Call for Proposals

13th Annual HIGHER Ground Women's Leadership Conference
Call for proposals 2019 
Building Bridges Together: Past, Present and Future

Friday, Nov. 1, 2019
Greater Richmond Convention Center
403 North Third Street
Richmond, Virginia 

This year, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, we seek to build upon the success of our work by reflecting on the leadership of individuals, organizations and communities over the past 20 years and anticipating their leadership needs for the next 20 years. This year’s theme invites us to explore how historical and contemporary experiences provide us with opportunities for new leadership insights for the future.

Recent years have been marred by tensions between the past and present, individually and collectively, and have required deep reflection on past acts, accounts and accolades. The legacy of our historical actions and inactions continue to affect the present and how we understand the future. For many, history provides the richness of how we are seen and defines who we are today. For others, history is fraught with contradictions and inconsistencies with who we believe ourselves to be in the present. If our future is, in fact, a result of our interpretation and execution of experiences in the present, looking forward to 2039, what would reflection of our leadership past reveal about our present-day leadership? What would these reflections foretell about our leadership in the future?

This year, we aim to identify and promote opportunities that create strong partnerships and collaborations across people, time and space by bringing together the latest in leadership practice from academics, practitioners, consultants, community and organizational leaders with a shared desire to sustain interest in furthering our knowledge and understanding of leadership. Our theme encourages submissions that examine and demonstrate a broad range of leadership themes, topics, skills and techniques within the following contexts: 

  • Retrospective/reflective leadership emphasizes an examination of historical/traditional concepts of leadership: Looking back at leadership over the last 20 years, how does history impact current practice? What historical models of leadership stand the test of time? Proposals in this theme will highlight traditional conversations around leadership practices.
  • Current/contemporary leadership pays attention to current leadership practices: How has the definition and practice of leadership changed over time? What tools and techniques are useful for today’s leader? Proposals in this theme will highlight key strategies and best practices for today’s leader.
  • Prospective/future-oriented leadership imagines innovatively new insights for the future of leadership development: What will be the key skills needed for leadership practice in the future? What will organizations need to support the next generations of leaders? Proposals in this theme will highlight innovative leadership new context, theories of the practice of leadership for tomorrow’s leader and the organizations and communities within which they exist.

We are seeking proposals for:

  • 60-minute interactive sessions and workshops: This type of session includes audience participation and active learning. This session should provide participants with the opportunity to actively engage with the content, receive tangible action-oriented strategies, apply ideas to their own professional practice, and/or develop new skills and leadership insights.
  • 60-minute panel sessions: This type of session is designed for relevant outcome focused discussions on timely leadership topics related to work, home, or community (local and global). For these sessions, a moderator plus two to three panelists are required. Panelists should situate their discussion in best practices, personal narratives, professional practice or leadership theory, and engage participants through question-and-answer periods.  

Successful proposals will provide evidence for how the facilitators will:

  • Address the conference theme through the introduction of inspirational mindsets, game-changing skill sets, practical tools and/or creative solutions
  • Engage participants in active, experiential and/or collaborative learning
  • Address the needs of women across contexts, including the workplace, community and home
  • Be relevant to participants of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute is unable to provide funding for presenter travel or lodging. Selected presenters will need to register and pay for this event. Submissions for the call for proposals have closed.