The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded more than $146,000 to the Center for the Education of Women (CEW) to support the Michigan Womens Leadership Project, a joint endeavor of CEW and the Michigan Womens Foundation.
The Project provides leadership training to directors of private non-profit and public agencies serving women and girls in Michigan, and data collection on womens organizations and leadership.
Women are often drawn to work in overburdened and underfunded organizations that focus on social change and the empowerment of women, says CEW Director Carol S. Hollenshead. The leaders of such organizations frequently have grown up with the organization, or have made the transition to leadership after having been service providers in the organization.
Many of these women work miracles in their organizations with very few resources, adds Susan Kaufmann, CEW associate director. But they would like assistance in enhancing their leadership and management skills. The Leadership Project is a unique opportunity for them to learn more about womens leadership strategies, and the stresses and strengths in organizations serving women and girls.
Womens organizations are heir to unique tensions. Many have a history that includes mistrust of leaders and experimentation with collective decision-making. And even when these factors are not directly present in an organization, they are still so much a part of the womens movement that they shape the context in which nearly all womens organizations operate, Hollenshead explains.
Participants in the project attend three three-day training sessions spread over one year. They examine the dynamics of leadership in a womens organization and evaluate their own leadership and management styles. They are taught skills that increase their effectiveness and are encouraged to network with fellow participants.
The Project is in its second year. In 199394, 15 participants attended the training sessions. Another 15 will be invited to attend in 199495.