Concordia’s Women in Leadership connect at community luncheon

The Concordia Courier

Representatives from Women in Business club volunteer at the event

By Madison Zuniga | 4/12/2024

On Fri., March 22, the Advancing Women in Leadership Committee hosted the Lead With Joy Luncheon to celebrate Concordia’s women faculty and staff members. With over 50 in-person attendees and many more joining virtually, the event connected and commemorated women from across the Concordia community.

“We strategically host this event in March, which is Women’s History Month,” said Dr. Ashlie Andrew, the co-chair for Advancing Women in Leadership and the Director of Organizational Leadership at the Townsend Institute. “This is just an opportunity to all come together to help to uplift and find ways to encourage women to pursue leadership positions in their respective vocations.” 

Andrew, who works remotely for the school, flew to Irvine to attend the event. “Faculty and staff are tuning in from all across the country, and it’s wonderful to have them with our resident faculty and staff as well,” she said.

“These luncheons are ways for the women on our campus to get together to share in the joys and the struggles of what it means to be a woman in leadership,” said Jessica James, Assistant Director of Orientation and Student Activities. “We learn from each other and we can then take those lessons into the broader Concordia community.”

The theme of the luncheon was Leading With Joy, and the panel featured female leaders across disciplines and careers. The panelists from Concordia were Monique Nunes, Associate Dean for Student Engagement, Dr. Barbara Howard, Director of Assessment and Accreditation in the School of Education and Heather Vezner, Dean of the School of Education. Noel Fairchild, the Director of Christian Education at Light of Christ, and Dr. Mary Scott, the CEO of Orange Lutheran High School, also served as panelists. 

“For me, leading with joy and with other women means finding ways to be full as a person, so that in our fullness we can serve each other,” said Zoë Litzenberg, Assistant Director of the Writing Studio. “A lot of my job is helping to connect with students and faculty, so an event like this is really fun and valuable, because it is all about the connections that we have to each other.”

“It’s amazing to have the opportunity to be here and learn from the leaders that are not only teaching us but guiding us, and learning from professionals who have really invaluable experience,” said Claire Oppedahl, president of the Women in Business club. Representatives of the club volunteered at the luncheon by helping with the check-in process. “We’re grateful to be here to help serve all of the women on campus!”

“It’s nice to see students here and all of our employees,” Vezner said, “It’s good to be able to come together to participate in professional development and communication and conversations centering around empowering and advancing women.”

“We are just so excited to pour into our community here on campus and at large and support up and coming leaders through mentoring and providing events,” said Dr. Lori Doyle, Director of the M.A. Educational Leadership and committee member for Advancing Women in Leadership. “We are always open to ideas from our community on how we can best serve. We just love to show how events and camaraderie and collegiality and research can all come together as we support our present leaders and future leaders on campus and also beyond our campus. It’s just an honor to be a part of this group!”

For more information about Advancing Women in Leadership, contact co-chair Ashlie Andrew at


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