By Callie Morrison
To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives began an alumna series to facilitate discussions with Samford University alumni. The series includes Director of Diversity Education and Development Jenee Spencer speaking with multiple Samford alumni and allowing them to highlight their Samford experiences.
Every Wednesday in March, Spencer is joined by a different Samford alumna to discuss how Samford University has prepared them for life beyond the Quad.
There are many varying perspectives on what great leadership is, the traits necessary for being an effective leader and how to build an inclusive atmosphere. Representation of female leaders brings a unique perspective to leadership roles, which is often overlooked.
The Woman to Woman series acknowledges the women on Samford’s campus and the opportunities they have made for themselves and others.
Cumberland School of Law graduate Ruby Villalobos Adams was the series’ first guest on March 3.
Adams shared her Samford experiences and how her leadership roles on campus prepared her to open her own law firm.
“I think one of the ways that Samford prepared me for where I am now is by encouraging me and giving me a network that lasts a lifetime,” Adams said. “The connections I made extends beyond graduation.”
On March 10, guest Sierra Outerbridge shared her experiences at Samford as a woman of color.
“Surrounding myself with other women of color who are also in positions of power is something I sought through my time at Samford. Having that model in my life helped me realize that my perspective and opinions as a woman of color have value,” Outerbridge said.
Outerbridge explained how she spent her time at Samford learning that it was a safe space to learn and grow. She felt confident to apply what she observed to her career.
Making community connections increases opportunities for students to create relationships with fellow student leaders. The sense of belonging allows organizations to thrive.
“One of the things that drew me in so quickly to Samford was how much emphasis we place on relationships,” Spencer said.
Spencer explained how her passion is giving students the tools they need to succeed. She said she is passionate about developing and empowering students.
“I feel so appreciative of the women at Samford who have helped me impact this community,” Spencer said.
The Woman to Woman series is not necessarily breaking barriers of women leaders. Those barriers have already been broken. Rather, this series is highlighting the importance of female leadership and celebrating the women in these positions on Samford’s campus.
As singular as the women themselves, highlighting these roles allows one to explore the possibilities brought out by diversity in positions of authority. As Women’s History Month is observed, we remember that what were once considered non-traditional roles for women are now normalized and celebrated.
All students, staff and alumni are encouraged to join Spencer and the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives each week at 6 p.m. on Samford Diverse Facebook live.
The Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives is continuing to celebrate Women’s History Month for the remainder of March. To find more information on events or ways to connect, visit samford.edu/go/diversity.