Phenomenal Women shed light on the journey to leadership

(L-R) 2024 Phenomenal Women: Dr. Marie Wiles, Mary Grover, Bryna Moritz, Dr. Jennifer Steimle.

Nearly 130 attendees tuned into our third annual NYSAWA Celebrates Phenomenal Women virtual event on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Participants heard from women leaders Dr. Marie Wiles, Superintendent of Guilderland Central Schools, Mary Grover, Assistant Superintendent of Inclusion of Ithaca City Schools, Dr. Jennifer Steimle, Superintendent of Greenwich Central Schools and Bryna Moritz, Deputy Superintendent of Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.

Dr. Wiles opened the event with her keynote address, titled “To Thine Own Self Be True.” Through the lens of this timeless adage from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Wiles reflected on the importance of leading with honesty and integrity.

“For us, we all need to live the words of ’to thine own self be true,’ but we also need to be true to ourselves in the interests of the children we serve. That is the higher calling,” Wiles said.

Mary Grover followed with “Teaching, Learning and Leading: An exploration of the students and teachers who have impacted my story as a teacher and leader,” a selection of experiences that helped guide her journey in education and leadership.

“Teaching is hard. But you know what else is hard? Being a kid. The challenges are real. It requires a lot of empathy in everything we do…We have the right kids,” Grover said.

Bryna Moritz presented “Challenging Limiting Beliefs,” which encouraged attendees to focus on what they want, what they are good at, and what they need.

“Every time I’ve chosen bravery over perfection, I have found my life got better and the difference I can make for others grew,” Moritz said.

To end the presentations, Dr. Jennifer Steimle touched upon her “Five Lessons,” emphasizing the value of life experiences, networking, authenticity, meaningful connections, and a positive approach to failure.

“Influence has to do with people, not titles. We need to listen. Really listen. Your legacy is in your people,” Steimle said.

To close the evening, attendees participated in breakout sessions, led by NYSAWA board members, on the issues discussed in the presentations. In these intimate sessions, leaders were able to connect with other professionals from all over the state.

Feeling inspired? Become a member to keep up the momentum

NYSAWA is a collective of professionals in all levels of education in New York state with a goal of fostering and promoting leadership and positioning its members for personal and professional success. NYSAWA hosts statewide events twice a year, and local affiliates host up to three per year.

While all are welcome to attend NYSAWA events, like Phenomenal Women, members receive admission at a discounted rate. Learn more about joining NYSAWA, today.