Mentoring as a Super Power

Pat Mitchell is a groundbreaking media icon, global advocate for women’s rights and co-founder and curator of TEDWoman. She is also a passionate mentor. She believes mentoring “can close the gender gap in leadership in this country and around the world.”

In her book, Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World, which is part memoir and part call to action, she connects mentoring with “being dangerous.”

“By ‘dangerous,’” says Mitchell, “I don’t mean being feared. I mean being fearless. Speaking up for truth. Showing up for one other and challenging the social construct that encourages women to complete, compare and criticize.”

As part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, she offers straightforward advice from her experience on how to show up for women and be a better mentor:

  • Being a mentor means matching your skills and interests.
  • Being a mentor takes time.
  • Being a mentor is about suggesting, not instructing.
  • Being a mentor is about asking smart questions, not having all the answers.
  • Not all mentorship ends with a sense of satisfaction.
  • You’re a mentor, not a mother.
  • Being a mentor can result in lifelong relationships that continue to nurture and empower.


Mentoring Certificate Program
Help leading women and their sponsors show up for other women and other underrepresented communities. We offer a structured mentor training program to enable business leaders and HR professionals to maximize the benefits of mentoring for both mentor and mentee with tips for implementing, enhancing success in any field or level. Now enrolling for a virtual session in September. Certificate can be completed in three weeks. Each session is four hours long – 2 hours of self-study content and 2 hours of online live discussion and activities.


The Institute for Women’s Leadership seeks to dismantle barriers for women and to fulfill a critical need in the region by promoting a more representative professional workforce and leadership with programs like “Women Rising” Stories from Experience” and “Rising Together: Caffeinated Conversations,” along with “Sharing Knowledge” workshops from qualified business members. For more information visit the website


RESOURCES:“Help Them Succeed.” Pat Mitchell. March 6, 2020.  

Leaders Share Life Stories

It is graduation season, and leaders in all walks of life are commonly invited to share their life lessons at graduation ceremonies, inspiring future leaders of tomorrow. These leaders may include celebrities, entrepreneurs, political change-makers and more, all with stories and life lessons to share.

Here’s an article from Teen Vogue that collects some of the most famous, featuring:

  1. Steve Jobs: Standford, 2005
  2. Michelle Obama: Tuskagee University, 2015
  3. Natalie Portman: Harvard, 2015
  4. Amy Poehler: Harvard University, 2011
  5. Meryl Streep: Barnard College, 2010
  6. David Foster Wallace: Kenyon College, 2005
  7. Barack Obama: Howard University, 2016
  8. Kerry Washington, George Washington University, 2013
  9. Conan O’Brien: Dartmouth College, 2011
  10. J.K. Rowling, Harvard, 2008
  11. Oprah Winfrey: Harvard University, 2013
  12. Joss Whedon: Wesleyan University, 2013
  13. George Saunders: Syracuse University, 2013
  14. Nora Ephron: Wellesley College, 1996
  15. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Wellesley College, 2015
  16. Admiral William H. McRaven: University of Texas at Austin, 2014


Take a page out of these leaders’ stories. Our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program includes a diverse course curriculum that will enable you to evolve as a leader and make a difference. The program includes a core course “Develop Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Optimal Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.


Teen Vogue, “16 Best Graduation Speeches That Leave a Lasting Impression, Kristi Kellogg and Noor Brara, April 17, 2020.

The Pandemic Litmus Test for Supply Chains

Supply chains were tested by COVD-19 in ways never before experienced. How companies creatively responded and improvised in the face of changing consumer behavior, intervention of health authorities and governments point to new lessons in supply chain management, including these approaches:

How Trucking and Transportation Can Act as a Buffer

Companies that have control over boosting or downgrading trucking capacity have an advantage over companies that do not. We may see this getting higher priority as things normalize post-pandemic.

