The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Keynote Speakers - 2022

Thursday, November 3, 2022

9:45-10:30 am  Opening Keynote Speaker:

Elizabeth J. Whitt
Professor, Department of Sociology
University of California, Merced

Which Way is Up?

 Evidence of profound changes in our lives as leaders, and women, in higher education surrounds us – even bombards us – on a daily basis. As individuals and as communities of educators we are called to create clear pathways for the success of our students and our institutions, but how do we do that when it seems our old maps don’t fit the new and sometimes scary territory in which we find ourselves? We begin the conference by exploring some new and some not-so-new challenges, and taking a fresh look at our opportunities, on the way up.


Dr. Elizabeth J. Whitt is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Merced, where she also served as Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education. She also was an academic administrator focused on undergraduate student success at Saint Louis University and The University of Iowa, and served as a graduate faculty member in higher education and student affairs at The University of Iowa, University of Illinois at Chicago, Iowa State University, and Oklahoma State University.  Professor Whitt’s research and scholarship focus on institutional conditions for student success; cultures in colleges and universities; partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs; and issues and trends in student affairs practice and effectiveness.


12:00-1:30 pm   Lunch

The Way Up Scholarship and Recognition Awards:

* Carol Rocklin Kay Memorial Scholarship
* Eunice A. Dell Memorial Scholarship
*“Iowa Community Colleges Support The Way Up” Scholarship

* Recognition Award

5:30 - 7:30pm   Evening Banquet with Dinner Speaker

Dinner Speaker

Yves Salomon-Fernández
Senior Vice President for Operations Planning
Southern New Hampshire University

Beyond the Great Resignation: Assessing Our Priorities and Passions

The pandemic has given many of us an opportunity to pause and reflect on how our lives are going. For some of us, myself included, taking stock of what we have accomplished, what we cherish, and what we missed provided insight into how we want to live our lives differently. During this period dubbed “the Great Resignation” or “the Great Attrition”, there are many opportunities available to women. Within and outside of higher education, new challenges await. In this session, Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernández will share her experiences on changing course in the midst of the pandemic and what she has gained from doing so. The audience will have a chance to reflect on what matters most to them and collectively create a list of criteria for living the lives they choose.


Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernández is a nationally-recognized, future-focused thought leader, and former college president who led institutions in suburban and rural settings in Massachusetts and New Jersey. She currently serves as Senior Vice President for Operations Planning at Southern New Hampshire University. Her career includes a balance of administration, research, and teaching. Internationally, she has served as an election observer with the United Nations in Mexico and as a consultant for the Bermuda Ministry of Education. She frequently speaks on issues related to women’s advancement; diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging.


Friday, November 4, 2022

11:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch

Closing Speaker:

Kristie Fisher
Iowa Valley Community College District

A Leadership Journey: Lessons Learned in Challenging Times

 Seldom is the path to a leadership role linear or smooth like a newly constructed freeway. Far more often the path is interrupted by challenges and diverges from our original path more like a windy, back road. Dr. Fisher will share lessons learned from her challenges, detours and wrong turns.


Dr. Kristie Fisher has served as President of the Iowa Valley Community College District (which includes Marshalltown Community College and Ellsworth Community College) since 2019. Prior to joining Iowa Valley, Kristie spent 5 years in a leadership role at ACT (an international non-profit focused on education and workforce needs) and 15 years in the community college arena including nearly a decade as Vice President, Student Services at Kirkwood Community College. Kristie is a first-generation college student who earned an Associates degree at Kirkwood Community College before completing her Bachelors degree at the University of Iowa. As a working adult, she later earned a MBA (University of Iowa) and PhD (Iowa State University).


Back to 2022 Conference Materials