Explore the diverse workshops offered at this year's LeadHERship Conference

2023 LeadHERship Conference Workshops

Workshop Block 1 [10-10:50 AM]

Supporting Yourself and Other Women in STEM [Babbio 104]

This workshop will give practical tips for succeeding in male-dominated STEM fields, while hopefully keeping your sense of humor intact. We will discuss responses to microaggressions and macroaggressions, as well as the power of microaffirmations.  Come learn tips for dealing with bias and helping support other people through challenging situations. There will be ample time for Q&A. 

Eve Riskin Headshot

Eve Riskin received her BS from M.I.T. and her graduate degrees in EE from Stanford. She was Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Washington, where she led their ADVANCE program for women faculty in STEM and founded their STARS program for students from limited-income backgrounds. At Stevens, she is Dean of Undergraduate Education and a professor in SES. 

Theme: Personal & Professional Empowerment  

Competing as Trans: How Science and Sports Agencies Decide What Gender Is [Babbio 122]

As transgender athletes fight to compete in every level from high school to the Olympics, governing sports agencies look to science for answers, and science looks to biology. This session will discuss how social norms are reflected in how science defines sex and gender, using hormones, chromosomes, and genitals to uphold binary gender divides. 

Amber Benezra Headshot

Dr. Amber Benezra is a sociocultural anthropologist. Her research investigates the human microbiome in collaboration with scientists, developing an interdisciplinary approach to global health problems. She is an Assistant Professor in Science and Technology Studies at Stevens. 

Theme: Justice & Equity in STEM  

Inclusivity and Culture: The Invisible Connection [Babbio 219]

Cultural differences hide under deep-level diversity, where the traits are not as visible as others like age or race. Simple aspects like silence, conflict resolution, humor, opposing the boss’s idea or even work-life balance are perceived differently by employees from different cultural backgrounds. While interesting concepts like high-context / low-context cultures or Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions open our eyes to these nuances, it is often hard to recognize these differences. A few simple changes brought about by a mindful leader can go far in creating cultural inclusivity. 

Ratika Gore Headshot

Ratika Gore has 25+ years of global experience in academia and in running her own companies in Singapore, Belgium, Philippines, USA and India. Before joining Stevens, she worked as a top-rated faculty in top Business School in India and held leadership roles. She has presented her research at conferences in Europe and India. A consultant and coach, she sits on advisory boards of NGOs and startups. She has spoken at forums in Australia, Singapore and India and writes in magazines. 

Theme: Reimagining Gender & Leadership 

Navigating the War Between Women, Fashion, and Business [Babbio 220]

Fashion is the most potent accessory for building a business empire. The unique and prolific (yet often dismissed) perspective of women could revolutionize the industry. For the people who choose to invest in their look, it's the key to unlocking the potential of a well-crafted solution. Recognition of women's significant influence in fashion is the door towards boundless innovation, transforming the future of how clothes are distributed, developed, and popularized. 

Yogini Borgaonkar Headshot

Yogini Borgaonkar is a designer who is dedicated to merging artistry, technology, and psychology to craft compelling narratives, uplift communities, and challenge paradigms. Currently a graduate student at Stevens Institute of Technology, Yogini develops next-generation user experiences, branding, and marketing strategies for startups and entrepreneurs nationwide. 

Theme: Trending Topics  

Speaking with Confidence [Babbio 221]

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn body-based grounding, breathing and mindfulness techniques to support confident professional speaking. By approaching speaking through a values-oriented lens, participants will learn to access support from within in order to have a greater impact through their communication. They will have the opportunity to test out techniques they’ve learned and receive instructor feedback. 

Emily Brown Headshot

Emily Brown is an actor, musician and the founder of OnVoice Coaching & Consulting, where she supports visionary leaders in getting out of their heads and into their bodies so that they can cultivate authority and speak with confidence. As a performer, you can find Emily playing her original music all over New York City. Visit www.emilyjeannebrown.com to learn more. 

