A: One of the obstacles I had to overcome was figuring out how to stay employed full time and get my doctoral degree. That took me eight years and I was working full time as a vice president of a college. Carving out the time to do my academic work, for family commitments and, since I have always been the main breadwinner, for my continued role in the workforce was absolutely important. I was always struggling for balance. How do I stay employed, do the things I need to do in other areas of my life and advance my career?

Getting a doctorate in higher education was absolutely essential for me. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I had to learn things along the way about navigating university environments that women and men from families with long traditions of college education didn’t have to.

Another obstacle I had to overcome to gain my leadership role was to simply find the confidence to move forward into that space.

I often talk with women in leadership positions and there are three things that come up in terms of experiences we’ve had in common. One is that some of us were Girl Scouts. The other is, that some us played an organized sport. The third is, that some of us attended a girls’ school or women’s college. Luckily, I’ve had all three of those experiences.

So, while there have been obstacles for me, I’ve also had a set of opportunities that better prepared me to overcome them.

I think that the confidence I’ve gained through these experiences has helped me understand how to support and advocate for myself, and girls and women.