How Companies Take a More Integrated Approach

Before COVID-19, companies didn’t give worse-case scenarios a lot of attention. Worse, they regarded supply chain, production planning and risk management as separate functions with different managers in charge of each. Now we know better. Companies will not only develop reality-based risk management plans, they may also entertain allocating investment into backup or insurance capabilities. They may also emphasize an expanded view of their key suppliers to better anticipate weaknesses in the chain.

How Companies Explore New Ways to Use Automation

The pandemic revealed the benefits of automation in an environment of disruption and shortage, and it’s likely companies will use automation in new ways going forward, including the very real prospect of driverless vehicles.

How Companies Used Their Local Communities

During the pandemic, companies discovered the value of using local supply chains. Local companies were often more trustworthy and reliable business partners. Local supply chains also make a difference to consumers, which makes this continuing emphasis a double benefit.

The pandemic taught us that a company’s success is decided by how effectively it manages, controls and adapts its supply chain to prevent or mitigate unforeseen interruptions.


Business depends on supply chain management. Our Certificate in Supply Chain Management provides exposure to logistics, transportation, packaging, operations planning, inventory management and enterprise resource planning, among other functions. Learn how to develop supply chain solutions as you increase your knowledge of how to use supply chain networks to secure, produce and deliver products to a global marketplace. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.


Entrepreneur. “Emerging Supply Chain Trends Entrepreneurs Need to Know About.” Marco Ludwig, June 16, 2021.

Entrepreneur. “Consumer Trends Demand New Supply Chain Ideas.” Philip Stoten. May 2, 2021.

Changing Leadership in the New Now

2020 has been a crucible for leadership. The world faced a crisis, and workplaces and workforces were forced to adapt. Some leaders fared better than others, creating lessons for leadership in the “new now,” as we navigate a more hybrid future.

Needed skills have shifted in three crucial ways:

  1. The need for communication shifted to a need for empathy
  2. The need for emotional intelligence shifted to a need for emotional agility
  3. The need for time management shifted to a need for context management


No one had answers in 2020, including leadership. That meant that in order for leaders to connect and check-in with employees that had to delve a little deeper and share more than updates. The important skill set was less about communication and more about listening.

Emotional Agility

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of and control your emotions. Emotional agility goes a little further. Agile people are not only aware of their feelings, they know how to navigate through them. As a leader, this means you are better able to affect the desired impact because you are self-aware and situation-aware.

Context Management

“Flipping” the workplace requires that leaders rethink how work gets done. In today’s more hybrid environment, leaders need to be more intentional. The work context has changed, so we collectively need to manage our time and design our days around how we work, based on what we’re working and with whom we’re working.

2021 and beyond will demand leaders who are more flexible, collaborative and creative to guide their people and companies through current – and future – challenging times.


Our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program includes a diverse course curriculum that will enable you to evolve as a leader and make a difference. The program includes a core course “Development Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.


Adobe. “New Year, New Leadership: 5 Skills Needed to Succeed in 2021. Melissa Williams. January 28, 2021.
Forbes. “Three Leadership Skill Shifts for 2021 and Beyond. Melissa Daimler. November 24, 2020.

Lessons from Female Leaders

There is a growing call for a more equal future with better representation of women as leaders.

We rally around the need to eliminate or reduce obstacles in the way of women on their paths to leadership. Yet, in a recent article in Harvard Business Review and a compelling Ted Talk, psychologist and author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic accounts for the inequity in another way – an overabundance of incompetent men as leaders.

In fact, he advocates for more obstacles in the way of men who lack the characteristics and abilities that data has demonstrated makes for more effective leaders, which in his assessment overwhelmingly favor women.

Here are his “sexist” lessons male leaders can learn from women:

Don’t lean in when you’ve got nothing to lean in about.

Stop falling for people who lean in without the talent to back it up. Use science-based assessments to more accurately gauge attributes.

Know your own limitations. 

We live in a culture that celebrates self-belief. Although studies show women are generally less overconfident than men, their more balanced self-view means they are better able to prepare, aiding competence and performance.

