Women’s Ministry animates students to excel in leadership


Photo by: Anne Deemer

Panel speakers shared personal wisdom on the role of femininity in leadership with a crowd of women in the Gentile Gallery for Wednesday night’s Women’s Ministry event. 

The evening offered those in attendance an opportunity to gain insight into leadership roles from women in different areas of life who have different experiences with leadership.  

Susan Poyo, professor of education at Franciscan University of Steubenville, spoke of leadership as a combination of maternity, receptivity and surrender of control. She challenged everyone to consider what it is that keeps them from being receptive and maternal, sharing examples from her own experiences as a college student. 

“I fell into a sin of self-reliance,” Poyo said. “When you do that, when you think, ‘I’ve got this, I can do this,’ you forget about who you are. … You forget that God’s the one who sustains you, who keeps you. … A good leader is a leader who realizes they can’t do it on their own.” 

Sarah Bacza, who works in the conference offices, shared how, to her, leadership means being open to the needs of others. “When I think of being a leader,” she said, “I think of that receptivity of being open to others. … As women, we have the ability and gift and opportunity to be intuitive, to be attentive, to be caring.”  

Franciscan senior Lauren Gothard explained how women have unique gifts and talents which should be utilized to enhance leadership roles.  

“To be feminine is to create an environment where people feel comfortable,” said Gothard. “It is to create an environment where new life can grow and where people can be welcome no matter where they are at or where they are coming from.” 

Following a question and answer section, the women all participated in Lectio Divina as a way to thank God for the time they shared together. 

Freshman Lorlena Nelson appreciated the blend of speakers at the event. 

“I thought it was really awesome how they had someone who is in college, someone who is graduated and starting their career, and then a woman who has a family and a career,” said Nelson. “It was great to see all the different insights into life as a woman and how they live faithfully.”