PASSHE Women's Consortium and Audrey-Beth Fitch Women's Studies Conference

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A female prospective student stands against a Cal U building, smiling.A female prospective student stands against a Cal U building, smiling.

PASSHE Women's Consortium and Audrey-Beth Fitch Women's Studies Conference

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Women: Finding a Voice and Leading for Change Conference

Women comprise half of the paid workforce and women extend more unpaid volunteer hours than men. At home, women do 2/3 of the housework and spend double the time on family care compared to men. More than 60% of undergraduate degrees are awarded to women and approximately half of all graduate degrees are awarded to females. Women "do it all" except land the privileges and opportunities to lead.

Twelve Fortune 500 companies (2.4%) are led by women. Congress boasts a mere 16% of seats held by women. Three percent of clout positions in mainstream media are held by women. Thirteen percent of Sunday news show guests are women. Only 13.5% of universities are led by female presidents. Across the board, women earn less than men, costing women on average $1,000,000 over a lifetime.

Now, more than ever, the world needs female leaders to bring their voices to the table. Evidence shows that when a worthy percentage of women are at the table, policies become more family friendly, companies see higher profits for shareholders, employees are more satisfied with their jobs. When women find their voices at home, there is greater equity, greater commitment, and greater satisfaction for families. Furthermore, money is spent in ways that are advantageous to the health and well-being of families.

The PASSHE Women's Consortium and Audrey-Beth Fitch Women's Studies Conference, September 14-15, 2012 at California University of PA in southwestern PA, will address this need for women to lead. Two of the conference Keynote presenters include Ellen Bravo, author of Taking on the Big Boys, and Ayana Ledford from Carnegie Mellon University's Progress Center will teach about negotiation and gender awareness.

Cal U has been named the first national Franklin Covey Leadership University, incorporating leadership principles into teaching, learning, and campus life. Conference programs will connect to the university's focus on leadership and the conference theme Women: Finding a Voice and Leading for Change. Leadership may be demonstrated in the home, workplace, politics, volunteering, the university, corporations, media, etc.

Students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend!

More Information

Conference Schedule

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held within the Convocation Center.

Friday September 14, 2012
TimeEvent and Location
10:00 AM Women’s Consortium Executive Board Meeting @ Hospitality Suite
11:30 AM Registration Begins @ Main Lobby
1:00 PM Keynote speaker Annie Holmes presenting "Is the Climate Still Chilly?: The Climate for Women in PASSHE Schools" @ South Conferencing Wing
2:30 PM Breakout Session #1 - View Offerings @ North Conferencing Wing
3:45 PM Breakout Session #2 - View Offerings @ North Conferencing Wing
5:00 PM Dinner @ South Conferencing Wing
6:15 PM Keynote speaker Ellen Bravo presenting "Taking on the Big Boys: or Why Feminisim is Good for Families, Business, and the Nation" @ South Conferencing Wing
7:15 PM Music and Networking @ South Conferencing Wing

Saturday September 15, 2012
TimeEvent and Location
8:00 AM Continental Breakfast @ Main Lobby
9:00 AM Breakout Session #3 (Including group meetings for Women’s Center and Women’s Studies Directors) - View Offerings @ North Conferencing Wing
10:15 AM Breakout Session #4 - View Offerings @ North Conferencing Wing
11:30 AM Lunch and Consortium Meeting @ South Conferencing Wing
1:00 PM Keynote speaker Ayana Ledford presenting "Why Women Have Not Learned to Negotiate Well and Learning the Skills to Negotiate in All Aspects of our Lives." @ South Conferencing Wing
2:00 PM Conference Concludes

Hotel Information

Holiday Inn Express, Bentleyville, PA

A block of rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Holiday Inn Express in Bentleyville.  The conference room rate of $89.99 per night and is only available if you use the website link given here.  If you call on the phone you will be able to book a room at the group rate of $99.99 per night if you explain you are with the Cal U Women’s Consortium.  This rate includes hot breakfast and free wi-fi in all rooms.