Theme: Personal & Professional Empowerment  

Self-Leadership & Growth in the Energy Industry [Babbio 310]

The workshop will cover the energy industry and its role in the global economy. We will discuss energy sources and production, environmental impact, and sustainability efforts. We will focus on energy efficiency and the role of STEM education for a sustainable future, technological advancement, and innovation. We will discuss careers in the energy industry, roles and sectors, international opportunities, government initiatives, policy, educational pathways and training, and market trends. 

Pradnya Joglekar Headshot

Pradnya Joglekar has 20 plus years in Design & Construction, across diverse domains comprising energy, utility, retail, and more. At PSEG, she oversees operations of Energy Efficiency programs for commercial and industrial customers. Pradnya serves as the President of the ASPIRE business resource group and is the NJ Chapter Lead for CWEEL- Council on Women in Energy & Environmental Leadership.   

Theme: Trending Topics 

Workshop Block 2 [11-11:50AM]

I am Kenough: A Critical Look at Gender Norms and Masculinity [Babbio 104]

Barbie, the popular summer blockbuster, provided viewers with thoughtful perspectives on the meaning of life and living as a woman in a patriarchal society. Facilitators, Kevin Grunder and Leo Pedraza, will provide an overview of these themes as they relate to the perspective of the characters Barbie and Ken, show examples from the film, and facilitate lively discussion with a panel of male-identified students to share their perspectives on gender norms, societal notions of masculinity, and empowering participants to promote gender inclusivity. 

Leo Pedraza HeadshotDr. Leo Pedraza (he/him/his) is the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Undergraduate Student Life. Dr. Pedraza earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Management, and Policy at Seton Hall University and M.Ed. in College Student Services Administration at Oregon State University. He is a published researcher in the Journal of Higher Education. 

Kevin Grunder HeadshotKevin Grunder Jr. (he/him/his) is the Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Kevin earned his M.A. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University. Kevin is passionate about empowering student leaders to lead with purpose and identifying how they can be catalysts for change and innovation within their organizations and communities. 

Kai Goz HeadshotKai Goz is a third-year mechanical engineering major. He is involved in oSTEM as one of its presidents and is an Intercultural Space Coordinator for the Office of Student Culture and Belonging. Kai is passionate about promoting and working towards inclusion and equity for everyone on campus and beyond. He is also involved in the performing arts on campus, including the Stevens Dramatic Society. 

Ozzie Nosa HeadshotOzzie Nosa is a graduate student pursuing his master’s in systems engineering. He joined Stevens in the summer of 2018 as a STEP Bridge student. Throughout the years he has been an active member of the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program (STEP), Black Student Union (BSU), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Gear and Triangle Honor Society (G&T) and worked on campus as a Resident Assistant (RA) and Career Center Ambassador. 

Jared Donnelly HeadshotJared Donnelly is a 4/4 Computer Science Major focusing on Artificial Intelligence at Stevens Institute of Technology. He has dedicated himself to improving academic at Stevens where he serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Student Government Association and Chair of the Computer Science Student Advisory Board. Outside of the classroom, Jared is a Resident Assistant and he's a Brother of the Lodge (Chi Psi) where he serves as the treasurer at Stevens and a member of the national Executive Council. 

Theme: Trending Topics 

Student and Alumnae Research on Current Issues [Babbio 122]

Stevens students and recent alumnae will present research conducted for HHS 323: Women and Gender in America. Their papers cover trending topics at the intersections of gender, with titles including “Asian Hate and the News,” “Fourth Wave Feminism is Here and It is Powerful,” “Causes of the Gender Gap in STEM,” “The Ongoing Debate Over Abortion Rights,” and “Women in Puerto Rico.” 

Dr. Lindsey Swindall (moderator), Cassidy Bickler, Mariel Bacolod, Isabella Cruz, Lauren Ingraham, Alexis Pope (panelists) 

Cassidy Bickler Headshot

Cassidy is currently working as a software developer. She has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering with a concentration in computer architecture and a master's degree in computer science. She is a passionate advocate for women and women in male dominated fields. 

