ILS shares national award with Marin Women's Commission

Dominican University of California’s Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) alliance with the Marin Women’s Commission was recognized at “Bridge to Equality,” the 43rd Annual Conference and Business Meeting of the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW) in San Jose last month.

The Marin Women’s Commission, which has partnered with ILS since 2004, received an NACW Achievement  Award for its Strategic Alliance with Dominican. The project was designed to create greater sustainability and impact for the MWC, which in 2005 had a budget under $10,000.

Two specific departments, the ILS and Dominican's Women & Gender Studies program, have worked extensively with MWC over the last eight years. The focus of the joint projects has been to positively impact Marin women and girls through leadership development, research, and policy-making. Annual events developed from this alliance invite women to discuss specific issues such as equal pay, gender economics, senior women, gender politics, women in sports, etc.

“As a result of our Strategic Plan in 2005, the Marin Women’s Commission began to strategize on how to increase resources and community leverage in its work.  MWC focused on building a strong relationship with Dominican, the county’s only four-year university,” says Cecilia Zamora, executive director of the Marin Latino Council and a member of MWC, and current President of NACW. “The intention was to leverage University resources so that MWC projects could be more sustainable and impactive in the community, as well as give Marin women more access to Dominican University campus and activities.”

Through the alliance, MWC has utilized leadership models and programs developed with ILS. MWC has held its leadership programs on DU Campus, worked with graduate interns on resource and development projects, and has had access to Women & Gender Studies students and the student body at large.

In return, Dominican and ILS have been able to extend its reach to Marin’s community of women and girls through the MWC network.

“The partnership of the Marin Women’s Commission with Dominican is guided by the mutual commitment that women’s leadership effectively impacts systems’ change so that women of all ages are empowered, educated and engaged in the community,” Zamora says. “In addition, (ILS founder and Executive Director) Denise Lucy has played an extraordinary support role in terms of guiding the women’s commission as a partner and bringing Dominican into the women’s community through our programs as well as the commission bringing our network onto the Dominican campus and to ILS programs like the Leadership Speaker Series.”