Panelists at the 2018 Women in Leadership discussion

Hartwick Women Leaders Offer Diverse Versions of Leadership

April 10, 2018

There are many paths to leadership, and individual personalities play a role. The Office of Career Services organized “Kick Start Your Career Day,” a series of career-related events and activities held across campus on April 5, 2018. The morning’s Women in Leadership panel explored how women can build leadership skills and leverage them for success in the professional working world. Assistant Learning Specialist Lara Sanford moderated the discussion, asking a series of thought-provoking questions.

Sophomore Matipa Mutoti ’20 was the youngest panelist among a very accomplished group of women offering diverse points of view on how women lead. Four of her Hartwick classmates came to hear to her speak, including Joseph Ziegler ’19.

Mutoti is a political science and global studies major from Zimbabwe, and came to the U.S. two years ago to attend college. She already holds more than three leadership roles at Hartwick.  She is on the Executive Board of the Student Senate, is an Ambassador in the Office of Admissions, and is a Resident Advisor.  By taking advantage of multiple opportunities as a current student, Mutoti is modeling the advice offered by Hartwick president and fellow panelist Margaret L. Drugovich:

“Learn to lead from wherever you are.”

Melissa Marietta, director of career services, credited Provost Michael Tannenbaum as being one of her mentors. He helped her grow from a “shy person” into her current leadership role. She even admitted she has shed some tears along the way. Her training as a Meyers-Briggs facilitator gives her the self-awareness that expressing her feelings is part of her personality. Marietta shared that her style of leadership is to be “humble and kind.”

In contrast to other women on the panel, whose leadership skills developed over time, Women’s Field Hockey Head Coach Anna Meyer recalled, “I ruled my block even when I was 5 years old.” She described herself as a “stereotypical, Type A, aggressive girl from Long Island.” For the past 30 years at Hartwick, Meyer defines her purpose as, “I try to help our kids become the best versions of themselves while at Hartwick.”

Meyer is “a gigantic Maya Angelou fan.” April 4, 2018 was Maya Angelou’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death. Each year, Meyer invites her hockey team to watch a documentary about the poet to teach them values and leadership skills. This year, the coach was touched to receive an email from former player Jenny Murphy Picardo ’10, who thanked the coach for “teaching us about respect and hard work” and for “introducing us to Maya Angelou.”

As chair of the music department for more than 10 years, Professor of Music Diane Paige defined her role this way: “Being a leader for me is removing obstacles for the faculty to do their work.” The professor finds David Allen’s “workflow system” to be a great tool to become a more effective leader, and recommended it to the audience.

Professor of Biology Mary Allen shared, “When I joined Hartwick, I was the only microbiologist in the biology department. It was kind of lonely and I sought volunteer roles in the American Society of Microbiology to feel more connected to my profession.” Through volunteering, Allen found many leadership opportunities.

One student in the audience expressed deep gratitude to Allen for helping her pass a biology course with the help of four weeks of tutoring late in the semester. The student admitted that she was “too proud to ask for help” earlier in the semester and was in jeopardy of failing the course.

Professor of History Cherilyn Lacy believes her leadership style to be very collaborative. She told the audience that she takes the “Stone Soup Approach” to management. When colleagues add their expertise and passion to any project, it is analogous to neighbors adding carrots, celery and potatoes to the soup to make the broth much richer. Everyone brings something unique to the table.

In response to one student’s question about what to do when self-doubt takes over, Lacy said she could relate to experiencing “Imposter Syndrome.” One suggestion from the audience was to find or lean on a mentor to help you “believe in yourself.”

Drugovich shared that she had mentors who could tell she was not being challenged in her work, and who gave her opportunities to advance. On a college campus, mentors include professors, advisors, staff in Career Services and even upperclassmen.

Mutoti, who has a passion for political science, found several strong female role models on two the popular TV shows:  Kerry Washington, who plays Olivia Pope on “Scandal,” and Viola Davis, who plays a brilliant law professor on “How to Get Away With Murder.”

Several panelists described how they handled uncomfortable situations where they encountered sexist remarks or a hostile work environment. Drugovich made a final recommendation to the audience: “Choose a place where you can be your authentic self.”

For more information on how you can advance your career or find an internship, visit