What’s A Guy Like Me Doing In A Place Like This?

A Man’s Take on the Women’s Leadership Conference

My initial thought when presented with the opportunity to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference was: Is this really necessary?  I mean, why would I, a 38-year old male in higher education, care to attend a conference on women’s leadership? As far as I can see, in my industry, there’s a seemingly equal male/female spread across departments, and vertically through the echelons of rank. My social media feeds are filled with women in roles that mirror their male counterparts, the media routinely covers growing equality of women in the workplace, regional publications are always highlighting successful women in their area, and didn’t #metoo just hit a grand slam? But, OK, I’d be open to whatever this experience was going to bring to me.

In the week leading up to my departure, I had a series of conversations when the WLC came up, and I got the first clue that I might not be seeing the whole picture. While leaving a meeting, I was accompanied by several female counterparts, and we discussed our calendars for the coming week. Upon hearing that I’d be heading to the WLC, they both looked at me in apparent shock— and excitement—before exclaiming, “That is so awesome that you’re attending a leadership conference for women!” followed by a “Good for you, Matt!” I even got an “atta boy” from my sister when she saw my LinkedIn post announcing that I’d be attending.

I mean, did I miss something? Click here to read more.

The blog above is by Matt Mylott,  the Interim Director of the Swain Center for Executive Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.