Annual Women's Leadership Conference
The annual Women’s Leadership Conference is a keystone of the WLP, and provides a platform for students and alumnae to engage in conversations that examine leadership role models and celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding women and gender minorities. Organized each year in collaboration with alumni from the Mt Vernon College and the Women's Leadership Program, the conference is open to the public so that our colleagues and friends can learn as well. We encourage our students to see the potential agency and
power inside themselves through engagement with successful pathbreakers, visionary leaders, and committed citizens.
Review past conferences, and scroll down to learn about the 2023 event.
23rd Annual Women's Leadership Conference
Celebrating Women in Government
Thursday, April 20, 2023
The Mount Vernon Campus at the George Washington University
|5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
WLP & MVC Alumni Award Reception (invitation only)
Dianne Sherman, MVC 1976, presented by Amy Matthews, MVC 1989
Halea Kerr-Layton, WLP 2015, presented by Rebecca Bizarri, WLP 2015
|6:15 PM - 6:20 PM
Opening Remarks & Introductions:
Director Carly Jordan and current students of the Women's Leadership Program
|6:20 PM - 7:15 PM
Panel Discussion: Celebrating Women in Goverment
7:15 PM - 7:45 PM
|Ames B1 level
2023 Conference Panelists
We invite panelists to share stories of innovative programs, research, community building, and personal experiences that expand our understanding of the world and each other. This year's panelists bring decades of experience across government offices, working on issues in the US and abroad. Read more about these accomplished leaders below.
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Department of State. She has held a number of senior roles that included Ambassador to the Republic of Malta, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of U.S. cyber forces, and Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism. She was Chairwoman for Middle East Area Studies at the prestigious Foreign Service Institute where U.S. diplomats are trained. Earlier in her career, she served in Baghdad, Jakarta, and Cairo before taking on the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of State. Her Middle East assignments include election monitoring in the Gaza Strip and an extraordinary assignment where she actively supported gender equality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission there. She is a strong proponent of excellence through inclusion across organizations and strives to break down barriers to the full participation of women and minorities.
Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley, a Cleveland native, has degrees from The George Washington University and The Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Oman. She has also served on the board of the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art and she sings with the Washington Performing Arts Society.
Dr. Reem M. Ghandour is Director of the Division of Epidemiology within the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Office of Epidemiology and Research. Reem oversees a range of programmatic investments designed to extend and enhance data, analytic, performance measurement and evaluation capacity at both the state and national levels. In this capacity, she has directed the National Survey of Children’s Health since 2013.
Dr. Ghandour holds a Doctorate in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Masters of Public Affairs from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. In 2021 she received the Samuel J. Hayman Service to America Medal for Science and Environment for her work to transform the National Survey of Children’s Health.
A veteran journalist and producer, Yolanda López is the Acting Director of Voice of America. Prior to the appointment, Yolanda served as Director of the Voice of America News Center, where she oversaw all content production and editorial decision-making. She joined Voice of America in 2015 as Latin America Division Director. Under her leadership, the division generated significant growth in audience by expanding media partnerships and affiliations. A native of Barcelona, Spain, she worked for the Spanish-language television network Univision as news executive, producer, and executive producer. Prior to joining Univision, she was an on-air personality for a Telemundo television network affiliate in Texas. López has also worked as a communications and digital media professional in Barcelona. López is the recipient of three Emmy awards – two from the Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and one from the Los Angeles Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.
Dr. Nancy Potok is the CEO of NAPx Consulting and a Visiting Scholar at New York University . She previously served as the Chief Statistician of the United States in the Executive Office of the President, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Census Bureau, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Affairs at the US Department of Commerce, COO of McManis & Monsalve Associates - a data analytics company, and Senior
Vice President of NORC at the University of Chicago. She served as a Commissioner on the US Evidence Based Policy Making Commission, and currently chairs and serves on several Boards of nonprofit organizations and academic institutions dedicated to evidence-based policymaking, mathematics, computer science, and technology. Most recently, she chaired the American Statistical Association Task Force on the quality of the 2020 Census. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a SAGE at the Partnership for Public Service, a former adjunct professor and current Senior Fellow at The George Washington University, and a non-resident Fellow at the Urban Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Arthur
S. Flemming Award, Secretary of Commerce’s Gold Medal, AFERM Enterprise Risk Manager of the Year Award, and The George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned her Ph.D. at the Trachtenburg School of Public Administration and Public Policy at The George Washington University. Dr. Potok was a 1980 Presidential Management Intern at the Department of Transportation.
Michelle supports federal agencies by tackling their talent challenges, specifically in recruiting, DEIA, and employee engagement. Her team designs and executes programming to help agencies attain mission-critical goals. Prior to joining the Partnership, Michelle ran the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. She also spent years working for Deloitte to consult with unemployment agencies across the country and work on business process improvement and IT modernization efforts. She loves to build partnerships, solve problems, and help agencies bring out the best in their people. Michelle holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Relations, Spanish, and History from Syracuse University, and a Masters of Public Affairs from the George Washington University.
The Partnership for Public Service
During the past 21 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to building a better government and a stronger democracy. They work across administrations to help transform the way government works by providing agencies with the data insights they need to succeed, developing effective leaders, inspiring the next generation to public service, facilitating smooth presidential transitions, and recognizing exceptional federal employees. Visit OurPublicService.org and follow @PublicService to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.
Want to learn more about leadership and gender in government spaces? Explore the LeadHERShip Research Series:
- Leadership and Gender Differences in the Federal Government and Beyond (8/25/2022)
- Analysis of Federal Government Leadership Assessment Scores by Gender (10/6/2022)
- Leadership Self-Efficacy and Self-Doubt: A look at Women in the Workplace (11/3/2022)
- Race, Gender and Public Service Leadership: Major Findings from our 360 Data (12/8/2022)