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NSU faculty participate in APA’s Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology

Program focuses on enhancing leadership positions for mid-career women

When College of Psychology Associate Professor Leanne Boucher, Ph.D., heard about leadership training for women psychologists in mid-career, she knew it was for her.

Leanne Boucher Sarah Valley-Gray

“It seemed to just speak to me,” said Boucher, of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.

A tweet from the American Psychological Association’s Twitter account directed Boucher to their Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology, or LIWP. The program has several goals, including increasing the diversity and effectiveness of women psychologists in academic, practice and leadership positions, and creating networks of women in leadership positions.

Participation in LIWP involves a three-day course, which Boucher attended in 2017. The course teaches participants what their own leadership style is and involves small group discussions. It covered topics like how to set and achieve realistic goals, or how to negotiate with parties for conflict management.

“It really was a fantastic experience,” she said. “I met a lot of women who are interested in helping other women become the best professional versions of themselves that they can be.”

Boucher said the workshop has made her think more purposefully about where she wants her career to go.

“You work so hard to get to where you are, and then what?” she said. “It’s being intentional about what you want the next step to be.”

Professor Sarah Valley-Gray, Psy.D., of the Department of Clinical and School Psychology, participated in the workshop in 2012 and said it was a good experience.

“People bring up professional issues, and you get to hear what other issues women struggle with in advancing their careers, and how to solve problems,” Valley-Gray said.

Valley-Gray said the workshop connected her to a larger group of women with similar goals, and she appreciated hearing perspectives from other universities.

The second part of Boucher’s involvement with LIWP involved a day of advocacy on Capitol Hill. Participants were matched up with their representatives, and Boucher visited the offices of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. The subject: Gun violence as a women’s issue, particularly regarding intimate partner violence. Boucher noted that intimate partner violence affects about 10 million people each year, one in four of which are women, and one in seven of which are men.

Boucher advocated for the creation of a database of gun violence occurrences to study the data and inform public policy in a way that allows for people to safely own firearms.

“It was a really productive conversation,” Boucher said of meeting staffers in all three offices.

One year after the initial workshop, Boucher said she has focused on her long-time desire to write a book. She’s now working on two children’s books about the brain, one for younger audiences, and other for tweens/teens.

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