Non-partisan group seeks to train college women to be leaders of the future

06/23/2017 08:58 AM

Women make up more than half of all Kentuckians, yet there are but a handful in the Kentucky General Assembly and even fewer running major corporations across the nation.

LEAD Kentucky formed by college professor, high school history teacher and basketball coach Jacqueline Coleman is a program that recruits and trains college women in an effort to build the next generation of leaders.

Coleman, the daughter of former state Rep. Jack Coleman, said the organization which will soon enter its fourth year grew out of statistics learned during her time with Emerge Kentucky — the Democratic women’s organization.

“… High school girls will seek and obtain leadership positions at the same rate or a greater rate than their male counterparts,” Coleman said. “We have girls that are your class president, the captain of your athletic teams, and the editors of your yearbooks. And yet these dismal statistics in the professional field led me to wonder where is the gap? And the gap lies on our college campuses.”

Over the last three years LEAD Kentucky has worked with 36 college women on 14 campuses from across Kentucky in 16 different majors to ensure that females are represented within leadership in their respective fields, as well as in politics.

Democratic and Republican women have talked with the women in the group including: former Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, a Democrat; Treasurer Allison Ball, a Republican, and several state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Coleman seeks to increase the reach of the organization little by little each year.

“As we venture into our fourth year we’re going to look at growing a little bit more and perhaps pulling in an advisory board from across the state and maybe even making a tour out of it and visiting college campuses ourselves.”

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