President of the League of Black Women to speak on campus

The head of a national organization that provides strategic leadership research about black women will be on campus Nov. 29 to discuss how black women can be change leaders.

Sandra Finley, president and CEO of the League of Black Women, will speak on “The Disruptive Power of Black Women Leading Change.” She is part of the African American Workshop and Speaker Series, sponsored by the Office of the President.

Her talk will be from noon to 1 p.m. in the Erb Memorial Union ballroom. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., and a question-and-answer period will follow the address. An RSVP is requested.

At the league, Finley has focused on advocating for leadership success for black women and girls. Finley says she is committed to innovative leadership research that taps the authentic voices of black women and not only describes the unique challenges and dilemmas facing black women leaders but also works to provide black women with strategic resources to solve them.

"The choice to make change is a simultaneous embrace of the power of disruption," Finley said. "Black women are forced to fight, constantly, on the front lines of everything dangerous and destructive in our society. Therefore, they have become expert at formulating and delivering the strategic and disruptive strike force that transforms everything. That takes power that we can no longer overlook and underplay."

Vice President for the Division of Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh believes this is a critical time to have Finley on campus.

“In our recent election we had a historic number of women, and specifically black women and other women of color, be elected to a vast array of government offices, yet explicit and implicit racism and sexism is widespread,” she said. “Sustainable leadership and strategies to face challenges are more important than ever to the success of our students and their futures.”

Finley has represented the league nationally and internationally, including at The White House Forum on Women and The Economy; the European Union Commission Global Summit on Women Stabilizing an Insecure World in Brussels, Belgium; and the Harvard Business School symposium “Gender and Work: Relationships Among Women: Bridging, Generational and Global Divides.”

Finley is graduate of Loyola University. She has been a board member of organizations that include the Illinois Health Maintenance Organization Guaranty Association and the Union League of Chicago Committee on Race. In 2013, she was honored with the Award for Racial Justice from the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

Alex-Assensoh added, “As the leader of the premier leadership organization for black women nationally, Finley offers a holistic approach to strategic leadership advancement for black women that is effective and empowering for them, other women of color and allies.”

The African American Speaker and Workshop Series came about as a result of the 2016 demands of the Black Student Task Force. It is sponsored by the Office of the President and coordinated by the Division of Equity and Inclusion and brings to campus scholars and practitioners who are experts in a range of equity and inclusion issues.

This is the third year of the series. For further information, check the Division of Equity and Inclusion website.

—By tova stabin, University Communications