photo of a group of women standing and smiling together with an overlay of text with the date and time of the 2019 conference.


13th Annual HIGHER Ground
Women's Leadership Conference

Friday, November 1, 2019
Greater Richmond Convention Center
403 North 3rd Street
Richmond, Virginia 

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As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of The VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, we seek to build upon the success of our work by reflecting on the leadership of individuals, organizations, and communities over the past 20 years and anticipating their leadership needs for the next 20 years. This year’s theme, Building Bridges Together: Past, Present, and Future, invites us to explore how historical and contemporary experiences provide us with opportunities for new leadership insights for the future.

Recent years have been marred by tensions between the past and present, individually and collectively, and have required deep reflection on past acts, accounts, and accolades. The legacy of our historical actions and inactions continue to affect the present and how we understand the future. For many, history provides the richness of how we are seen and defines who we are today. For others, history is fraught with contradictions and inconsistencies with who we believe ourselves to be in the present. If our future is, in fact, a result of our interpretation and execution of experiences in the present, looking forward to 2039, What would reflection of our leadership past reveal about our present-day leadership? What would these reflections foretell about our leadership in the future?

This year, we aim to identify and promote opportunities that create strong partnerships and collaborations across people, time, and space by bringing together the latest in leadership practice with a shared desire to sustain interest in furthering our knowledge and understanding of leadership. 

About the Conference

The Annual HIGHER Ground Women's Leadership Conference provides high-quality education and networking opportunities. Each year, more than 300 participants come together to share ideas, illuminate innovative leadership practices and explore factors that influence their effectiveness at work, at home, and in their communities. This conference provides participants with a tremendous opportunity to grow, develop, and learn with practical solutions for success in their personal and professional lives. Our one day, multi-track format offers a self-directed facilitated learning environment with education sessions and interactive forums. Key features include: plenary sessions, panel discussions, workshops, and regional and national speakers highlighting timely issues of importance to women. Continuing Education Units (CEU) are available for full participation in this event.



2015 Conference Group Photo with speakers, sponsors, and Suzanne Malveuax Speakers and sponsors pose for a photo with Suzanne Malveaux