Mariel Bacolod Headshot

Mariel is a 3/4 Science, Technology and Society major who is extremely involved in cultural organizations on campus. She has formally held positions on Ethnic Student Council and Filipino Association of Stevens Tech and is currently the Academic Chair for the Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc., a cultural sorority. 

Alexis Pope Headshot

Alexis is a senior biology major on a pre-med track. She was influenced to pursue STEM by her mom who is a civil engineer, company vice president, and the 2022 Woman of Achievement in the Professional Women in Construction NJ Chapter. 

Lauren Ingraham Headshot

Lauren is a 4/4 Software Engineering Major. She grew up in a small town in southern New Hampshire before moving to Hoboken for college. While at Stevens, she ran on the varsity track team and after college plans to work as a software engineer in NYC. 

Isabella Cruz Headshot

Isabella is a recent alumna of Stevens Institute where she earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors in Computer Science. She is currently a Global Technology Rotation Associate at Prudential Financial. 

 Theme: Trending Topics 

Lead with Compassion [Babbio 219]

This workshop discusses how leadership has been gendered and how compassionate leadership can promote the well-being of leaders and their teams. Expect resources that encourage leaders to navigate complex challenges with the connection between classic leadership and the patriarchy. Acknowledging the obstacles posed by high-pressure environments, we will equip participants with invaluable skills of mindfulness, courage, directness, and transparency to optimize their effectiveness as leaders. 

Diane Sosa Headshot

Diane Sosa, LPC, holds a master's in Mental Health Counseling and Wellness from NYU. She's a member of NBCC and the Latino Mental Health Association of NJ. She has vast experience in community mental health, especially supporting underrepresented individuals and families facing various challenges. She has a passion in counseling emphasizing womyn’s empowerment and social-emotional growth. 

Paula Sands Headshot

Dr. Paula Sands, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, has a Psy.D. from the University of Hartford. Her dissertation studied psychologists' attitudes toward domestic minor sex trafficking victims. She specializes in anxiety, depression, trauma, and identity development, creating a safe, supportive environment with a social justice focus for self-discovery and growth. 

Theme: Reimagining Gender & Leadership  

Empower Her: Women Entrepreneurs for Social Enterprises [Babbio 220] 

This program will inspire and equip women with the knowledge and skills to excel as entrepreneurs in the world of social enterprises. It will culminate in a competition where teams will be given parameters for developing a social impact business and participate in a quick pitch competition for a prize. The session will empower women to unleash their entrepreneurial potential, recognize motivations for entrepreneurship and have the tools to create impact through STEM-driven social enterprises.

Jami Porzl Headshot

As Executive Director of Sharing Hope Africa, Jami Porzl is a determined entrepreneur who promotes social equity. She runs a successful social enterprise in Africa where she develops businesses to provide employment and stimulate fiscal growth. Profits are reinvested into villages via orphanages, clinics, and other social equity ventures. She dreams of equal opportunity and self-reliance for all. 

Theme: Reimagining Gender & Leadership 

Everyday Inclusion: Awareness and Skills [Babbio 221]  

This workshop draws from Dr. Zheng’s research on inclusive leadership, including her newly published research in Harvard Business Review. It will focus on raising participants' awareness of and ability to practice everyday inclusion at their school or workplace using interactive activities. Participants will identify inclusive responses and explore challenges and strategies for implementation. This interactive session will equip individuals at all levels with skills to create more inclusive environments.   

Wei Zheng Headshot

Wei Zheng is the Richard R. Roscitt Endowed Chair Professor in Leadership at Stevens. Her work focuses on leadership and diversity. She has studied leadership in corporate, entrepreneurial, laboratory, and faith-based organizations. Her research has appeared in top scholarly and practitioner outlets such as the Harvard Business Review. She co-leads the Stevens Inclusive Leadership Certificate Program and Stevens Leadership Portal. 

Theme: Personal & Professional Empowerment 

The Fear of Being Flawed: How Perfectionism Holds Women Back [Babbio 310] 

Do you have perfectionist tendencies? Are they keeping you from reaching your goals? This interactive workshop is designed to explore perfectionism in women and its impact on their social relationships and professional careers. Through activities and group discussions, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and consequences of perfectionism. By the end of the session, participants will have a toolkit for overcoming perfectionism and embracing imperfection! 

