Chancellor Henry, UVA’s Sullivan talk leadership

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise welcomed UVA president Teresa Sullivan to Saturday’s Women in Leadership from Social Scientist to President event.

Sullivan joined UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna Henry before students to discuss issues facing women in public and business leadership positions.

The forum was sponsored by the Office of Compliance, Conduct & Inclusion, Women in STREAM, the Office of Student Leadership, and the Women’s Leadership & Concerns Faculty Committee.

Sullivan, who will retire next year from the University presidency, spoke about being a collaborative leader from her point of view at UVA.  She talked about leading by example and being a leader from up, down and sideways.

“Rely on your values,” Sullivan told the audience. “Do the right thing, not the popular one.”  She also spoke briefly about her time at UVA as president.

Following Sullivan’s address, she and Chancellor Henry sat on stage and answered questions from students and faculty.

This fireside Q&A is possibly the last one with Sullivan who will leave office after the end of her contract at the end of this academic year. Each person asked specific questions about each woman’s career, as well as their stance on certain college-related issues.

A question from UVa-Wise student Josi Stidham sparked some laughs and advice from Sullivan and Henry. Stidham asked them what advice they would give themselves at the age of 21.

Sullivan replied with a simple answer, saying, “don’t worry so much.” She said she would tell herself to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that came her way.

Henry also had a simple answer; “It’ll be okay”, after she told students, faculty, and staff about the time she questioned some decisions in her life at the young age of 25.

“I thought I was old then,” Henry said.

Both women also shared their most rewarding and most challenging experiences.  Students may not have many opportunities to ask questions to such powerful women in education but, on Saturday, they knew exactly what to say.

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