Empowering Conservative College Leaders at the NeW Leadership Retreat

Before the school year kicked off, NeW chapter leaders from across the United States come together in Austin, TX for the NeW Leadership Retreat from Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7. The NeW Leadership Retreat gives conservative women an opportunity to build relationships with other like-minded women, prepare for the academic year ahead, and empower them in their conservative values so they can encourage others on their college campuses to speak up.  

Friday morning chapter leaders started by being welcomed and hearing from Karin Lips, President of NeW, who talked about opportunity feminism and what the future of the conservative movement could look like under this. She also held a breakout session that went over preparing for an interview while Kathryn Alford, NeW Communications Director, held a graphic workshop that taught women how to create graphics for their chapter’s social media accounts.  

Attendees then heard from Julie Warren, Director of State Initiatives for Right on Crime for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Warren discussed how issues such as criminal justice, education reform, child marriage, female genitalia mutilation, and human trafficking are all issues that should be bipartisan.  

Afterward, chapter leaders walked a couple of blocks to the Texas State Capitol and took a tour of the capitol building. The women learned about the history of the capitol building as well as some fun facts about the state itself. 

Following the tour, the women heard from Allie Beth Stuckey, author of You’re Not Enough (& That’s Okay) Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love and host of the Relatable podcast. Stuckey touched on a variety of different topics including how young women do not need to be influencers to have an influence. She explained how God has placed each of us where we are right now to specifically influence those around us. The evening ended with a meet and greet and book signing with Stuckey.  

On Saturday morning, the women got to explore Austin during the chapter photoshoot. Following the excursion, the leaders heard from Karin Lips and Alexis Flowers, NeW Director of Programs, about 501(c)(3) compliance and the different resources that are available to chapter leaders. This session was followed by a conversation with Stacy Hock, Private Investor and Former Texas GOP Victory 2020 Chairwoman. Hock spoke about how to become a generation of difference makers and how we can have an impact at the state, local, and campus levels of our communities.  

After a regional networking lunch, Alford hosted a communications general session that covered practices such as graphic design resources, how to market NeW chapters on social media, and the best ways to take photos. Then Ellen Troxclair; a small business owner, former Austin City Council Member, and author of Step Up! How to Advocate Like a Woman; held an advocacy workshop where she discussed how to advocate for yourself and combat the confidence gap. 

The rest of the afternoon was filled with informative sessions on the ways to best run a college NeW chapter as well as professional development sessions. Chloe Sparwarth, NeW Campus Program Coordinator, hosted a session going over the best practices to implement when running a college chapter while Julia Canzano, NeW Campus Program and Events Coordinator, hosted a session on how to grow a chapter’s legacy on campus. After, Alford and Canzano held persuasive writing and speaking workshops respectively. 

The evening concluded with all of the chapter leaders and NeW staff coming together for a dinner and chapter awards celebration. NeW chapter award winners included American University, Baylor University, Boston College, Seton Hall University, University of South Carolina, University of South Florida, and West Virginia University. 

The Leadership Retreat wrapped up on Sunday morning with two different panel sessions. The first was a panel consisting of Flowers alongside Aly Mikesell from Baylor University and Darien Barrera from the University of South Florida. The leaders discussed and shared tips on how to run successful chapter events such as applying early for Pink Perks and working closely with your campus coordinator during the planning process. 

The final panel of the day was with Amanda Covo, CEO of Teneo, and Simone Ledeen, Principal at Perimus Consulting, LLC. These women went over different leadership lessons that NeW chapter leaders would not find in a normal textbook as well as shared their own experiences in the workplace. 

The 2022 NeW Leadership Retreat was a great way for chapter leaders to network and build relationships with other like-minded women, prepare for the academic year ahead by receiving useful information about how to better run their NeW chapter, as well as become more confident in their conservative values so they can empower and encourage others on their college campuses to speak up. 

Peyton Smith is currently a senior at Seton Hall University and a Communications Intern for the Network of enlightened Women. 

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