Motivate through transformation. 

Women are more likely to lead with purpose than men, who tend to rely on incentive. Purpose is tied with higher levels of team engagement, performance and productivity.

Put your people ahead of yourself. 

It’s very hard to turn a group of people into a high-performing team when your main focus is yourself. Because men are generally more-self-focused than women, they are more likely to lead in a narcissistic and selfish way.

Don’t command. Empathize.

Throughout history, women have been told they are too kind and caring to be leaders, but the notion that someone who is not kind and caring is at odds with reality. In today’s workplaces, it is an imperative for leaders to establish an emotional connection with their followers.

Focus on elevating others.

Female leaders have been proven to be more likely to coach, mentor and develop their direct reports than male leaders, thus enabling them to unlock other people’s potential and promote effective cooperation on their teams.

Don’t say you’re “humbled.” Be humble.

There are well-established gender differences in humility, and they also favor women. Humility is also a trait essential to great leadership. Without humility it will be very hard for anyone in charge to acknowledge their mistakes, learn from experience, take into account other people’s perspectives, and be willing to change and be better.

Dr. Tomas calls for a larger focus on equality of talent and potential as the best gender equality intervention. The ROI of male leaders should be scrutinized as strenuously as the ROI of female leaders.


The Institute for Women’s Leadership seeks to fulfill critical needs in the region and contribute to a more robust, broadly engaged and representative professional workforce and leadership with programs like “Women Rising” Stories from Experience” and “Rising Together: Caffeinated Conversations,” along with “Sharing Knowledge” workshops from qualified business members. For more information visit the website


Harvard Business Review. “7 Leadership Lessons Men Can Learn from Women,” April 1, 2020.
TedXCambridge. “Why We Should be More Sexist.”
Ideas.Ted.Com. “6 Things we can learn from how women leaders have handled the pandemic,” September 24, 2020.

Depression is Not a Normal Part of Getting Older

The mental health of older Americans has been identified as a priority by key national organizations. Mental health is essential to overall health and well-being and has increasingly become part of the public health mission.

It is estimated that 20% of people aged 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder).

Depression is the most prevalent mental health problem among older adults. It is associated with distress and suffering. It also can lead to impairments in physical, mental, and social functioning and can affect the course of treatment of other chronic diseases.

Older adults with depression visit the doctor and emergency room more often, use more medication, incur higher outpatient charges, and stay longer in the hospital.

Although the rate of older adults with depressive symptoms tends to increase with age, depression is not a normal part of growing older. Rather, in 80% of cases it is a treatable condition. Unfortunately, depressive disorders are a widely under-recognized condition and often are untreated or undertreated among older adults.

The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a screening test used to identify symptoms of depression in older adults. The GDS is frequently used in acute, long-term and community settings. Depression should not be diagnosed based on the GDS, but it is often part of a comprehensive geriatric assessment because of its established reliability and validity.

The GDS is available in a long-form that consists of 30 questions, and a more commonly used short-form that has 15 questions. There is also a five-item GDS that often provides similar results to the 15 questions.

The GDS consists of yes/no questions that assess a person’s level of enjoyment, interest, social interactions and more, with a focus on questions that distinguish older adults from younger populations.

A point is given for each answer that indicates depression. On the 15-question form, a score of over five points indicates a need for follow-up evaluation, while a score of over 10 almost always indicates depression.

The development of the GDS was funded by the Federal government and is free to use. According to multiple research studies, both the long and the short form GDS are quite accurate at identifying depression in older people.


