SPOKANE, Wash. – Nineteen women from universities in eastern Washington are participating in the National Education for Women (NEW) Leadership Institute, July 11 – July 16, at Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane. The program’s mission locally and across the nation is to develop a new generation of women leaders and public servants.

The six‑day residential, nonpartisan training kicks off July 11 with a free networking and keynote event, open to media and the public. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., with the keynote at 7 p.m.—both events take place in Health Sciences Building 110‑A‑D.

This year’s NEW Leadership keynote speaker is Lisa Brown, current director of Washington State Department of Commerce and former WSU Health Sciences chancellor. She is also the former senate majority leader and recipient of Women in Business Leadership and WSU Lifetime Achievement awards.

Brown will speak on the empowerment of women, the value of civic engagement and the importance of having women in positions of leadership. Brown’s experience in opportunity development will inspire those in the room and promote the importance of mutual support and sponsorship toward women in leadership positions.

“We are proud to have Brown as our keynote as she is certainly an influential female leader who is actively working to build bonds and break barriers for women,” said Brajee Green, NEW Leadership coordinator for WSU Health Sciences Spokane.

The program is organized by WSU Health Sciences Spokane Office of Community Engagement and Service Learning and welcomes students of all majors. Participants hone their skills by engaging with women leaders in politics and civic organizations, being mentored by female faculty-in-residence and participating in a hands‑on political action project related to women’s issues.

While the curriculum largely follows that developed by the institute’s founder, Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, WSU Health Sciences Spokane tailors the workshops to address the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles in Washington. College women are taught the importance of translating individual action into public policy and learn about the connection between politics and community.

“By the conclusion of this program the participants will see themselves as leaders and know the value of networking and asking questions,” said Veronica Puente, assistant director for Community Engagement and Service learning at WSU Health Sciences Spokane. “They will discover the power of their voices.”

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