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BRIDGES Academic Leadership

What we’ve heard from our graduates!

In response to the pandemic, BRIDGES offered the 2020 and 2021 programs online and the 2022 program in a hybrid conference format. The experience included engaging keynote speakers, high-energy sessions, and many networking opportunities. Hear from recent graduates:

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I began my BRIDGES 2022 journey. I knew it would be an incredible learning experience, but I had no idea that by the time I got to November, I would have such a tremendous support network. All the time and effort I invested in this process is already well worth it.”
–Denise Lynch, UNC Charlotte

“BRIDGES 2021 connected me to a wonderful group of women within higher education, all at different stages of their careers. I am so grateful for the connections I formed with women from across North Carolina and value their experiences and insights. Through BRIDGES I have truly gained a support system of peers and a community I did not know I was missing!”
–Kelsey Axe, UNC Wilmington

“BRIDGES is so much more than a professional development program. The personal growth and level of connection with my BRIDGES sisters was certainly not expected but welcomed. They say, “sisters are different flowers from the same garden”, and I am so grateful to have been a part of the 2021 garden and to have met so many amazing flowers!”
–Holli Stillman, Western Carolina University

“The 2022 BRIDGES academic leadership program challenged me to critically evaluate my skills as an aspiring leader in higher education in a safe, welcoming, and judgment-free environment.  Not only did it introduce me to the range of training resources and expertise available in the UNC system; it has given me insight into my strengths and weaknesses through the Skillscope, created a social network of supportive peers, and encouraged me to grow as a transformational leader. I feel certain that I will continue to benefit from being part of the BRIDGES class and the community we have begun to build for one another.”
–Lida Cope, East Carolina University

“I feel very fortunate to have participated in the BRIDGES 2020 Program. BRIDGES provided opportunities for us to connect with, support, encourage, and learn from each other and a dynamic panel of experts that led the sessions. BRIDGES is an incredible program for women in higher education seeking to grow personally and professionally!”
–Laura Kuizin, UNC-Chapel Hill

“The inspiring women of BRIDGES are supportive, knowledgeable, and provide me with a group of individuals who I can seek guidance and coaching from. The workshops were informative and prepared me for future leadership opportunities.”
–Amelia Moody, UNC Wilmington

“I was so grateful to be able to complete the program virtually because I have two small children and live in Western North Carolina. Equitable and accessible leadership development for women must take into account the complexity of our lives and BRIDGES did just that. Thank you BRIDGES!”
–Leah Hamilton, Appalachian State University

“Being part of the BRIDGES 2020 cohort was exactly the personal and professional experience I needed at the right time. The virtual weekend sessions were thoughtfully designed so that we had the opportunity to build connections at a time when I think many of us were feeling disconnected. I am better for having the BRIDGES 2020 experience.”
–Megan Karbley Krechel, UNC Greensboro

“From negotiating salary and cultivating peer mentors to understanding the state budget and crisis management, BRIDGES explored a wide range of topics in higher education. The program was much more than presentations about different leadership styles—it is a “deep dive” into one’s career goals and personal challenges. Through dialogue and reflection, I learned how to position myself in important conversations impacting my campus. I highly recommend it!”
–Michele Fazio, UNC Pembroke

“The BRIDGES program couldn’t have come at a better time. I learned so much from the different sessions, even the ones that seemed less relevant to me at first glance. The practical advice is great, but the opportunity to really delve into my weaknesses and strengths was transformative for me as a leader and a person. The board members, presenters, and cohort sisters are inspiring, supportive, and so insightful. There were so many times in the discussion when someone in the cohort would articulate exactly what I was thinking or feeling. It really eased the sense of loneliness and isolation that comes from being in a leadership position in Higher Education. The BRIDGES journey is truly empowering, and I recommend it strongly.”
–Maura Heyn, UNC Greensboro

“You can tell that someone really thought this through and cared about our virtual experiences. It remains to be one of the absolute best virtual experiences I’ve ever had. The engagement was intentional, and we got to know one another in smaller groups each time we met. It was an awesome virtual experience.”
–Gwendolyn Tyson, East Carolina University