Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

Our 2017 conference theme is: Challenging The Narrative: Creating Change For Ourselves And Our World. The ways in which we understand and share our narrative shapes how we engage with and impact the world. To be transformational leaders, advocates, and change agents, we must stay grounded in who we are as individuals while working to weave a collective narrative that honors the experiences of everyone. With our 2017 theme, the Annual HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Conference Committee hopes to inspire session facilitators to provide participants with new perspectives and skills related to the power of individual and community narrative for envisioning, forging, and sustaining social equity, individual and collective wellbeing, and personal and professional growth.

The VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute invites proposals for its 11th Annual HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Conference. This high-energy, one-day experience provides leadership development and networking opportunities for women from the private, public, nonprofit, academic, and community sectors. The conference aims to inspire, energize, and empower women to be transformational leaders and change agents within their workplaces, communities, and personal lives. Each year, more than 300 women from around the state attend this event. More information about the conference is available at

We are seeking proposals for:

  • 60-minute interactive sessions and workshops. This type of session includes audience participation and active learning. This session should provide participants with the opportunity to actively engage with the content, receive tangible action-oriented strategies, apply ideas to their own work, and/or develop new skills and leadership insights.
  • 75-minute panel sessions. This type of session is designed for relevant outcome focused discussions on leadership topics related to work, home, or community (local and global). For these sessions, a moderator plus 2 to 3 panelists is required. Panelists should situate their discussion in best practices, personal narratives, professional practice, or leadership theory, and engage participants through question and answer periods.

Successful proposals will provide evidence for how the facilitators will:

  • Address the conference theme through the introduction of inspirational mindsets, game-changing skill sets, practical tools, and/or creative solutions;
  • Engage participants in active, experiential, and/or collaborative learning;
  • Address the needs of women across contexts, including the workplace, community, and at home; and
  • Be relevant to participants of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute is unable to provide funding for presenter travel or lodging. Selected presenters will need to register and pay for this event. Presenters will be notified of their acceptance no later than June 21, 2017. 


Proposals must be submitted online at no later than
5:00pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.


Please be sure to read the instructions for submission very carefully and prior to submitting. If you have any questions about the call, the conference, or the submission process, please contact Ryan Elizabeth Foulds at:

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University
(804) 827-1169