Building Leadership and Management Skills for Success


June 10-12, 2013  Providence, RI

The 2013 ESWN Professional Workshop was held June 10-12 in Providence, Rhode Island.  Over 70 women from academia, government and the private sector participated in the workshop.  Women ranged in rank from masters students to tenured professors, and everything in between, leading to a rich diversity of experience and needs related to leadership and management.

Why leadership and management skills?

Science is rarely done in isolation; in almost any position, leadership and management skills are an important contributor to success. Yet, these  skills are seldom discussed as part of an academic education, and hardly, if ever, show up in professional trainings for scientists. This workshop was designed to give you hands on techniques to grow your skills in leadership and management. Topics emphasized included: effective communication with your scientific team (peers, colleagues, employees, students, bosses, administrators, etc), team building in a way that promotes motivation and trust, guidance in giving and receiving both positive and negative feedback, elements of an effective group meeting, and the art of delegation.

The workshop

Day one of the workshop was facilitated by Chris Olex and focused on helping participants understand what their leadership style is within the context of the DISC profile.  Are they task oriented or people oriented?  Are they an extrovert of an introvert?  What frustrates them when working with other people?  Why do they respond the way they do to frustrations in the workplace and how can they modify that response for more effective communication?  Each participant received an individualized breakdown of her characteristics related to DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientious). Focus was placed on each participant understanding her style, her impact, her motivation, and her story.  Participants also worked collaboratively to produce a comprehensive list of what makes a good leader.

DISC Pie(figure from:

Day one concluded with a panel over dinner of established female Earth scientists that have been successful in a variety of leadership and management positions.  The panelists were Amanda Lynch, Melinda Marquis, Robyn Hannigan, Daphne LaDue, and Pat Manley, all of whom shared a wealth of experiences with the participants.









Day two of the workshop built on the DISC profiles of day one, and was lead by facilitator Katie Hughes.  Participants practiced identifying DISC characteristics in others, to aid with communication.  Practical, hands-on techniques for having one-on-one meetings, giving effective feedback, coaching and delegating were presented and practiced by participants.  Day two concluded with a networking reception for the participants and ESWN members in the Providence/Boston area.

The final half-day of the workshop allowed participants to reassess where they are in terms of leadership and management, and where they hope to go.  Participants used their DISC profiles to create concrete advise for other participants on how best to manage and be managed by others based on personality types.



This workshop represents the third and final 2.5-day workshop funded as part of an NSF ADVANCE PAID grant to members of the ESWN Leadership Board.  Information on other previous workshops can be found here on our website.