leadership, gender equity and risk-taking. She believes deeply that business is a powerful platform for social change and that girls are our future. She now splits her time between Uganda and Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband Ben run Sseko Designs.

Opening Speaker: Kam Phillips 

kam 2Kam Phillips believes in the power of shaking stigmas and dreaming beyond the status quo. Upon the realization of the unique outlook her experiences in areas such as rodeo and skiing provided, Phillips, a first generation college student, created Dream Outside the Box (DOTB). DOTB mobilizes college students to engage youth in dream deserts in imaginative career and extracurricular experiences to propel children towards higher education while developing leadership skills among students. Since creating the program in 2009, DOTB has expanded to college campuses nationwide, been honored by President Obama at the White House as a “Campus Champion of Change”, featured on mtv and CNN/HLN and created a subscription box service as a social enterprise. Kam has also worked for former Senator Wendy Davis as an Outreach Coordinator and at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as an Innovation fellow. Kam is a Harry S. Truman Scholar from Fort Worth, Texas and a proud alum of the University of Missouri with a degree in Social Work.

Attendees participate in all conference activities including the opening speaker, breakout sessions and the keynote address. Participants will be able to personalize their experience by selecting from a wide range of breakout sessions where they will learn from hand-selected presenters.

Presenters share knowledge, experience and expertise with attendees on subjects ranging from professional development, body positivity, work/life balance, and personal branding. Session slots are limited so please submit a presentation proposal. Proposals open in October.

By providing resources to attendees, we hope that they leave the event feeling more connected and prepared to use what they have learned. Business and organizations can also contribute material resources or participate at our resource fair. If you are interested in reserving a table at the Women’s Leadership Conference resource fair, please call us at 573-882-8585. Space is limited and spots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Prices vary based on your affiliation to the University.

We are so excited you are interested in attending the Women’s Leadership Conference! Your attendance is the first step towards becoming a better leader and a more active citizen.

What can you expect from this conference?
One unique aspect of the conference is you can personalize your schedule based on your interests. Throughout the day, we will have breakout sessions with multiple speakers and you can choose which presentation to attend. Everyone will hear from our opening speaker and our keynote speaker. To see a previous conference schedule, visit the schedule of events page.

Additionally, the conference is a great opportunity to network with your peers and the presenters. Breakout presentations will allow you to learn from successful women leaders in the Columbia community. We encourage you to share your success stories and your future personal or professional goals.

If you are a student at MU, you can receive credit towards your Leadership Certificate through the Center for Leadership & Service.

Who can come to the conference?
Everyone! We invite all students, professionals and community members to attend our conference, including men and those who self-identify.

When is the conference?
The conference is held every March to coincide with Women’s History Month.

Where is the conference held?
Memorial Union, University of Missouri

How do I register?
Online registration will open in early February.

What should I wear?
Business casual is the expected attire for this conference. MU students, faculty and staff can reserve their outfit at Truman’s Closet.

The Women’s Leadership Conference values our relationships with businesses around Missouri through sponsorships and donations. Our conference could not happen without the generosity of sponsors like you! With your help, we are able to provide education and resources to hundreds of women to assist in their professional development and leadership capabilities. Our ability to provide sponsors with marketing opportunities is not limited to the conference. Please review the WLC Giving Guide to learn more.

Click here to contact us about sponsorships
The best part of WLC is the fact that it introduces and encourages the concept of mentorship among women in our community. It’s a forum for learning about what the power of our peers can do for us.Hilary Weaver