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Masten attends leadership conference

Friday, September 21, 2007  
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By Tracy Corcoran

Senior, Victoria Masten, was the first Oklahoma Christian University woman to attend the five day National Education of Women, (N.E.W.) Leadership conference. The conference took place last May.

The N.E.W. Leadership conference is a five-day seminar held on the campus of The University of Oklahoma in Norman. Sponsored by the Carl Albert Center of Research, the main goal of the conference is to encourage women to become more active in politics and to educate them on the importance of women leaders.

“It is such a great experience because you get to meet face to face with women who have already done what you want to do. You’re meeting the women who have made the path just a little bit easier and who have forged ahead in the political realm,” Masten said.

The conference included diversity and leadership training as well as informational talks about law school or graduate school. The ladies heard from lobbyists, lawyers and senators.

“It is so informational and it really gives you a realistic outlook of women in the work place and politics. You get to spend five days with people who feel the same way you do,” Masten said. “We were all so different, but we all have a lot of the same goals.”

The 30 women attending the conference were able to meet and talk to numerous women leaders from Oklahoma including Cindy Rosenthal, Mayor of Norman; Lieutenant Governor, Jari Askins; Giovanni Perry, lawyer and servant to Governor Henry on his Advisory Council on Latin American and Hispanic Affairs; and Julie Daniels, former mayor of Bartlesville and City Council member.

Cami Agan, professor of language and literature, recommended Masten to attend the conference for her unique social skills and her leadership abilities.

“Her interpersonal skills are extremely honed. She’s able to talk not only to majors and not only in the class about intellectual issues, but she’s also, for example, able to engage a person in an airport line,” Agan said. “She can look them in the eye, shake their hand, introduce herself and make them feel instantly comfortable.”

The competitive application process includes three to four essays, writing a personal background and two letters of recommendation.

“It’s a real honor to be accepted,” Agan said. “There were only 30 [chosen] out of the entire state, and she was one of them. That tells me that the review of the application was extremely rigorous.”

One important thing Masten learned at the conference was how great the potential impact of women in political roles can be.

“I learned the value of women leadership and that even though women have made a lot of progress, it’s still a struggle and something that’s worth fighting for,” Masten said.

The N.E.W. Leadership conference not only educated Masten, but also created networking opportunities. She is still in contact with the leaders she met at the conference. The conference also gave Masten an advantage in her future career because it is recognized as something of great prestige. 

Numerous networking opportunities now are available for Masten as a result of the conference.

While at the conference, Masten acquired new goals and was encouraged further to achieve her old ones.

“It’s given me a different perspective, and it really empowered me to want to get out into the world, and it gave me strength to know that I can reach my goals. It gave me new goals, too,” Masten said. “I never thought about going into elective positions until I went to the conference.”

“I think in the way she speaks to people and the way she treats other people, she could only represent OC well. Her enthusiasm is really infectious, and I think it’s my hope that people who meet her will associate that kind of enthusiasm with our department and with OC,” Agan said.

Masten encourages any woman who would one day like to be a political leader to attend the N.E.W. Leadership conference. She would love to see more women from Oklahoma Christian represented there.

“I really hope that her success will encourage other women to ask about this conference or to take it seriously when their professor asks them if they’re interested in going,” Agan said.


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