The University of Nebraska-Lincoln connects female students with experienced alumnae through a Nebraska Alumni Association event.

The Nebraska Alumni Association is hosting its 20th Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network Conference from Oct. 24-25. The event will feature keynote speakers Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, hosts of the Pantsuit Politics podcast. 

The purpose of the event is for students and alumni to connect with each other and help each other grow, according to Maria Muhlbach, 2009 graduate and director of alumni outreach. 

“The network was really developed and founded on mentorship,” she said. “It’s connecting female students with alumnae across the country that have that similar connection of UNL to help strengthen those relationships, build networking opportunities [and] increase professional development with a network across the country and across the world.”

All are welcome to attend the keynote speaker presentation on Friday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. in the Love Library Auditorium, according to Muhlbach. The deadline to sign up to attend the keynote has been extended to Thursday, Oct. 24, and students can sign up on the Nebraska Alumni Association’s website.

However, only female students, alumni, fans and friends are invited to sign up and attend the rest of the conference, according to Hanna Peterson, 2016 graduate and assistant director of alumni engagement. The deadline to sign up for the entire conference is Tuesday, Oct. 15.

The conference is celebrating 20 years this year, according to Peterson, who said she attributes the anniversary to its members. 

“If you ever attend a conference, you will meet the most passionate women that love to talk about and love to attend conferences that support other women,” she said.  “So their passion to keep this program running is extraordinary, and they have a drive to keep it going for another 20 years.” 

The overall theme for this year’s fall conference is teaching students how to have difficult conversations with themselves or others, according to Peterson. Both Muhlbach and Peterson said they hope students can take what they learn at the conference and use it in conversations they may not have felt confident facing before, like those involving politics. 

Peterson and Muhlbach find the conference’s speakers in a variety of ways, including recommendations from students and alumni, news articles and TED Talks, according to Peterson.

With the exception of Pantsuit Politics, all the speakers are UNL alumnae. Amy Ostermeyer, graduate of 1998 and 2006, will discuss finding an employer that hosts an environment of growth and support, according to Peterson. Amie Gamboian, 1997 graduate, will focus on using thoughts in an empowering way, according to Muhlbach. 

Students who sign up to attend the conference will automatically be entered into a raffle for a free leadership session with Gamboian after the conference is over, according to Muhlbach.

Both Muhlbach and Peterson said they believe this year’s conference will leave attendees with knowledge they can apply to their everyday lives.

“I’m really excited about the content we have and the speakers,” Muhlbach said. “I think it’s extremely timely given our current political climate. I think all the information provided is going to be extremely valuable, not only for our students, but for our alumni.”