FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2023
Kamisha Spencer Completes the Virginia Women Municipal Leaders Institute
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Kamisha Spencer, Program Supervisor for the City of Charlottesville Department of Human Services, recently completed the Virginia Women’s Municipal Leadership Institute, a partnership between Virginia Women Leading Government and the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center. This partnership provides women aspiring to become local government leaders with connections, content, tools, and opportunities to further develop their skills and broaden their network.
Through this program, Spencer and 24 other high potential women from across the commonwealth attended sessions designed to develop their skills and confidence to pursue positions as community leaders.
In Virginia, only 17% of top local government appointed chief administrative officials are held by women, according to diversitydashboard.org. To institute coordinator Bonnie Svrcek, the first female City Manager of Lynchburg before retiring in 2020, that number is unacceptable.
“It is critical for communities to have leadership that reflects the demographic of their towns, cities, and counties. Inclusive leadership makes for better decision-making and therefore stronger communities,” Svrcek said. “In the private sector research has shown that companies with mixed gender leadership have better profit margins. There is no doubt that mixed gender leadership in local government leadership yields stronger communities.”
The women participated in eight monthly gatherings, alternating between virtual and in-person sessions around the state. Virginia Tech faculty members and other experts presented workshops on topics incorporating technical duties, such as budgeting and “soft skills” like public speaking, and life as an executive woman in local government.
"The Virginia Women’s Municipal Leadership Institute has been instrumental in preparing me for the next steps in my personal and professional journey, equipping me with the necessary skills and knowledge,” Spencer said. “However, what truly sets this experience apart is the emphasis on building meaningful relationships. Through collaborative projects and shared experiences, I have formed connections that will not only support my future endeavors but also enrich my life with lasting friendships."
“The institute is a perfect example of the ways the Roanoke Center and the university’s other Commonwealth Campus Centers, located in Richmond, Abingdon, and Newport News, connect their communities with university resources”, said Scott Weimer, Executive Director of Roanoke Regional Initiatives.
“The Virginia Women’s Municipal Leadership Institute is developing a new generation of leaders who are poised to enhance local government across the commonwealth with a wealth of diverse perspectives and skills," he said. “Through this program, we’re helping these leaders and the communities they serve achieve their full potential.”
Applications for the institute’s 2024 cohort will be accepted later this year, with sessions running March-October. For more information, contact Bonnie Svrcek at firstname.lastname@example.org.