Nancy Ballard
ECU Women's Roundtable member Nancy Ballard listens as book club members discuss the book "Executive Presence" during a Nov. 6 meeting. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU Women's Roundtable Book Club meets for leadership discussion

Nov. 16, 2015

By Summer Tillman
ECU News Services

Twelve women dedicated to empowering female leaders at East Carolina University met Nov. 6 for a discussion on leadership.

Held at Chancellor Steve and Nancy Ballard’s residence, the third biannual Women’s Roundtable Book Club, Sister Talk, invited students, faculty and administrators to share in a dialogue modeled around this year’s book selection, “Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success.”

Written by critically acclaimed author Sylvia Ann Hewlett, “Executive Presence” guides professionals on becoming leadership material through practical tips on behavior, speech and appearance.
Members of the ECU Women's Roundtable who met for Sister Talk included, standing left to right, Martha Logemann, Toya Jacobs, Nancy Ballard, Sarah Moran and Stephanie Bunn; and front row left to right, Jamitress Bowden, Skylar Farnell, Taylor Harrison, and Makaila Harrison. Attendees not pictured are Janae Brown, Kenya Shakir and Dr. Virginia Hardy.

Hewlett is the founder of Hewlett Consulting Partners and the president and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation, a company dedicated to leveraging diverse global talent. Hewlett’s career spans 20 years in global talent management and 12 published books focused on women and minorities in the workplace.

ECU graduate student Sarah Moran said that Sister Talk has allowed her to read and appreciate books she wouldn’t normally have discovered on her own. “It’s allowed me to understand the importance of reading,” said Moran, who has attended Sister Talk twice before. “You can live and breathe leadership but if you don’t read about it and learn about it from other people, you don’t really get as much of an impact.”

The Women’s Roundtable board places an emphasis on leadership, philanthropy and mentorship between ECU students and female leaders on campus. In 2013, they launched Sister Talk to facilitate conversation and provide mentorship to ECU students.

“The (Women’s) Roundtables are great because it helps create mentorships from young students all the way up to women who have been in the workforce for plenty of years,” said Moran.

Board Members Nancy Ballard and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Virginia Hardy took part in the dialogue, which covered topics from corporate decorum to speech and confidence.

Sister Talk welcomed input from new members, including Access Scholars and nursing majors Makaila and Taylor Harrison; Chancellor’s Student Leadership Academy Scholar and graphic design major Janae Brown; and Engineering and Neuroscience double-major Skylar Farnell.

Education and Awareness Coordinator for the Office of Equality and diversity Jamitress Bowden led this year’s discussion. “It’s great to be able to work as the liaison between the board and the book club (to) keep it going,” said Bowden who serves as the Women’s Roundtable Associate board member. “It’s exciting to see other women and connect with them and learn so much about philanthropy, giving and leadership.”

The Women’s Roundtable continues to offer merit- and need-based scholarships through Access Scholars and the Honors College.