GWI Fellow hosts 2015 Women and Leadership Theory Think Tank at GWU

July 29, 2015


Dr. Storberg-Walker reflects with the group at the end of the day's discussions. Source: GWI

“Now, as you can see, we are all connected in this movement to advance women through our work in leadership theory,” reflected Dr. Julia Storberg-Walker, faculty member at the George Washington University and co-organizer of the 2015 Women and Leadership Theory Think Tank, which was sponsored through her research fellowship with the Global Women’s Institute.  As she spoke, she stood on the edge of a giant web of blue yarn, holding the end of a string that zig-zagged its way through the women standing in front of her.

The women are a group of senior scholars representing different fields, paradigms, cultures, and beliefs.  The Think Tank was convened as a space for deep and meaningful conversations about the scholars’ work and how they plan to collectively impact the future direction of women and leadership theory.

“I want this to be something that catalyzes women and leadership,” Dr. Storberg-Walker confessed as she welcomed guests at Sunday evening’s opening reception.

Over the past two years, Dr. Storberg-Walker with the help of her co-organizer Dr. Susan R. Madsen, faculty member at Utah Valley University and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Lancaster Leadership Center in the U.K., have worked with others to design and deliver a series of events focused on developing women and leadership theory. Women from across the world have participated, and the outcomes to date include an edited book volume (coming out in 2016), workshops building theorizing capacity in Asia, Europe, and the United States, and several conference presentations and publications. 

The catalyst for this effort was the Asilomar Declaration and Call to Action, a globally-distributed report generated at the first Women and Leadership Affinity Group conference in the summer of 2013. This report called for specific research and actions to address the significant and continuing inequality of women and girls. One of the key recommendations in the report was to call for a renewed focus on the scholarship surrounding women and leadership.

The 2015 Think Tank attends to this need, and is one strategy to enhance women and leadership theory. The outcome will be a white paper that reports the key findings, issues, and lessons learned during the three days of discussion.


Drs. Storberg-Walker and Madsen lead the group in an exercise at the Think Tank's opening reception.
Source: GWI

Drs. Storberg-Walker and Madsen are passionate and confident about the work achieved at the now annual Think Tank.  “We believe that the combined knowledge and experience of 30 senior women scholars has the potential to generate a powerful agenda for social change… The future we seek to facilitate through the Think Tank and other related events is one of equality, safety, and empowerment for women and girls.”

To learn more about the event and to become involved in upcoming events and activities, visit the 2015 Women and Leadership Theory Think Tank website.