Maxine Fontaine Headshot

Maxine Fontaine is a Teaching Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens. She obtained her Master's at UC Davis and PhD in Denmark. Dr. Fontaine’s research is in engineering education and creating interactive and effective classroom environments. She is the founder of the Women in Mechanical Engineering group and organizes an annual “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” outreach event. 

Zahra Pournorouz Headshot

Zahra Pournorouz received her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic). After finishing her bachelor's studies, she entered the Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is now a Teaching Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology.   

Theme: Personal & Professional Empowerment 

Workshop Block 3 [1:30-2:20PM]

Women’s Representation in Business Leadership [Babbio 104]

What are the challenges and opportunities for women in business today? Hear from a panel of industry experts and academic leaders including Stevens’ own first lady, Hoveida Farvardin Nabakht at this engaging panel session. Panelists will share personal and professional insights into the global state of women’s representation in business and answer questions from student moderator, Tanya Acadia ‘26.


Hoveida Farvardin Nobakht Headshot

Hoveida Farvardin Nabakht was born in Tehran, Iran. She left Iran after the 1978 revolution and pursued her engineering education in the United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and a master’s degree in Operations Research. Hoveida has worked at the World Bank for the past 34 years, most recently as Operations and Strategy Manager of the Sustainable Development Vice Presidency. Hoveida has held several other managerial and advisory positions in the World Bank and has worked in all regions of the world covered by the World Bank (Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, East Asia, South Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Africa).  

Headshot of Stephanie LeBlanc-Godfrey

A distinguished alumna of Stevens Class of 2006, Stephanie LeBlanc-Godfrey’s unique role as the Global Head of Inclusion for Women of Color centers around curating programming and facilitating conversations across a variety of topics under the umbrellas of diversity, inclusion & belonging, parenting, and intersectionality. 

Ying Wu Headshot

Dr. Ying Wu is an Associate Professor in the Stevens School of Business and a recipient of the Harvey N. Davis Distinguished Teaching Assistant Professor Award. She has taught various Finance and Economics courses at Stevens. 

Sibel Ozgen Headshot

Dr. Sibel Ozgen is an Assistant Professor of Management at the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Tech. She holds a PhD in Management and another PhD in Engineering. Her research interests include leadership and strategic leadership. 

Tanya Avadia Headshot

Moderator: Tanya Avadia ‘26 is a second-year Business & Technology major who aspires to work at the intersection of finance and technology. 

Theme: Reimagining Gender & Leadership

I AM REMARKABLE [Babbio 122] 

IAmRemarkable is a global movement that empowers everyone to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. Breaking the bias. Imposter syndrome. Stereotypes. Culture. For many reasons, lots of us feel uncomfortable sharing our achievements. By amplifying stories and research on the transformative power of self-promotion, we want to inspire every single person to celebrate their accomplishments.

Aisha Lawrey Headshot

STEM advocate, Aisha Lawrey, has 25 years of experience working in industry, government, nonprofits, and education. Her focus is on increasing the number of women and minorities in engineering. Aisha currently works for AWS (Amazon Web Services), as the Training & Certification Global Ambassador for Cloud Career Training Programs, AMER (North, Central, and South America). She is currently an AAAS IFTHEN STEM Ambassador and even has a 3D scanned statue in her image. Aisha obtained a Master of Public Policy and Administration from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Theme: Personal & Professional Empowerment  

Gender Bias in Leadership Perceptions: Unpacking Stereotypes and Challenges [Babbio 219] 

In a world where leadership is often associated with traditional gender stereotypes, this workshop aims to shed light on the biases and challenges that emerge when leaders are evaluated based on their gender. Drawing on real-world experiences and research, Angelina Saiyi Li, an accomplished entrepreneur and thought leader, will explore the detrimental impact of gender bias on leadership perceptions.

