Maria Ammar (l-r), Celia Duarte and Kristi Grooms
In June, three staff and faculty members from SLCC attended a national conference that helps women at community colleges learn how they can advance their institutions and individual careers.
Celia Duarte, Kristi Grooms and Maria Ammar proudly represented the college at the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) 2019 LEADERS Institute. Celia, SLCC’s assistant registrar in the office of Professional Development Student Record Management, Kristi, an assistant professor in Business Management and Maria, associate dean in ESL for the School of Applied Technology and Technical Specialties, networked with female college leaders and learned about topics ranging from college funding sources to promoting inclusivity.
In addition to intensive learning, Institute attendees have meaningful conversations that focus on the American Association of Community College core competencies, which include organizational strategies, communication, collaboration, community college advocacy, and institutional finance, research, fundraising and resource management. Presenters at the Institute included female community college leaders as well as leading consultants in communications and career and financial services.
“I really enjoyed learning about the experiences of other female leaders, the challenges they face and their successes. This inspired and motivated me to challenge myself in my own career,” says Celia.
Kristi was most excited about the knowledge she gained regarding the financing of community colleges. “I loved learning about the different ways a college is funded and the restrictions and opportunities that come with each one of those sources.”
All three say they came away from the event with a greater respect for SLCC and the impact they each could make at the college in the future. “The information we learned helps us understand more about the innovations, experiences and best practices of other community colleges and how those practices can improve SLCC,” says Maria.
Since the conference, Celia, Kristi and Maria have been excited to share what they’ve learned with other SLCC employees. They are currently making plans to provide a professional development program at the college based on their LEADERS Institute training.
The LEADERS Institute is annual event designed to prepare women leaders at the nation’s community colleges for career opportunities, career advancement and executive-level leadership positions, including the presidency. Each year, President Huftalin selects the college’s participants for the Institute based on the work they are currently involved in at SLCC.