Women in Leadership Club Hosts Japanese Delegation

It isn’t often that one receives an email saying that a group affiliated with the U.S. State Department would like to meet with you.

That’s exactly the request that Julianne Fraker and I received last month.

Women in Leadership greet Japanese delegation for State Department A group of four Japanese delegates was planning a visit to the U.S. as part of the esteemed U.S. Department of State’s International Visitors Leadership Program. The theme of their trip was “Promoting the Next Generation of Women Leaders,” and the delegates wanted to learn how the Graduate School of Management’s Women in Leadership club supported this cause.

“This meeting of the minds helped illuminate the power of conversation.”

As executing officers of the club, Julianne and I turned to our fellow members for help identifying the initiatives and achievements of which we, as a group, were proudest.

Thanks to the work of our dedicated members, both past and present, Women in Leadership has become a successful organization with strong ties to the community here at the school and beyond. Julianne and I were honored, albeit nervous, to represent our club in the company of such an esteemed international audience.

Neither of us had ever participated in a conversation that required interpreters to translate each word, so it took a few minutes to shake the uncertainty that accompanied such an experience. However, once the conversation found its stride, the differences between the 11 women in the room seemed less significant.

The outcome was a collective understanding of the challenges that each of us face in pursuing and promoting female leadership. Despite our demographic and geographic differences, there was power in our shared experiences.

It was only natural that these strong and opinionated women held differing beliefs about how to best take on the issue of gender inequality. However, the point that we all agreed on was the importance of having the conversation.

Although the solution to the challenges faced by female leaders remains unclear, this meeting of the minds helped illuminate the power of conversation.

In recent months, we have seen an uptick in the discussion surrounding gender inequality issues in our country. As leaders in our community, Julianne and I are proud to continue to facilitate this discussion; not only within the confines of our club, but in the presence of our male counterparts, our faculty, UC Davis alumni and, when the opportunity arises, with international delegates.