Tarleton Women’s Mentoring Network Celebrates Women’s History Month

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STEPHENVILLE — What started as a way to support writing accountability among women has evolved into an organized effort of substantive mentoring at Tarleton State University.

The Women’s Mentoring Network (WMN) is an informal group focused on community, connections, networking opportunities, and social and professional development for women faculty and staff.

This month the group is hosting a discussion on “Voice, Place and Space.” Four panelists will present the 4 p.m. Thursday, March 4, virtual event:

• Dr. Jensen Branscombe, Assistant Professor, History Department

• Becky Gray, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology and CIO

• Eva Lopez, Director of Employee Services

• Dr. Kim McCuistion, Vice President for External Operations and Dean of Tarleton-Fort Worth

Visit www.tarleton.edu/womensmentoring and click “Get Involved” to join the Zoom symposium.

WMN founder Lora Helvie-Mason, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, will facilitate the panel. “This group truly is a network,” she noted, “a place for our women to find connections in purposeful mentoring relationships and a sense of community while navigating careers in higher education.”

Dr. Helvie-Mason established the Women’s Mentoring Network in 2019 to elevate the profile of women on Tarleton’s campus. She started with a small group, who spread the word; regular gatherings were held, and during the first year the network grew to almost 60 members.

For the past two years, WMN has hosted a Women in Leadership Speaker Series, provided short-term mentoring, shared higher ed leadership trends and helped connect members to external resources such as the Texas Women in Higher Education network.

Executive team member Dr. Misty Smith, Assistant Professor of Social Work, said that “new mentorships and partnerships have been forged, junior faculty and staff are finding their paths among allies, women are applying for fellowships and higher-level opportunities, we are identifying new paths and investigating career coaching, and members are meeting outside of WMN times to connect.”

Several women documented their WMN experiences in letters to the organization. The letters were accepted for publication in the Journal of Texas Women School Executives.

“The WMN provided an opportunity for me to connect with other professional women on campus with similar goals and aspirations,” said executive team member Dr. Christy Tabors, Manager of Research and Learning for Tarleton Libraries. “I’ve met so many wonderful women across Tarleton, whom I’ve come to work with on projects and other initiatives. The members of this group encouraged me and helped me develop confidence to pursue my career dreams. I’m truly indebted to these amazing professionals!”

The interdisciplinary executive team comprises Dr. Lora Helvie-Mason (chair) and Dr. Nathalie Jones, Social Work; Dr. Sarah Maben, Communication Studies; Dr. Sharon Ross, Education; Dr. Misty Smith, Social Work; Dr. Christy Tabors, University Libraries; and Dr. Elizabeth Wallace, Student Affairs.

“Mentoring is one of my passions,” Jones said, “and the Women’s Mentoring Network is another way we can connect to build and encourage a great community of Tarleton staff, scholars and teachers.”

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