15-Question GDS

Choose the best answer for how you have felt over the past week:

1. Are you basically satisfied with your life? YES / NO

2. Have you dropped many of your activities and interests? YES / NO

3. Do you feel that your life is empty? YES / NO

4. Do you often get bored? YES / NO

5. Are you in good spirits most of the time? YES / NO

6. Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you? YES / NO

7. Do you feel happy most of the time? YES / NO

8. Do you often feel helpless? YES / NO

9. Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing new things? YES / NO

10. Do you feel you have more problems with memory than most? YES / NO

11. Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now? YES / NO

12. Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now? YES / NO

13. Do you feel full of energy? YES / NO

14. Do you feel that your situation is hopeless? YES / NO

15. Do you think that most people are better off than you are? YES / NO


Committed to Healthy Aging

We are approaching a milestone in the aging population. By 2034 for the first time in U.S. history adults 65+ are projected to outnumber children under 18. This milestone will affect healthcare in a dramatic way, creating a demand for a new approach to healthy aging and specialized knowledge of the complex needs of older adults.

Wisconsin Caregiver Academy has created a noncredit Certificate Program in Geriatric Healthcare in order to meet this demand. The certificate comprises four core courses and two electives, including “Mental Health” and “Generations and Diversity in an Aging Society.”

The certificate is relevant to nurses, social workers or case managers. Learn how you can play a larger role in patient-centered care for older adults.

Center for Disease Control. “The State of Mental Health and Aging in America.”
Verywell Mind. “Overview of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS.” Esther Heerema, MSW, January 28, 2020.

The Multiplier Effect

Woman harvesting lettuce

Women in Leadership

In our last blog post we reviewed where women stand in the quest for gender equity based on a Declaration and Platform for Action developed by the UN in 1995.

Although the global community has a long way to go, there are bright spots, where innovative women “solutionaries” are pivoting not only to cope but to “build forward better.” These women are architecting transformative futures not only in government, but also in public service, business, in the climate movement and in entrepreneurship.

  • Lina Khalifeh from Jordan took her business online training women to deal with domestic violence
  • Leah Lizarondo from the US doubled the number of volunteers helping to provide much needed free food to those in need
  • Young water engineer Christelle Kwizera from Rwanda used her WE Empower grant money to ensure local schools had running water for access to hand washing
  • Bessie Schwarz from the US is working in 20 countries with Big Data to inform grassroots women’s groups about flood prevention

Recognizing women modeling sustainable business practices and gender equity ignites awareness about their positive multiplier effect, a term developed by economists but with great relevance to cultural gender change.

Repeated exposure of women leading, thriving and change-making improves perceptions of female possibility. Stories about female role models help adolescent girls and other women aspire to leadership positions.

Essentially the success of one woman is amplified by other women and so on, precipitating cumulative change.

The fact is, countries, employers, communities and households benefit when women have greater opportunity and agency.

Our blog post “Revisiting Gender Equality” shared news from New Zealand, Germany, Finland and Taiwan, countries led by female leaders, who are part of a new movement of leaders, caring more for group welfare than individual showmanship.

Yet how can we continue to encourage the multiplier effect when the current path to leadership is often won by risk-taking, competition and negotiation, behaviors women are less likely to pursue, according to research?

Here are some ideas:

Modeling Female Leadership — Mentorship, confidence building, media training and political education are all effective tools to increase adolescent girls’ and women’s aspirations and abilities.

Negotiating Strategies for Women — Women are strong negotiators. In fact, when women negotiate on behalf of others, they exceed men’s negotiated outcomes. However, when women negotiate for themselves they often experience backlash and hesitate to negotiate as strongly. Women can learn strategies to avoid this outcome.

Reducing Ambiguity in Career Paths — Vagueness heightens the potential for gender to play a role in price and salary negotiations. Reduce ambiguity by having transparent information about what career opportunities, resources or rewards are negotiable and what the standards are for attaining them.

It is only by rising together can women, their allies and executive leadership reduce the barriers to women attaining positions of leadership.


