The West Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments in four cases at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon on Tuesday, and two of the high court justices helped announce a new center at the college.
The Center for Women's Leadership will bring together students and professional women in an effort to encourage young women to assume the leadership mantle once they step off the college campus, and some times, even before then.
"I would like to see these young women forge ahead in business and politics and in their community," Justice Margaret Workman said.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bundy
The West Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments in four cases at West Virginia Wesleyan College on Tuesday. The argument docket was followed by a luncheon with Wesleyan President Dr. Pamela Balch and invited guests. Judge Thomas H. Keadle, above, sat in for Justice Robin Davis on the third case on the docket because she was disqualified. Justice Margaret Workman is also pictured.
Renata Comparini, a Master of Business Administration student, said she never thought of herself as having leadership capabilities because of her personality.
"I thought because I was shy I couldn't be a leader," she said. "That's not right. We will have projects to give women a chance to be leaders and to develop leadership skills."
Justice Robin Davis, who is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, said the women should have mentors and role models, giving them encouragement and direction as they follow their career paths. Davis spoke of how her mother and Workman served those roles in her life.
"I watched (my mother) go from being a teacher to an assistant principal to principal to assistant superintendent and superintendent," Davis said. "My biggest fan and my biggest critic is my mother."
Davis also joked about how she always comes in second to Workman, the first female Supreme Court justice in the state and the first female to win a statewide election.
"I learn something from her every day," Davis said. "She put me through the task (when Davis was starting her law career). I could see her teaching me and pushing me over and over again."
Dr. Susan Aloi, the director of Wesleyan's School of Business and the organizer of the Center for Women's Leadership, said she has taught a variety of developmental classes on this topic and said it is an eye-opening experience to watch these skills develop.
"They have never called themselves leaders because they don't have the title, the loud, booming voice or the charismatic personality," she said. "I have encountered women of all ages who are discovering for the first time that they can be leaders."
The state Supreme Court's argument docket Tuesday was followed by a luncheon with Wesleyan President Dr. Pamela Balch and invited guests. All the activities took place at the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts.