EWU Master of Public Health student Ghazal Meratnia attended the New Leadership program at Washington State University last summer, learning from successful women in politics.
“They were trying to train a new generation to feel like they can do anything,” Meratnia said. “Meeting those women, I realized they’re normal human beings, too. They shared their personal life story and all of their everyday challenges that other people face.”
Meratnia was one of 20 women chosen for the program and the only student from the Spokane campus. The program addresses the underrepresentation of women in politics, bringing in women from various policy positions to speak about their experiences.
The women participating in the program also practiced their public speaking, planning, organizing and networking to address social problems, focusing on the development of their leadership skills.
“Throughout the whole program, I felt blessed because the concepts they were talking about were familiar – it was a lot of things I grew up with,” said Meratnia. “I’m originally from Iran and I’ve been here the past eight years. The conference helped me to know my strengths.”
The conference included Juliet Carlisle, PhD, Marcia Smart, PhD, Shar Lichty, Anna Whitehall, Marie Sullivan and Senator Linda Evans.
“The biggest thing [I got from this conference] was that you can do it,” Meratnia said. “If you have your heart in policy or leadership or a management position, you can do it. It is not out of reach. I felt like every single woman who came to the conference said, ‘If I can do it, you can do it, too.’”
Some of Meratnia’s favorite quotes from the conference are listed below:
- Juliet Carlisle, PhD: “What is politics? It’s sort of like and dislikes, a process by which a group of people make decision”
- Marcia Smart, PhD: “Never speak without taking a deep breath”
- Shar Lichty: “Life is a learning process as long as you are living.”
- Anna Whitehall: “When leadership is defined not as a position you hold, but as a way of being, you discover that you can lead from where you are.”