Institute for Women’s Leadership announces new leaders, updates to advisory council

2022, IWL, Jennica Webster, Melissa Shew, Leah Flack

Dr. Jennica Webster, associate professor of management in the College of Business Administration, has been named director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership. Dr. Leah Flack, chair and professor of English, and Dr. Melissa Shew, teaching associate professor of philosophy, each of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, have been named co-directors.

Webster was a member of the IWL’s inaugural leadership team, announced in 2019. The former director of the IWL, Andrea Schneider, was appointed professor of law and director of the Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution at Cardozo School of Law, the law school of Yeshiva University in New York City.

“I am very excited to announce Dr. Jennica Webster as the new director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Marquette,” said Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation. “She has done extensive research and scholarship on the issues of equity and social justice in terms of gender, race and sexuality in the workplace. Along with our new co-directors, Dr. Leah Flack and Dr. Melissa Shew, we have a leadership team which is uniquely qualified to lead together at this time and continue the important mission of the IWL to foster an inclusive community of leaders and faculty, a vibrant research environment, and programming that challenges and elevates the discourse around important topics of gender equity and social justice.”

Webster began at Marquette in 2010. During her time at Marquette, she has served in several leadership roles, including on University Academic Senate and Faculty Council, as well as the committee chair for the June and Herman Loebl Women Business Leaders Speaker Series. Her research expertise includes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and occupational health in the workplace.

Extensively published in leading academic journals and a contributor to media outlets including Forbes and Harvard Business Review, Webster is a regular speaker at national and international conferences such as the Academy of Management and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Additionally, she has worked on a large-scale research grant funded through the National Science Foundation and has provided consulting services to organizations on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and employee engagement and well-being.

Flack also came to Marquette in 2010 as a member of the English Department, where she has been department chair since 2019. Author of two books — “Modernism and Homer” and “James Joyce and Classical Modernism” — she is interested in how and why ancient literature has helped modern writers to innovate through crisis and to affirm the enduring value of literature in an ever-changing world. She serves as the faculty adviser for N4@MU, Wisconsin’s first chapter of the global nonprofit Narrative 4, where she also serves on the National University Advisory Board. She is currently working on a project that considers the wisdom of literature for 21st century leaders and another that examines the real-world impact storytelling experiences have on women’s personal and professional trajectories.

Shew has been a participating faculty member at Marquette since 2007. She also serves as faculty director of the Executive MBA program and as a senior faculty fellow in the Center for Teaching and Learning where she supports the development of her faculty colleagues across campus. She co-edited “Philosophy for Girls: An Invitation to the Life of Thought,” in 2020. She then co-edited and contributed to “On the Vocation of the Educator in this Moment,” a collection of 30 Marquette faculty and staff reflections that capture a specific moment in time as educators across the country and around the world were called to rethink their pedagogical strategies and vocations in 2021. She also delivered, “Women and Intellectual Empowerment,” a TEDx Talk in June 2021.

“I want to thank Professor Schneider for her leadership in getting the IWL off the ground,” Hossenlopp said. “As its first director, she played a pivotal role in establishing a mission and culture around the IWL that has blossomed into a robust and thriving community of faculty and researchers aligned behind the institute’s values. I wish her the best of luck in her new position.”

Krista Brookman to serve as Advisory Council Chair; council welcomes five new members

The IWL also announced that Krista Brookman, senior director of diversity and inclusion at Northwestern Mutual, will serve in the newly created chair position on the IWL Advisory Council. The council has welcomed four new members, as well, in Tammy Belton-Davis, founder and president of Athena Communications; Jennifer Dirks, president and CEO of TEMPO; Mark Naidicz, HR executive-in-residence in the College of Business Administration and former HR executive at AbbVie; and Mary Alice Tierney, former vice president of communications at Aurora Health Care. Alexandra Quintana, a junior in the College of Business Administration, has joined the council as student representative.

The IWL Advisory Council also includes current and former executives from BMO Harris, Nike, Spartan and Fiserv, among others.

The Institute for Women’s Leadership builds upon Marquette University’s historic role as the first coeducational Catholic university in the world beginning in 1909. The mission of the IWL is to support and conduct cutting-edge gender research and build transformational experiences and relationships that empower women and advance women’s leadership.