Women’s History Month: Female Park leaders give advice

Skyler Jensen

Every March, the country looks back at female accomplishments during Women’s History Month. In honor of that, two leaders at Park University give their advice to young women who want to be leaders in their own field.

Provost Michelle Myers, Ed.D., encourages students to succeed by first doing the work to earn good grade, then rounding out their character by participating in community service. She also recommends developing networking skills, so you can gain recognition and start building connections for future careers.

To build those networking skills, she said, “Students could easily reach out to leaders here on this campus, and potentially others, but we might be able to open some doors for you. If you wanted to have a conversation with a leader, we could certainly make that happen.”

Dr. Myers also advises building skills like collaboration and critical thinking, which are skills she says are essential in the workplace.

Ashley Jones, head coach of the Park Esports team, advises young women going into male-dominated spaces to find their people. On the hard days, she says you need people to rely on and to support you.

“If people say something directly to you, try your best to educate them,” she added. Whether it’s a sexist remark or someone making a pass, speak up and let them know why that isn’t okay. Also, speak up if you hear it said to other people. By educating others, society can grow and hopefully move past those types of comments.

Jones also said that for women who want to be leaders, “There’s no starting too small.” She recommends getting involved on campus and taking on a leadership position in order to start building those skills.

When looking for leaders in university administration, it seems like there are an overwhelming number of men in those positions compared to women.

Jones, who is one of the three female head coaches on campus, feels that it is important to create an environment that people are going to feel safe in regardless of their gender.

“I think it’s just lot of visibility that needs to happen within the space,” she added.

Jones, who is also the vice chair for the Kansas City Esports Coalition and the chair elect for the Board of Directors for the National Association of Collegiate Esports, thinks that it is important for women to see women in those leadership positions, so they know that it is possible for them, too.

Dr. Myers agreed that this lack of diversity is an issue for higher education.

“We need to just do the best we can and have a strategic plan for increasing the overall diversity on all college campuses and especially in leadership roles in higher education,” she said.

She also added that for those minority in leadership roles, it is important to try to reach back and help those working up the ladder in that field.