Women in Leadship Come to Allen


The 1st Annual Panel on Women in Leadership.

Sondra Owings-Priest, Student Reporter

Last month, students and faculty were invited to join Student Life in the Stadler Conference Room for the 1st Annual Panel on Women in Leadership.

Four women were on the panel and are in various forms of leadership including current or formal elected officials, or leaders in the Iola community and at Allen Community College. The panel was asked numerous questions about their roles and any challenges they faced when making it to the top.

The women present that day was Jenny Spillman: chairperson of the Allen Board of Trustees, Nancy Ford: A formally elected official of the Iola City Council for 12 years and is now a business owner on track to retirement, Gina Honeycutt: Executive Director of Iola Housing, and Cynthia Jacobson: Director of Student Affairs at Allen Community College. Regardless of their position now, the four woman were all chosen to be on the panel because they all have a connection to Allen Community College.

Following introductions, Student Life started with their first question for the Panel: “Who inspired you to be a leader and why?”

Spillman started the answering portion and said it was her husband who inspired her and she wanted to “be a voice for people who weren’t heard”. Ford followed and mentioned that her daughters were the fire to her inspiration. Ford said she wanted to “be a strong role model for [them]”. Honeycutt said her grandmother was her inspiration and said her grandmother would always tell her that there was no excuse to not do great things, regardless of gender or race. Jacobson said her mother who owned her own business parked her inspiration to become a leader.

Another question that was asked was: “What advice would you give to the next generation?”

Jacobson started the answer portion by saying it is still okay to like things that follow the gender norm. For example, if a woman likes cooking she should continue her passion even though it goes towards the female stereotype of women belonging in the kitchen. She also said to let one’s interest affect what others think of them. Spillman commented that the next generation should always use their voice to make themselves heard. Ford said to keep networking and to never leave a public event without introducing yourself to someone new.

These women talked about numerous topics and were on a successful panel. They will continue to make their impact in leadership and encourage others to do as well.