SF State holds first ever S.H.E L.E.A.D.S event
Hundreds gathered for a day of community and education at SF State’s Seven Hill Conference Center
March 11, 2023
Dozens of round dining tables filled SF State’s Seven Hills Conference Center, where hundreds of students, faculty and staff congregated for the inaugural Sisterhood in Higher Education event on Friday.
S.H.E L.E.A.D.S is a women-focused event inclusive of trans women, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, allies and anyone who identifies as a woman in any way significant to them. The event was hosted by campus volunteers and sponsored by Alumni Association, SF BUILD, College of Science & Engineering, Health Promotion & Wellness and Human Resources.
The three-hour event consisted of two sections; a 90-minute moderated leadership panel discussion, followed by a 60-minute counter-narratives for professional success workshop.
SF State President Lynn Mahoney moderated the S.H.E.L.E.A.D.S event with participation from four esteemed SF State panelists: Ingrid Williams, associate vice president of Human Resources; Carmen Domingo, dean of the College of Science; Jamillah Moore, vice president of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management; and Leticia Márquez-Magaña, professor of the Department of Biology.
Mahoney kicked off the event with a heartfelt acknowledgment about the true purpose of the event.
“What we’re doing here today, both in support of one another is important, and then bringing up those up who are following us,” Mahoney said. “This kind of event can be transformative and the spirit behind it can be transformative, and I am thrilled today to be joined by a room full of spectacular colleagues who are here to share their personal stories.”
Mahoney and the four panelists sat on stage in front of the packed conference center as Mahoney asked each panelist a series of questions related to the hurdles they overcame as women of color in academia.
According to SF State’s Institutional Research database, as of Fall 2022 over 56% of SF State students are women, and over 75% of students are people of color.
Halfway into the leadership panel, Mahoney asked the panelists about how female mentors have been important to them throughout their education and careers.
During her response, panelist Márquez-Magaña reflected on the lack of diversity in educators during her time as a student and how it was actually a fellow panelist, who was a U.C. Berkeley Ph.D student at the same time, that was highly influential to her early career success.
“It was really important for me to have someone that I saw myself as to be a mentor, and who is that? Carmen Domingo,” Márquez-Magaña said.
The conference hall erupted with applause and Domingo tearfully responded that Márquez-Magaña was a mentor of hers as well.
“It was Leti, who was my nearpeer that made me feel grounded at Berkeley,” Domingo said.
After the panel concluded, attendees were given an opportunity to ask the panelists questions, share their own experiences and reflect on the panel discussion.
Stephanie Garcia, an SF State graduate, attended the S.H.E L.E.A.D.S event and said she felt really happy to be in this space.
“I’m really humbled to be here today in this space with so many powerful sisters,” Garcia said.
Though S.H.E L.E.A.D.S was a one-day event, the organizers plan to make it an annual occasion.