Five Minutes with Traci Corey, Women’s Leadership Institute Director

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Traci Corey, director of the The University of Olivet Women’s Leadership Institute, is the spouse of OC President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D. While Traci does not serve the college in a formal capacity, she is committed to having a positive impact on students, specifically female students interested in growing their leadership skills. In 2016, Traci led an OC movement to address the gender gap in today’s workforce, starting by giving female college students the tools to face the issue before they launch professional careers. In March 2017, under Traci’s leadership, the college hosted the inaugural Cultivating Women Leaders (CWL) event, bringing hundreds of female high school students and The University of Olivet students, staff, faculty and alumnae together for a day-long, interactive leadership training workshop.

After such a successful first event, Traci continued to lead the charge for young women at OC, and in the fall of 2017 she was named director of the new The University of Olivet Women’s Leadership Institute (OCWLI). In addition to a second annual CWL event, a year-long women’s leadership development program in collaboration with ATHENA International was developed, targeting current The University of Olivet students, as well as Ment-Her events that will benefit OC, high school and middle school students.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the The University of Olivet community?

I have really enjoyed the people! The faculty, staff and students we have here are amazing, and I love getting to know many of them on a personal level and seeing the students mature and gain confidence through their experiences here. I also really enjoy meeting all of our alumni and talking about their OC experience. Most recently, I have enjoyed working with Dean and Provost Maria Davis, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Admissions Lisa Lehman and Special Assistant to the President Delstene Atkinson on the development of our Women’s Leadership Institute strategic plan and seeing all of the hard work we have put into it come to fruition. And also, working with the young ladies that are going through our first-ever, year-long OC ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Program.

Tell us more about the ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Program and why it is important to you.

We are very fortunate to be able to partner with ATHENA International on this well-recognized Women’s Leadership Program. This will give the young ladies going through our program the skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful leader and to learn from and be inspired by some of the most dynamic women leaders in the state of Michigan. These women leaders will be facilitating seven sessions on the eight core principles of leadership that are the building blocks to successful leadership in today’s global society. The last and final core principle will be at the second annual CWL event on March 2, 2018. Our students will then have the opportunity to go from mentees to Ment-Hers. Our goal is for them to then take what they have learned to design, implement and facilitate a high school girls leadership camp here at OC in June 2018 and middle school girls leadership camp in June 2019. We’ll be creating multiple levels of Ment-Hers and a culture of women supporting women.

I have always found myself wanting to empower and support young women, from my days as a collegiate volleyball coach, to working with young ladies in club volleyball and our students here at OC. Too often I see high achieving, smart, gifted young ladies that have the world at their feet, doubt and question themselves and their capabilities, when they should believe! I want to help inspire them to believe that they can do and achieve anything they are willing to strive and work hard to accomplish. I want them to be their own best self-advocate!

Why should female students take advantage of leadership development opportunities?

I would have given anything to have this level of leadership development in my day. Not to mention the networking and possible job opportunities that come from being involved in this program. We are giving these young ladies the knowledge necessary so that they can be informed and prepared, so maybe they won’t have to face some of the challenges those that have gone before them had to face, or at least be prepared and have the tools in her tool box to handle it!

What are you most looking forward to this semester and in the future?

I am looking forward to watching the young ladies that go through our program gain confidence and knowledge, because knowledge is power. I am also looking forward to seeing this program grow and gain momentum! Supporting and empowering young women has been the fabric of this college from the very beginning, and I am really excited to see this culture continue to flourish here.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to female students?

Believe in yourself and don’t stop striving to improve; most importantly, be true to yourself!

Why is attending OC the “Best. Decision. Ever.” a student can make?

We have such amazing mentors in our faculty here. They truly care about our students and helping them make an informed choice about their future. You can only do that when you take the time to get to know students on a personal level, like our faculty does. The University of Olivet has always been and continues to be about the relationships, and the positive impact that has on our students lives is huge!

Learn more about Traci and the OCWLI. Make sure to save the date for the second annual CWL event on March 2, 2018!


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