Angelina Saiyi Li Headshot

Angelina Saiyi Li is an entrepreneur, TV host, and MBA candidate at Stevens Institute of Technology, with a strong background in healthcare, media, cosmetics, and tech. She is active in the Stevens Graduate Women in Business Club and Student Advisory Board. 

Theme: Personal & Professional Empowerment 

Breaking Boundaries for Unconscious Bias [Babbio 220]  

Unlock the potential of technology to drive inclusive leadership in our workshop, "Breaking Boundaries: Leveraging Technology for Inclusive Leadership." This interactive session is tailored to empower participants with cutting-edge strategies to foster diversity and inclusion in their professional spheres. Through engaging activities, discussions, and real-world case studies, attendees will explore the transformative power of technology in promoting equity, inclusivity, and leadership excellence. 

Zahra Pournorouz Headshot

Zahra Pournorouz received her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic). After finishing her bachelor's studies, she entered the Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is now a Teaching Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology.   

Theme: Trending Topics

I am Latina and Latinx: Using Language to Challenge the Gender Binary [Babbio 221] 

What does “Latinx” mean? Where did it come from? In this session, we will review the origins of the term and its relationship to and implications for gender identity. Then, drawing from the presenter’s recently published research article, we will explore how self-identified Latina and Latinx college students have used the term “Latinx” as a tool for social justice, education, and leadership, as well as a third-gendered space beyond the binary. Discussion will focus on how we can use language to challenge gender assumptions. 

Valerie Guerrero Williamson Headshot

Dr. Valerie Guerrero Williamson is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Office of the President at Stevens. Both her research and practice focus on higher education at the organizational level, including equity-oriented change models and their implementation, campus climates and cultures, cultivating critical praxis, and faculty development and socialization.  

Theme: Reimagining Gender & Leadership

Universal Success in Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence [Babbio 304]  

Given the advancement of technology and artificial intelligence (AI), we ponder over the future of leadership and if emotional intelligence (EQ)–a critical trait in leaders–will continue to prevail. This workshop will discuss EQ’s impact across industries and how leaders harness EQ to influence and inspire. We will dive into EQ's implications for AI and how it could alter the landscape of leadership. Participants will receive new perspectives and lessons on strengthening relationships and evolving their leadership with EQ today. 

Serena Shah Headshot

Serena Shah is back on Castle Point embarking on her master's in finance after receiving her bachelor's in business & technology in 2021. An influential leader during her undergraduate career, Shah remains active on campus today. She is determined to share her passion for leadership and development with others through her experiences as a woman on Wall Street and her 12-year competitive soccer career. 

 Theme: Reimagining Gender & Leadership

Promoting Mental Health in STEM Through Language Modeling [Babbio 310] 

Given the escalating prevalence of mental health issues, early detection of these conditions is crucial for effective intervention. Our workshop highlights our research on the pressing matter of mental health in higher education and supporting early depression detection from a computing perspective. We hope to offer valuable insight and spark meaningful conversation to advance social justice. Moreover, we hope to empower individuals at Stevens to proactively prioritize their mental wellbeing. 

Ping Wang Headshot

Dr. Ping Wang, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stevens Institute of Technology, is also an affiliated member of The Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI). With extensive experience in computer science and artificial intelligence, Dr. Wang actively engages in cutting-edge research and projects that bridge technology with societal well-being.  

Palak Sood Headshot

Palak Sood is a graduate student specializing in Machine Learning at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Passionate about data science and its potential to drive positive change, Palak has dedicated herself to the pursuit of innovative solutions that make a difference. 

 Theme: Justice & Equity in STEM

2023 Workshop Themes

LeadHERship Conference sessions provide an opportunity for participants from Stevens and our surrounding communities to present and discuss ideas on current and emerging topics in the following four thematic areas:

  • Re-Imagining Gender & Leadership: new and trailblazing ideas on who and what makes a leader 

  • Justice & Equity in STEM: conversations at the intersection of STEM and social justice 

  • Trending Topics: current and global matters relating to gender equity, inclusion, or related topics   

  • Personal & Professional Empowerment: skill development in leadership and identity development

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