Student Engagement

We Lead

We Lead:  Empowerment and Leadership Conference

Save the Date for We Lead 2023: November 4


Previous Event Information:

Saturday, October 29, 2022


Register for We Lead HERE!

We Lead gives Iowa State students the opportunity to hone their leadership skills, engage in interactive discussions and sessions, network with other leaders from campus and the community, and reflect on their own identities, leadership qualities, and strengths in their respective roles at Iowa State and beyond. The theme for the conference is Leadership Beyond and will focus on the many ways that leadership can show up in our lives, especially for those with marginalized gender identities. The event will feature a variety of sessions that will focus specifically on “Beyond the Binary”, “Beyond #GirlBoss”, and “Beyond Graduation”, with a keynote address from Roberta Blevins, as seen in Amazon’s DocuSeries LuLaRich and her podcast, “Life After MLM”.


This event may be of particular interest to women (cis, trans, or otherwise), nonbinary individuals, nongendered students, or those who are looking to engage in dialogue around gender and leadership.


The event schedule is as follows (Note: more information on room locations are TBD):

9:30 AM - Check-in
10:00 AM - Welcome
10:15 AM - Roberta Blevins (Keynote Speaker)
  • Throughout her entire life, Roberta Blevins has been thrust into positions of reluctant leadership, navigating unknown spaces with confidence and a strong desire to do what is needed. When she unknowingly found herself neck deep in a dangerous culty pyramid scheme, she only had two choices: maintain the "fake it until you make it lifestyle", or blow the scam out of the water. Overnight, Roberta found herself torn between loyalty and doing the right thing in a long journey that ultimately made her an antihero in a movement to expose the truth.

11:00 AM - Break
11:15 AM - First Breakout Session
  • Beyond #GirlBoss : Led by Roberta Blevins

    • After leaving the MLM world, and exposing the scam she helped promote, Roberta Blevins had to navigate a life outside her comfort zone. After an extensive healing process; telling her story, facing her bully, getting justice, moving on after pain and a mental health diagnosis, she has landed on top. Through her own activism and advocacy, Roberta has become a leader in a space she had to create herself, compassion based education for those leaving high demand situations.

  • Beyond the Binary : Who Gets to Lead?

    • In this session, you will learn more about the social and historical contexts for women and leadership, including a review of the multiple waves of feminism and the role of identity, intersectionality, and efficacy in leadership development. Through self-reflection and interactive activity, you will leave the session with a leadership action plan reflecting a commitment to de-gendering leadership and sustaining critical hope.

12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Second Breakout Session
  • Beyond #GirlBoss : Saying No to Hustle Culture

    • Hustle culture is everywhere, from Beyonce telling us to "grind til we own it" to Instagram reels of #BossBabes who seem to have it all. But behind those slick pictures and inspirational hashtags, hustle culture can take a toll -- especially on women and queer folks, who are often encouraged to turn our entire lives into one huge side hustle. In this session, we'll explore what hustle culture is, how it can lead to burnout, how t spot when you're being sold to hustle culture, and most importantly how to opt out of the hustle and nurture a more balanced life.

  • Beyond the Binary : Navigating Professional Spaces (Graduate Student Panel)

    • Navigating professional spaces as a person with a marginalized identity can be difficult, especially as it relates to gender, sexuality, and expression. This panel, consisting of graduate students with various marginalized identities, seeks out personal narratives, experiences, and advice on navigating professional spaces as it relates to these identities.

1:45PM - Break
2:00PM - Third Breakout Session
  • Beyond the Binary : Differences in Campus and Professional Leadership (Staff and Faculty Panel)

    • Finding leadership on campus can be difficult while possessing a marginalized identity, and it can be even more difficult in professional spaces after college. This panel, consisting of professional staff and faculty members, seeks out personal narratives, experiences, and advice on the differences between campus and professional leadership for folks of marginalized identities.

  • Beyond Graduation : Navigating Scholarly Spaces

    • This informal, interactive session will be a conversation for those considering graduate school or who are already graduate students. Sandra Marcu, Director of the Margaret Sloss Center for Women & Gender Equity, and Kelly Winfrey, Interim Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, will share how they have navigated scholarly spaces and answer questions for students. Some discussion topics may include applying for and choosing a graduate program, belonging, campus resources, mental health, imposter syndrome, and whatever else attendees want to discuss. Students will be able to submit questions or topics for discussion anonymously.

2:45 PM - Break
3:00 PM - Closing
3:30PM - Mentorship Meet and Greet
  • This post-event meet and greet serves to provide student participates with the ability to connect with leaders from across Iowa State that may share similar experiences and identities.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is We Lead for?

We Lead is for anyone who wants to expand their idea of leadership and build skills to become a transformative leader. We Lead centers the voices and experiences of people who may not typically see themselves represented in leadership roles, particularly women and gender-expansive individuals. However, anyone who wants to build their leadership skills and experiences can benefit from attendance at We Lead. 

I identify as a cisgender man. Can I attend We Lead?

Yes! We Lead centers the experiences and voices of people who might not typically see themselves reflected in leadership roles – particularly women and gender-expansive people. However, We Lead is open to anyone who wishes to explore leadership and how they can become a transformative leader. 

Is We Lead just for women to attend?

No – people of any gender are welcome to attend! We Lead centers the experiences and voices of people who might not typically see themselves reflected in leadership roles – particularly women and gender-expansive people. However, We Lead is open to anyone who wishes to explore leadership and how they can become a transformative leader. 

Are trans individuals included in We Lead?

Absolutely! We Lead centers the voices and experiences of women and gender-expansive people, and this explicitly includes trans people (whether binary-affirmed or non-binary).  

Do the We Lead informational sessions only focus on "women's" issues?

No! We Lead sessions cover a wide variety of leadership topics, particularly those of interest to people who may not typically see themselves represented in leadership roles. This includes issues important to women (cis and trans) and gender-expansive individuals, but is not limited to them. 

I want to attend but I need accommodations. Who do I speak to?

Please reach out to Hayley Goddard ( or Reed Blanchard ( with any accommodation needs you may have.  

I have dietary restrictions. Will there be food alternatives available?

We will have vegetarian and gluten free options available. If you have other special dietary needs, please email Hayley Goddard ( or Reed Blanchard ( We also encourage you to bring snacks that fit your dietary needs. 

What happens if I register for the event but can't attend?

If you register for the event but cannot attend, please email Hayley Goddard ( with any updates. We understand that circumstances may arise that conflict with attendance of this event. 

Can I bring guests that are not ISU students, staff, or faculty?

This event is catered primarily to ISU students, staff, and faculty. We strongly encourage participants to refrain from inviting guests outside of the campus community. 

Is there childcare available?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide childcare for participants. We hope that hosting this event on a weekend will remove any barriers to attending this event for participants with children. 

Where should I park for the event?

You may park in the Memorial Union parking ramp or the Gerdin parking lot. Please note that parking validation will not be available for the Memorial Union parking ramp and parking is free at the Gerdin parking lot on weekends. Please see the maps at this link: 

Is there a dress code for the event?

There is no formal dress code for this event. We encourage all participants to wear whatever allows them to be comfortable sitting for long periods of time. 

What should I bring with me?

You should feel free to bring items that will allow you to be comfortable and focused throughout the day. Some things that may be helpful: 

  • A laptop, or another way to take notes 

  • Something to write on and with 

  • Any snacks you may need throughout the day 

  • A refillable water bottle 

  • A sweater or other layers if you tend to get cold – October can be unpredictable! 

  • Any medication you typically take during the day 


Have a question that isn't listed? Contact with any questions!

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