Women’s Empowerment Symposium 2017; Cultivating Confidence and Courage at Champlain College

By Kate Shuler, ‘17 // Preferred Pronouns: She, Her // Business Administration and Management & Innovation double major

The Women’s Empowerment Initiative (WEI) at Champlain College started in 2015, with the aim to cultivate confidence and courage by fostering the achievements of women on campus. Through the Initiative, Champlain College community members strive to empower current and future leaders and provide learning, networking and recognition opportunities for students, staff and faculty.

Since that first year, the WEI has hosted an annual Women’s Empowerment Symposium each spring to recognize the accomplishments of women in the Champlain community and to constructively discuss concerns of equality in our world and on our campus. The event traditionally includes a panel discussion, recognition event and keynote speaker.

This year’s Symposium is being held Monday, April 3rd, 2017, and is co-hosted by the Champlain College Women’s and Gender Center. This year’s theme is Being Brave: Cultivating Our Confidence and Courage. The event will kick off with a recognition breakfast at which members of the College community who have been champions for women’s empowerment in our community will be recognized and appreciated. See full schedule of the day’s events here.

This year’s WEI Keynote Speaker, Alexia Vernon.

The Welcome and Keynote Address will be given this year by Alexia Vernon, Founder of Influencer Academy. (Click here to learn more about why CNN, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the White House, and others are talking about Alexia, and the experience and perspective she will bring to this year’s Women’s Empowerment Symposium!)

The keynote will be followed by our Many Faces of Feminism Panel, an all-student panel poised to explore and discuss how they embody (or choose not to embody) feminism and what they see for the future of feminism.



Workshops are scheduled to run for two hours each, and participants are invited to choose between one of four hands-on workshop sessions:

Self Defense for Women by Women

*Limited to 20 participants, led by The Safety Team

Mansplaining by Dan & Luke: Men as Allies

Led by Luke Lewis and Dan O’Hara

Speak Up & Negotiate Your Worth

Led by keynote Alexia Vernon

Using Entertainment to Change Public Opinion

Led by Population Media Center

Pre-registration is highly appreciated, and encouraged especially for those wishing to be part of the Self-Defense workshop led by The Safety Team!*

The Symposium will wrap up with a Poetry Slam hosted by award-winning youth poetry slam team Muslim Girls Making Change. Student, faculty and staff participation is encouraged!

The events are are LEADcredit eligible. (LEAD 102: all events; LEAD 108, 206, 306: Speak Up and Negotiate Your Worth workshop; LEAD 301: Keynote & student panel).

A Note About Women’s Empowerment

Everyone defines “women’s empowerment” a little differently, but I think many of us would agree that it’s a topic worth talking about! When we asked current Champlain College community members what women’s empowerment means to them, we got some great answers—click here to see the video!

Take a minute to also watch a video panel of current students sharing their thoughts about women’s empowerment in student leadership and in specific programs, as part of our Google Hangouts series!

Women’s empowerment is for and by all of us, and the opportunities to get involved, learn more and make a difference are endless. Here’s to cultivating our confidence and courage, and being brave!

Wondering how you can get involved with women’s empowerment at Champlain College the other 364 days a year?

Dean Laurel Bongiorno speaking with Professor Jennifer Vincent and Meghan Driscoll ’17 at Stiller Women in Business Fall Networking Event.

Here are a few ways:

This year’s Symposium will be followed up on Tuesday evening, April 4th, by the Stiller Women in Business’ Semi-Annual Networking Event, co-hosted by Shades of Me, Women and Diversity in Gaming, and Women in ITS. All are welcome; RSVP here!

Check out the Women and Gender Center’s ongoing calendar of events!

Learn more about our Office of Diversity and Inclusion and all of the ways they are involved on campus!



Reach out to our Career Collaborative to find out more about internship or project opportunities with women-owned, operated and founded organizations in Burlington, or to connect with female-identifying alumni in your areas of interest!

Be involved in planning next year’s Women’s Empowerment Symposium! For more information or to get involved, email WEI@champlain.edu.