Hampton Inn, Belle Vernon, PA

We’ve also reserved rooms at the Hampton Inn in Belle Vernon, PA.  The conference rate is $89+tax.  They also have hot breakfast and free wi-fi in all rooms.  When booking please state whether you’ll need rooms for Thursday September 13th also, or just Friday September 14th.  If you’d like a room with two queens (non-smoking) please use the confirmation #83494343.  If you’d like a room with a king bed, use confirmation #82709223.  These rooms will be blocked until September 10th.  These rooms are blocked under the name Kim Woznack.

Directions and Parking


For directions to California University of PA, please visit our 'About-Us' webpage.  If using a GPS or mapping software, you can find Cal U at:

250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419


After you have registered for the conference, you will receive a link to a printable parking tag.  Please print this tag and place it on the dash of your vehicle in order to park on campus for free.  All tags will be for Campus LOT 4. 

You can see where LOT 4 is on the campus parking map (PDF).

Keynote Speaker: Ellen Bravo

Ellen BravoEllen Bravo

Executive Director of Family Values @ Work

A long-time activist and former director of 9to5, Ellen Bravo now directs Family Values @ Work, a network of 17 state coalitions working for paid sick days and family leave insurance. Her most recent book, Taking on the Big Boys¸ won ForeWord magazine’s gold medal in women’s issues. A business editor described her as “moving, witty and sometimes bawdy.” Ellen has served on several commissions, including the bi-partisan Commission on Leave appointed by Congress to study the impact of the FMLA. Among her commendations is a Ford Foundation Visionary award and the Francis Perkins “Intelligence and Courage” award. Ellen lives in Milwaukee with her husband; they have two adult sons.

More Information about Ellen

Keynote Speaker: Ayana Ledford

Avana LedfordAyana Ledford

Executive Director of Progress

As founding executive director of PROGRESS, Ayana Ledford works to pass along the art of negotiation and self sufficiency to all women and girls. The path that led her toward the program was built on a foundation of advocacy with past work experience including time with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University and community organizing efforts made on behalf of low income Pittsburgh Public School students. She has also fought for low-income access to health care with the Consumer Health Coalition and while serving as a health education instructor in Central West Africa.

Her past commitments include serving on the Athena Awards host committee, a mentor for Duquesne University’s CLAAY program, working with the Terry McAdam Book Committee for Nonprofit Management and as a founding member of the Sankofa Fund of Southwestern Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the board of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, co-chair of the Girls Coalition of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s economic empowerment committee, and YWCA of Pittsburgh’s Young Leadership Advisory Committee.

She has conducted over 100 presentations on the value of negotiation for women and girls to organizations, women affinity groups, and after school programs such as Gwen’s Girls, Carlow University, Chatham University, Coro Center for Civic Leadership, AmeriCorps, Dress for Success, Penn State University, Harvard University, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Area Independent Teachers Association and Carnegie Mellon Engineering - Women Mentoring Program, Slippery Rock University, American Association of University Women, Manchester Youth Development Center, Babst Calland, and YouthWorks.

Ms. Ledford holds a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Dickinson College and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on community organizing and social administration.

More information about Ayana

Keynote Speaker: Annie Holmes

Annie Holmes

Annie Holmes

Coordinator of Diversity Education

Annie Holmes is the Coordinator of Diversity Education in The Pennsylvania State University’s Affirmative Action Office. She has served in this capacity providing workshops and facilitating diversity sessions to faculty, staff and students across the Penn State community, including its 24 campuses for more than 4 years. She is committed to working with administrators and managers across the institution to coach them in creating an inclusive workplace environment for all faculty and staff.

Prior to working with the Affirmative Action office, Annie taught at the elementary and middle school level in the public school setting, and worked in Residence Life and the Office of Educational Equity at Penn State. Annie taught at the undergraduate level in counselor education and a social justice course at the master’s level. She is often called upon several times during the academic year to be a guest lecturer to engage students in the topics of diversity, inclusion and social justice. With more than 10 years of experience, Annie continues to live out her passion as an educator.

Annie is currently a doctoral student in adult education at Penn State. She received her first master’s degree in college student affairs and a second master’s in higher education from Penn State. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Temple University.

More Information on Annie

Important Links

Women's Consortium Information

Women's Consortium Membership

Women's Studies @ Cal U

Breakout Session #1

Breakout Session #2

Breakout Session #3

Breakout Session #4

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