Fostering Women’s Leadership in Geneva and Beyond – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fostering Women’s Leadership in Geneva and Beyond

This semester, the Leadership League of Women (LLOW), founded by Virginia DeWees’16 last year, continues to foster relationships between William Smith and Geneva High School students through a program of mentorship, collaboration and community outreach. Though newly launched, the group is growing both in size and impact.

Sponsored by the William Smith Deans Office and the Laurel Society, the honor society for William Smith sophomores and juniors, LLOW has been mounting a vigorous and successful campaign to recruit members, sending letters to the Geneva City School District, utilizing the ConnectED initiative and advertising on social media. Their efforts brought together a group of 70 individuals for the first “Meet and Greet” of the fall semester.

“We were blown away by the turnout and the support from the community,” says DeWees. “I envision that LLOW in the future will be a highly recognizable and respected organization grounded in the Geneva community. I hope that more young women, whether they are Laurels or Geneva High School female-identifying students, will become members of the LLOW community. We want all to achieve their goals and dreams as successful women leaders and that these goals will become accomplished through their involvement in our organization.”

As LLOW continues its growth and mission to empower its members, they are engaging in the community, particularly on the issues around which the group was formed.

During the HWS Day of Service, members of LLOW toured of the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. “Recognizing and celebrating our rights as women is an important goal for LLOW, so we were very grateful to have had the opportunity to tour this historical site,” DeWees says.

In the third event of the semester, “Yoga and Yogurt,” LLOW hosted an hour-long yoga lesson with local yoga instructor Evangeline Jones, from Om House of Yoga.

“This was an awesome event for us because we talked about ways to de-stress and maintain positivity which is an important skill for leaders,” DeWees says.

In November, LLOW participated in a networking reception with the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), the only national organization with the sole focus of preparing college women for leadership in the public policy arena. The PLEN national board, chaired by William Smith Associate Dean Lisa Kaenzig, recently gathered on the HWS campus for their fall meeting.

LLOW’s final event of the semester, “Empowerment through Movement,” will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, and will be led by Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson. The self-esteem building workshop will be followed by a movement-based workshop led by Assistant Professor of Theater Heather May, and a performance from her company, Mosaic NY.

“The vibes have been amazing at every event we have done this semester,” DeWees reflects. “The young women come to each program so excited to see each other and we are truly creating a harmonious community, which is so powerful to see manifest.”