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Women's Leadership Institute

The Women's Leadership Institute aims to enhance leadership abilities, increase awareness of personal skills, and assist women in developing learning strategies to help them create positive sustainable change in their communities. This FREE conference for UMSL students will address a range of leadership challenges faced by women, including networking, mentorship and career advancement, moving beyond the perceptions of women in the workplace, and thriving in diverse cultures. 

Date: Friday, March 16, 2018

Time: 9:30am-4:00pm

Location: Millennium Student Center, 3rd floor

Please feel free to contact:

Xavier Blackwell, Coordinator of Leadership Education 


Register online by Friday, March 3, 2017. All registrants are invited to attend a Navigating Networking session to prepare for the Networking Lunch at the Institute.  All workshops are from 2:00pm-2:30pm in MSC Career Services (MSC 278).  Please sign up for one workshop--spaces are limited:

Monday, February 13
Thursday, March 3
Monday, March 6

Jennifer Oertli – Entrepreneur & Passionate Advocate for Women

Jennifer Oertli began her career in marketing and creative services, representing high-end commercial creative talent to global brands such as Pepsi, Volvo and Coors.  Jennifer spent eight years as Vice President and Director, Human Resources, at DDB St. Louis advertising, working to craft strategies and programs in organizational design, performance, recognition and communication. During her tenure, the agency was twice recognized as the top DDB office for employee satisfaction in a network of over 200 offices.

 She migrated these skills to Manifest Digital, bridging the foundational policies and cultural practices in their St. Louis and Chicago offices. Here she was able to blend holding company best practices with creative programming to offer leading edge employee solutions.  As Co-Founder and Partner at Radiant CX, a culture and employee engagement consulting firm, Jennifer focused on driving client business objectives by using unique and impactful strategies that create emotional connections back to the organization.

She is a non-traditional professional, preferring real conversations and creative problem solving over strict guidelines and rote policies. This has positioned her to be called on as a trusted business confidante for those in senior positions facing real challenges.  Jennifer graduated with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, with an emphasis on Political Science and Communications. She is a member of the UMSL Business School’s Marketing Advisory Board, leading the development of the school’s first ever mentorship program. She has a passion for entrepreneurial excellence, empowering women to leadership positions, and technology that enables meaningful communication.


 Rachel D’Souza– Siebert, Nonprofit Consulting

 Rachel D'Souza-Siebert received  her Masters in Public Policy Administration from UMSL in 2008. Rachel made the leap from the for-profit to nonprofit sector and spent eight years working in fund development for two local nonprofit organizations. In 2012, the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored Rachel with their inaugural Outstanding Young Professional Award. After the birth of her second child in 2015, Rachel founded Gladiator Consulting.  Her consultancy provides fund development, strategic planning and executive coach to start-up and small nonprofits with a vision of systems-level change.  As a committed community volunteer, Rachel maintains involvement with organizations such as the American Heart Association, the Children’s Home Society of Missouri, and the Women’s Giving Circle at University of Missouri St. Louis. Rachel is a St. Louis native and resides in the Shaw neighborhood with her husband Brian, two small children and a westie named Mowgli. 


Brittany Harris, Social Justice/Diversity & Inclusion

 Brittany Harris is the Training & Development Specialist in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis. Brittany is a social justice educator and advocate with extensive facilitation/curriculum development history as well as experience supporting underrepresented and marginalized communities. Before joining the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, Brittany supported the University of Pennsylvania community as Associate Director for the Penn Women's Center. She completed her B.S. in Corporate Communication with a minor in Africana Studies from the University of Central Missouri and her M.Ed. in Adult & Higher Education, Student Affairs Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Notably, Brittany co-authored Chapter 9, Moving from Social Justice to Social Agency: Keeping it messy with University of Oklahoma Brian E. & Sandra O'Brien Presidential Professor, Adult and Higher Education Program Area Coordinator, Dr. Penny Pasque for the publication "Reflection in Action: A handbook for student affairs faculty and staff". Brittany’s research and professional interests include intersectionality, black feminist thought, gender & sexuality studies, dismantling systems of oppression, and empowering queer communities of color.

Amy Hunter, Education, Health Care, Corporate, Non-Profit 

Recently, Amy Hunter joined Children’s Hospital in St. Louis Missouri.  As the Manager of Diversity and Inclusion her responsibilities include understanding and addressing health disparities, training, strategy and integration planning for the hospital. Previously, Hunter was the Director of Racial Justice for the YWCA of Metro St. Louis. Her role included ensuring the mission of YWCA was embedded into every internal program and department while responding to the training, presentation and collaborative community building needs of the region. This responsibility heightened in the wake of Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson and the ensuing racial tension.  Hunter’s career includes corporate, nonprofit, education and now healthcare.  Her strategic lens along with her messages of truth and transformation are balanced with the recognition of the reality and harm of oppression and the need for organizations and communities to heal. These messages resonated far beyond the St. Louis area. Hunter has been seen on CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS, and interviewed by NPR and a host of print media publications.  She has published works and presented on issues of race and social justice throughout the United States and globally. “Lucky Zip Codes”, Amy Hunter’s TEDx Talk, incorporates the tenets of her beliefs. While working to improve social justice Hunter is also pursuing a PhD in Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis.  


Each breakout session is 50 minutes long and broken into three main themes:

  1. Navigating Personal & Professional Life breakout sessions can be found here
  2. Navigating Perceptions of Women in the Workforce breakout sessions can be found here
  3. Navigating Cultural Competencies breakout sessions can be found here

9:30 AM- 10:00 AM


MSC 3rd Floor

10:00 AM-10:50 AM

Welcome & Keynote

Century Rooms

11:00 AM-11:50 AM

Breakout Session #1: Navigating Personal & Professional Life

Various Locations

12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Networking Lunch

MSC 3rd Floor

1:00 PM- 1:50 PM

Breakout Session #2: Navigating Perceptions of Women in the Workforce

Various Locations

2:00 PM -2:50 PM

Breakout Session #3: Navigating Cultural Competenices 

Various Location

3:00 PM-4:00 PM

Closing Panel with Q & A

Century Rooms

A special thanks to UMSL's Women's Giving Circle for sponsoring the 2017 Women's Leadership Institute. 

Click here to see the 2015 sponsors. 

Check out a few of the presentations highlighted at the 2015 Women's Leadership Institute: