Women’s Caucus Builds Wyoming Leaders
Wyoming women prepared to take on greater leadership responsibilities personally, professional and politically in Casper April 22 and 23 at the third annual Leap into Leadership event hosted by the Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus. At the event, Wyoming women legislators past and present shared their experience and encouraged others to follow in their footsteps, pointing out that only 15 women currently serve in the state legislature.
“If you don’t run, you won’t win for sure,” said Representative Debbie Hammons, “Your becoming involved changes the nature of the debate.” Representative Hammons, asked to speak on barriers for women in leadership encouraged participants not to let fear turn obstacles into barriers. Close to 90 men and women participated in the event, which included leadership development workshops and panelists speaking Friday at lunch about the conference theme, Finding your Voice.
“I found my voice because I was so indignant,” said former Representative Clarene Law, who served in the Wyoming Legislature for 16 years, chairing two committees during that time. Miss Wyoming Anna Nelson spoke about finding her voice as a leader against underage drinking during her year as Miss Wyoming, and encouraged others to speak out, saying, “Anybody who has something to say in this state will be heard.”
Among the participants from Wyoming communities big and small were government workers, business owners, students and two candidates for the state legislature: Ruthann Petroff of Jackson who is running for House District 16; and Mayor Jodi Guerin of Laramie, who is running for Senate District 9. “The information and networking at Leap Into Leadership is amazing,” said Ms. Guerin, “With so few women in positions of leadership in Wyoming it is invaluable to be able to learn from those who have gone before me. I believe that this event is helping us begin to develop a culture in Wyoming that encourages and supports women as leaders.”
This event was hosted in partnership with Equality State Policy Center, National Conference of State Legislatures, The Equipoise Fund, The White House Project, Wyoming Business Alliance, and Wyoming Women’s Foundation; with financial support from BNSF Railways, Brimmer Kunsman Communications, The Equipoise Fund, Larry Wolfe – Holland and Hart, KKW Consulting Inc., Qwest, Wyoming Bankers Association and the Wyoming Council on Women’s Issues. Founded in 2006, the bipartisan Wyoming Women’s Legislative Caucus is a project of The Equipoise Fund.
Additional financial support provided by The Equipoise Fund, Larry Wolfe – Holland and Hart, KKW Consulting, Inc., and the Wyoming Bankers Association.