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Girl power: Geena Davis to speak at symposium


Academy Award winning actress and advocate Geena Davis will present the keynote address at the Women in Leadership Symposium at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in the Pavilion of Armstrong Student Center.

The symposium is the inaugural event for the M.I.A.M.I. Women initiative - Miami Initiative for Advancing, Mentoring and Investing in Women - which aims to unite campus offices and student groups as well as interact with alumni. The theme for the symposium is "Making Our Mark," and it is intended to inspire and empower women to lead and engage in philanthropy. Miami University's Development office and the Women's Center are hosting the event.

Davis is the founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which aims to change how girls and women are reflected in the media. Associate Director of Development Maggie Patrick said Davis was on her radar as a featured speaker since summer 2013.

"We knew she has been a good role model for women and women's leadership, especially through her organization," Patrick said.

Jane Goettsch, director of the Women's Center, said she is looking forward to Davis' speech because her messages align with those of the center. Goettsch said the Women's Center advocates that women make terrific leaders and women leaders are needed. She is also looking forward to the alumnae returning to campus and sharing their advice and stories.

"Miami is a great school for high alumni investment," Goettsch said. "The events on Friday will be wonderful for students to make connections."

Friday's programming consists of a breakfast, panels, lectures and a luncheon with the presentation of the annual Women's Leadership Awards. Career Services is contributing to the afternoon programming as well.

Senior Associate Director of Student Affairs Heather Christman said Career Services saw this symposium as an opportunity to integrate career development. "Leaning in, Leaning out, and Reclining" is a panel on work-life integration that will be held 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, in Multipurpose Room of Shriver Center. Alumnae, faculty and staff were invited to be on the panel, and students are invited to attend a networking opportunity after the panel called "coffee with cool women."

The event is not limited to women attendees. Christman said she strongly believes there is merit to having men in the conversation because women do not exist in the workplace alone.

The entire symposium, including Davis' presentation and Friday's luncheon, is free and open to the general public.

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