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Panel highlights LU’s women leaders

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Panelists from the "Tea and Talk: Women in Leadership" event met with students following the panel, March 28. The panelists rotated through the small groups. Here, LU first lady, in red, Dimples Jones and Shannon Figueroa listen to a student. UP photo by Marquis Moore.

The Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations hosted “Tea and Talk: Women in Leadership,” a panel event consisting of 12 women from across the Lamar University faculty and staff, on March 28, in the Setzer Student Center Ballroom.

“‘Tea and Talk: Women in Leadership’ is held to allow young women to learn from leaders as they share their experiences throughout their lives,” Wilma Jackson, director of diversity and inclusion, said.

Panelists offered encouragement to students, with a consistent theme being taking risks and overcoming obstacles.

“Jump in and take the risk,” Belinda Lopez, interim chair of counseling, said. “Do as much as you can to ensure your success. To overcome a barrier, you have to have that drive. Don’t let anything take you down.”

Leadership is more than a name, Lekeitha Morris, associate professor of speech and hearing sciences, said.

“Title doesn’t make you a leader,” she said. “The way you think and grow gives you the right to be a leader.”

Following the panel discussion, the women rotated through tables to meet and talk with small groups of students.

“Find your superpower and use it,” Jeanette Fresne, interim chair of music, said.

Kakoli Bandyopadhyay, associate dean of undergraduate studies and administration and professor of management information systems, encouraged students to always give one hundred percent.

Shannon Figueroa, director of alumni affairs, said she tries to lead by example.

“When you collaborate with a team, as I do in alumni affairs, you achieve more,” she said. “When working, I try to remind them of their worth. No one can make you inferior without your consent.”

Lamar University first lady Stacy Taylor said it is important women build strong relationships.

“Don’t be afraid to find someone to walk with you as a partner,” she said.

The panelist also included, Rebecca Boone, chair of history and university studies; Ginger Gummelt, director of social work; Theresa Hefner-Babb, assistant provost for accreditation and assessment; Dimples Jones, director of TEA compliance, field placement/certification & testing; Helen Lou, associated director- Research Center for Midstream Management; and Lynn Mauer, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Ashley Dockens, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Enhancement and director of the doctor of audiology program, said she has a simple mantra she draws on for motivation.

“It’s all about the work,” she said.

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The panelists for "Tea and Talk: Women in Leadership," pose for a photo in the Setzer Student Center Ballroom, March 28. UP photo by Marquis Moore


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