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Workshops, Events & Honoring Leadership

Profiles of a few students sitting in a workshop, with one student writing notes

The Wurtele Center for Leadership (WCL) offers a range of workshops, speaker events and other co-curricular experiences that offer students an opportunity to grow their own capacity to lead collaboratively and equitably, and gain inspiration from collaborative leaders in a variety of fields. WCL programming explores the contours of our Collaborative Leadership Model, creating space for students to reflect on and build their own practice (ME), learn effective ways of engaging in and leading a team (WE), and apply their knowledge to work toward positive change (IMPACT).

Engage at Any Level

Students have the option of participating in Wurtele Center programming at any level, from dipping their toe in the water with single events to taking the “deep dive” into courses and cohort or fellowship programs. Below are some introductory opportunities for engagement and skill building.

Integrative Learning & Leadership Events at Smith

Leadership Enrichment Series

Workshop group for the Wurtele Center


The Leadership Enrichment Series is a series of workshops designed to build collaborative leadership skills that students can immediately apply whether on a team, as an intern, student employee or member of a club/organization. These monthly sessions will help students learn to build relationships, set and pursue goals collaboratively, and learn how to approach their work with grace and a growth mindset. While the sessions are geared toward students in a positional role, all curious students are welcome and encouraged to join these sessions.

Sign Up!

If you’re interested in registering for any of these workshops, watch out for them in the Smith Social Network or on eDigest, and sign up for our mailing list to hear more about them and other offerings from the Wurtele Center.


Schedule for Fall 2021

Creating A Roadmap
September 30, 2021
12:15–1:30 p.m., Campus Center 103/104

The year has begun and you are revisiting a team or forming a new one. Come and learn about how to build your team culture through setting goals, creating norms & establishing expectations.

Collaboration & Conflict
October 28, 2021
12:15–1:30 p.m., Campus Center 103/104

Working together can both enrich an experience and present opportunities to learn and grow from one another. As such, conflict may arise. In this workshop we will talk about how to embrace conflict as an opportunity for growth.

Empathy & Humility
November 18, 2021
12:15–1:30 p.m., Campus Center 103/104

Working with others can be hard. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes there are growing pains. This workshop will provide space to talk with others about how to best learn from your mistakes and see where others are coming from.

The C Series

This series consists of a sequence of workshops open to the entire Smith community that give participants an opportunity to critically explore foundational concepts that are often associated with leadership and to reflect and practice developing their own definitions and skills related to those concepts.

Each session is framed around the question “So What Does ________ Really Mean, Anyway?”, with the blank space being filled in with a leadership-related concept that can often have a wide range of meanings. We have framed this as “The C Series” in which sessions invite participants to consider, critique, commune, connect, create and collaborate.

Sessions will include three parts:

  1. Consider: The first component is a shared experience where as a community we listen actively. The gathering will begin with a “fishbowl” style conversation between a Wurtele Center team member, a faculty member, a staff member and a student. The conversation will center around the concept at hand; conversation participants will explore different meanings of the concept and how it has shown up in their professional and life experiences. During the conversation segment, the audience does not participate in any way other than to serve as observers to the conversation. This invites participants to focus on the skill of deep and reflective listening.
  2. Critique, Commune and Connect: Following the conversation, everyone gathered will grab dinner and engage informally over a shared meal, to discuss ideas that have emerged through the conversation they just witnessed. This invites participants to engage in relationship building across community sectors and to share thoughts and ideas, while communing over food. (PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19 safety protocols and regulations, gathering over a meal may not be feasible. In that case, we will pivot accordingly).
  3. Create and Collaborate: For the final segment of the session, we will offer the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities that will help program participants make sense of the concept for themselves. While the activity will be tailored to the concept we are exploring, it might take the form of making (some form of hands-on activity), goal setting, concept reframing, or group work. At each session, we will help participants explore the concept’s relationship to the Wurtele Center’s Collaborative Leadership Model, which asks folks to consider their leadership as it relates to them as individuals (ME), as members of a team (WE), and as collaborative agents of positive change (IMPACT).

So What Does Leadership Really Mean, Anyway? 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 5:30-7 PM, Neilson Browsing Room

Join the Wurtele Center for Leadership as we gather students, faculty, and staff in a conversation about this concept which has so many different meanings for different people. We toss the term around but how can we make sense of it for ourselves in nuanced and complex ways? This session is part of our “C Series” where we will consider, critique, commune, connect, create and collaborate around topics related to “leadership.” The session includes dinner, and features special guests, Anna Mwaba, Assistant Professor of Government; Kelsey Parks Smith, Project Coach Coordinator and Student-Athlete Wellness Coordinator; Erin Cohn, Director of the Wurtele Center for Leadership; and Vanessa Nicole Silva -Burgos, Class of 2024. 



So What Does Failure Really Mean, Anyway? 

March 23, 2022, 5:30-7 PM, Neilson Browsing Room

Join the Wurtele Center for Leadership and special guests, Fraser Stables, Associate Dean of Integrative Learning and Professor of Art; Leigh Pinkston, Assistant Director for Affinity Advising in the Lazarus Center for Career Development; Dianie Chen, class of 2024; and Megan Lyster, Assistant Director of the Wurtele Center in a conversation tackling our relationships to, definitions of and ways we think about the concept of “failure”. Dinner is provided unless restricted by college operating modes. REGISTER HERE

So What Does Empathy Really Mean, Anyway? 

April 27, 2022, 5:30-7 PM, Neilson Browsing Room

Honoring Campus Leadership


This year we will be reviving The Impact Awards. In alignment with the values of Smith College, The Impact Awards, hosted by the Wurtele Center for Leadership, recognize and honor members of our community who demonstrate the creativity, courage, and collaborative capacity to make positive change at scales both large and small. Honorees lead in diverse ways: some build community; others tackle complex, urgent problems; while still others work to dismantle inequity. As we seek to develop a nuanced definition of leadership, we encourage those who are nominating candidates to broaden their thinking beyond simply the standard definitions of the front-and-center leader and to think of those who have made an impact from various vantage points.



Nominations are open until midnight on Friday, March 11, 2022.



A full description of the awards and criteria necessary can be found below. 


Each fall, the Wurtele Center for Leadership offers workshops and events that encourage students to develop a public voice as a form of powerful leadership.