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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Big-name women - including four-star admiral - head to Boise for Andrus Center conference

A four-star admiral who is the second-highest official in the U.S. Navy – and also is both the first woman and the first African-American to achieve that four-star rank – is among the headliners at the Andrus Conference on Women and Leadership, which kicks off tomorrow at Boise State University. Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of Naval operations, will give the luncheon keynote speech at the conference, which starts at noon in the Jordan Ballroom.

Conference organizers said “a bit of finesse” was required to accomplish the admiral’s visit, as either the chief or vice chief must be present in Washington, D.C. at all times; and the visit includes the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The conference runs through Friday at noon, and also will feature astronauts Ellen Ochoa and Barbara Morgan; 124th Fighter Wing Col. Sherrie McCandless; U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Victoria Lipnic; retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who also addressed the first such conference last year; and Academy Award-winning producer Freida Mock, who will air her film about Anita Hill, “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power,” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. An array of other female business, political, arts and academic leaders also are scheduled to speak, including Carla Harris, managing partner and vice chair of Morgan Stanley; author Judith Freeman; and Bonnie McElveen Hunter, former U.S. ambassador to Finland and current chair of the American Red Cross. The full agenda is online here.

The conference’s theme this year is “What is Success?” It’s a project of the Andrus Center for Public Policy, which is affiliated with the Boise State University College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. “It’s a conversation among women on what is success and how to achieve it,” said David Adler, Andrus Center director. Between 800 and 1,000 people are expected to attend. “It’s a wide audience,” Adler said. “It includes university students, working women, people in the corporate world. … Women dominate the audience, but it’s not just for women.”

He quoted Warren Buffet, saying that the nation’s done pretty well using only 50 percent of its population in leadership – and much more could be accomplished if the other 50 percent also were tapped. Women are under-represented in top leadership roles in Idaho, Adler said, from political office to the corporate world. “We lag behind when it comes to women holding key positions in leadership,” he said. “We can do something about it.” There’s more info on the conference here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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