The Institute for Women’s Leadership seeks to fulfill critical needs in the region and contribute to a robust, more broadly engaged and representative professional workforce and leadership with programs like “Women Rising” Stories from Experience” and “Rising Together: Caffeinated Conversations,” along with “Sharing Knowledge” workshops from qualified business members. On May 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Intitute is hosting a Virtual Women’s Retreat, inspiring, an inspiring day of conversation, advice and shared experiences. For more information visit the website


International Leadership Association. “’Building Forward Better’ – Why Women’s Leadership Matters.” Amanda Ellis, 12 August 2020.
Harvard. “Women and Public Policy.”

Billion Dollar Outdoors

Wisconsin’s diverse outdoor recreation activities bring in billions of dollars year-round.

That is the finding of a recent report by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Office of Outdoor Recreation.

The report reiterates recent U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data showing Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry’s strong foundation contributes $7.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product. Over 93,000 jobs across diverse sectors – from tourism to manufacturing to retail and the arts – are supported by outdoor recreation and contribute $3.9 million in compensation to Wisconsinites. The pace of the industry’s growth was faster than Wisconsin’s overall economy prior to the COVID-19 pandemic: between 2012 and 2017, GDP from outdoor recreation grew by 12% while overall state GDP grew by 7%.

More Than Just a Bike Ride

The largest contribution to state GDP is from nature-based activities, led by motorcycling and ATVing, boating/fishing, RV-ing, and bicycling. Beyond nature-based outdoor recreation activities, other outdoor recreation activities that contribute to state GDP include field sports, game areas (includes golf and tennis), guided outfitting and tours, and festivals and sporting events.

Wisconsin is a National Powerhouse in Outdoor Recreation Manufacturing

Wisconsin ranks fifth among US states for share of jobs in outdoor recreation manufacturing and is home to headquarters and manufacturing facilities of dozens of well-known outdoor brands including Bending Branches, Burger Boat Company, Harley-Davidson, Johnson Outdoors, Mercury Marine, Mathews Archery, MirroCraft Boats, Pacific-Cycle, Planet Bike, Saris, St. Croix Rods, Trek Bicycles, Vortex Optics, Wigwam, Yamaha and more.

Outdoors and COVID

Getting outside has never been more important. Wisconsin’s outdoors provide wide-open spaces where people can responsibly distance while enhancing physical, mental, and social well-being. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are seeking outdoor experiences in unprecedented numbers. Even though Wisconsin’s economy was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s outdoor recreation industry is seeing the economic impact of this amplified interest. Business who were able to respond to changing recommendations reported increased demand for products, gear and services.

Amplified Interest by Spring 2020:

  • 371% increases for hikes and trailers on
  • 24% increase in sales of Wisconsin ATV trail passes
  • 100% increase in first-time buyers of Wisconsin fishing licenses
  • 18% more weekend visitations to Wisconsin state parks
  • 70% increase in national boat sales
  • 121% increase in national sales of leisure bikes
  • 10.8% increase in national RV sales



Attend the upcoming virtual a virtual Tourism Summit on Thursday, April 22, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., hosted by UW-Green Bay with collaboration of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Northeast Wisconsin destinations.

Outdoors enthusiasts spend money! The Tourism Summit is tailored for any business or frontline worker associated with tourism in Wisconsin, including restaurants, hotels, sporting goods retailers, ATV, boat or RV Dealers, other recreation and attractions, communities and more. The Tourism Summit is hosted by UW-Green Bay’s Division of Continuing Education and Community Engagement.

Learn more about the Tourism Summit by visiting or by contacting Judy Price, Outreach Specialist at and 920-366-8328.


Travel Wisconsin. “Report Shows Outdoor Recreation a Key Driver of Wisconsin Economy.” October 28, 2020.

Women’s Leadership – Where Do We Stand?

September 2020 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace. There, 189 countries committed to equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls.

In 1995, UN Women created a “Declaration and Platform for Action,” recognizing that the odds were systematically stacked against women and organized to address them.

In 25 years, how have these declarations translated to action?

