14th Annual HIGHER Ground Women's Leadership Conference

Not Waiting to Lead
Call for Proposals 2020 

Now, more than ever, women are making significant strides in varied capacities while navigating an ever-changing leadership landscape. Analysis of progress shows that women lead on multiple fronts. They hold more payroll jobs, earn more college degrees, and have made advances in formal leadership roles with representation among elected officials, employment as CEOs of corporations, and service as presidents of nonprofit organizations, reflecting a moment of zeitgeist. In spite of these successes, the reality remains that women experience obstacles in pursuit of the top position. Although female leaders are demonstrating a higher degree of competency, qualifications, and experience, they are still relegated to second place. 

Women are shifting the paradigm of leadership conversations by stepping into formal and informal roles, regardless of recognition. They are challenging dominant expectations of what leadership progress and change should look like and shaking up systems of hierarchies that reinforce the status quo. Designed to create space to imagine new leadership models, The 14th Annual HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Conference will: interrogate why deserved recognition for women's accomplishments is absent from prevailing leadership spaces; explore how to break free of leadership models that undervalue women; and embolden women to take the lead without needing to hold position, ask for permission, or wait for an invitation. Not Waiting to Lead will disrupt the narrative to catalyze the change that demands a future in 1st place.  

Call for Proposals
The VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute invites proposals for its 14th Annual HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Conference. This high-energy, one-day experience provides leadership development and networking opportunities for women from the private, public, nonprofit, academic, and community sectors. The conference aims to inspire, energize, and empower women to be transformational leaders and change agents within their workplaces, communities, and personal lives. Each year, more than 300 women from around the state attend this event. More information about the conference is available at https://www.gehli.vcu.edu/conference/.

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 2 to 3 panelists is 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 at home; and
  • 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.  

Proposals must be submitted online no later than
5:00pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

Please be sure to read the instructions for submission very carefully and prior to submitting. Selected presenters will be required to pay a discounted registration rate of $100 per presenter. If you have any questions about the call, the conference, or the submission process, please contact us at gehli@vcu.edu.

Submit Proposals via Google Form