“Never give up, keep climbing and stay focused.”
Three seemingly simple pieces of advice, but words that are a testament to the many years of dedication to women and higher education by University of South Florida (USF) System President Judy Genshaft. Genshaft received the 2017 Donna Shavlik Award at last night’s Women’s Leadership Dinner at ACE2017.
A longtime friend of Donna Shavlik, the former director of ACE’s Office of Women (now part of ACE Leadership), Genshaft said she was honored to receive the award from someone she considers a mentor and a friend from the beginning of her career.
Early in her career as an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, Genshaft was disheartened to learn there was only one other woman in her department. So she proactively sought out mentorship, and was told to complete her full credentials so that she would always be as good and qualified as anyone else. She also was urged to join committees and get involved in administration, and not just in trivial matters such as parking or traffic for the sake of participation. To really make a difference and grow as a professional and leader, she stressed the need to stay focused on seeking meaningful opportunities.
Through her many years of work at USF and beyond, Genshaft is hopeful that someday soon, women can just be known as leaders, not “women leaders.”
But while she stressed that women must not lose sight of their dreams, she ended her speech reminding the audience of the importance of giving back to other women, embodying the true essence of the Shavlik award. She said, “the first third of your life is for learning; the second third is for earning; and the third part is for returning.”
As we like to say here at ACE, there is no better time than now to make sure we are #movingtheneedle in women’s leadership.