Program Examines Role of Women in Leadership


Women in the C-suite, work-life balance and leadership are just some of the topics that will be addressed at the Darden School of Business’ fifth annual Women’s Leadership Week, sponsored by the Darden chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA).

The four-day program kicked off today with Leadership Speaker Tricia Griffith, group president of claims of the auto insurance company Progressive. The mother of six, Griffith has served Progressive in various managerial roles, including Chief Human Resources Officer, since 1988. During her talk, she listed some of the rules by which she leads. Griffith-Progressive.jpg

“As a leader, it’s important to have your actions match your words,” she said. “Involve as many people as you can in the decisions that affect them. Encourage diversity of thought. Debate. … And when you have a great team, know when to step aside and let others lead.”

The presentation launched a series of NAWMBA-sponsored events that will occur this week at Darden to bring together members of the Darden and broader University of Virginia community for a candid discussion about leadership and management issues dealing with gender and the role of women leaders in business.

Darden Professor R. Edward Freeman will lead a community case discussion on Wednesday entitled "Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership." Professor Peter Rodriguez, associate dean of international affairs, will host a “Women in Leadership” reception and fireside chat on Thursday, February 18.

Friday’s main event is a charity auction: NAWMBA’s 20th annual SHE Auction to benefit the Charlottesville-based Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE). SHE provides a variety of services aimed at empowering victims of domestic violence and creating a community of support.

The Red Carpet Gala will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville. More than 300 people from across the Darden, U.Va. and Charlottesville communities are expected to attend.

Among the items to be auctioned are vacation stays in mountain and beach homes, dinners with Darden professors and 12 photographs from the Darden Art Project, or DART. An annual, rotating photography exhibit launched in 2009, DART selects and displays global travel images of Darden alumni, faculty, students and staff.

“We hope to raise around $20,000,” said Second Year student Amanda Foster, who serves as vice president of the auction for NAWMBA. “We are one of the shelter’s primary fundraisers.”

Listen to the Darden BusinessCast in which Amanda Foster discusses the SHE Auction.

Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business improves society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs.

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