It is sobering to note that not a single country has achieved full gender equality in practice in 2020. This is based on a framework of:

  • Economic participation and opportunity
  • Educational attainment
  • Health and survival
  • Political empowerment

Basic criteria. Life-defining criteria.

The top 10 countries are:

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. Nicaragua
  6. New Zealand
  7. Ireland
  8. Spain
  9. Rwanda
  10. Germany

The United States is 53rd.

The goal for the 25th Anniversary was to take stock and reflect on progress. The hope was to point to groundbreaking change for gender equality. Instead, with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, even the limited gains made in the past decades are at risk of being rolled back.

From the UN Secretary-General’s Brief:

The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems, which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.

Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex.

Yet in the face of these negative impacts, as we’ve pointed out in a previous blogpost, “Revisiting Gender Equity,” a new women’s leadership movement seems to be taking shape with a global call for “Generation Equality.”

The mantra of this movement is succinctly put by Melinda Gates, one of the most powerful women in philanthropy and praised by the UN-Secretary General as “visionary.”

This is how we emerge from the pandemic in all of its dimensions: by recognizing that women are not just victims of a broken world; the can be architects of a better one.

In our next blog posts, we will explore the ways this is being done around the world.


The Institute for Women’s Leadership was established in 2021. Located at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Institute provides participants the opportunity to expand transformational leadership skills, building a leadership a pipeline for Northeast Wisconsin. The Institute both embraces the Wisconsin Idea and serves the core and select missions of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in its commitment to inclusion, civic engagement, educational opportunity at all levels, and community-based partnerships. The Institute seeks to fulfill critical needs in the region and contribute to a robust, more broadly engaged and representative professional workforce and leadership. For more information visit the website 


International Leadership Association. “’Building Forward Better’ – Why Women’s Leadership Matters.” Amanda Ellis, 12 August 2020.
UN Women. Annual Report 2019-2020.
World Economic Forum. “Global Gender Gap Report 2020.” Insight Report.

Growing Optimism Around Vaccine

If you’ve been wondering about the impact of the coronavirus vaccine and the incidence of cases at nursing homes, you’ll be glad to know the latest news is positive.

According to a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the first nursing home inoculations in Wisconsin took place December 28, and in that week, Wisconsin homes reported 254 residents had contracted COVID-19. That was down from a high of 854 new cases the week of November 9.

But since the first week of vaccinations, nursing home cases have dropped 97%, their lowest level since May.

An analysis by the research arm of the American Health Care Association found that new cases dropped at a faster rate in nursing homes that had received vaccine than in ones that hadn’t. The analysis compared 797 homes that had vaccinated residents and staff in late December with more than 1,700 homes in the same counties that had not vaccinated.

Along with nurses, doctors and other health workers, residents and staff of nursing homes were the first Wisconsinites to get vaccinated. Most nursing home residents have now received both doses of the vaccine.

These dramatically improved numbers increase optimism about the promise of the vaccine.



Total doses administered: 1,568,329

Wisconsin residents with at least one dose: 986,387 (16.9% of the population)

Residents with both doses: 548,343 (9.4% of the population)

Residents 65 and older with at least one dose: 592,772 (58.3% of 65+ population)


For people wanting help with vaccine-related questions, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has launched a toll-free telephone hotline: 844-684-1064.


Dedicated to Quality Care

The Wisconsin Caregiver Academy is dedicated to ensuring quality care at community-based residential facilities and continues to train trainers and caregiving staff.

New train-the-trainer sessions have been scheduled through June 2021. When taking a train-the-trainer course, employees can become state-approved trainers for assisted living providers. This eliminates the cost and burden of having to bring in outside trainers into your facility to train staff. You, an employee or a consultant can become a state-approved trainer!

See All Dates by Topic:

Medication Administration
Standard Precautions
Fire Safety
First Aid and Choking

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Wisconsin nursing homes see a 97% drop in COVID-19 cases since the first week of vaccinations.” Sarah Volpenhein and Alison Dirr. March 4, 2021.