Women's Career Institute 2019

The Women's Career Institute is a free, day-long career and leadership development focused on addressing concerns that women-identified students commonly face when first entering the workforce. Breakfast and lunch are included at no cost. The 2019 Women's Career Institute was held on Saturday, Febrary 23, 2019 at the Levis Faculty Center, courtesy of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH). 


Keynote Speaker: Tekita Bankhead

The social construct of professionalism can impose subtle constraints on an individual’s professional identity, particularly for professionals with historically marginalized identities. Traditional notions of professionalism have often been modeled after social norms based in largely White, heteronormative, and capitalist culture leaving very little room for deviance, individuality, and authentic expression. This keynote explored the concept of unapologetic professionalism and how women can navigate their workspaces in a way that is authentic, empowering, and strategic.

Photo of Tekita Bankhead

Hailing from the “Friendly City” of Columbus, Mississippi, Tekita Bankhead is a registered nurse, a Student Affairs professional, and currently serves as an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Specialist in Education at the University of Illinois Counseling Center. She received her M.S. in Counselor Education with an Emphasis in Student Affairs Administration from Mississippi State University and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Mississippi University for Women. Her professional experiences focus on mental health, social justice, effective coping skills, race-related trauma in Black students, and culturally specific outreach and prevention. Tekita is a noted speaker, instructor, and consultant who delivers innovative and interactive educational workshops designed to tackle complex issues of inclusive leadership, cultural competence, wellness, and identity. In her spare time, she enjoys being a community servant as an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and working on her passion project, The Pedestal Project, LLC, which focuses on uplifting Black women.


2019 WCI Topics: Enhancing Confidence & Thriving as a Professional

Sessions were divided between two tracks. The first track (Enhancing Confidence) included, "Branding Yourself", "Dare to Lead: Lessons from Brené Brown", “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again”,  "Recognizing Imposter Syndrome", and "Moving Beyond Self Doubt". The first track (Thriving as a Professional) included, "Secrets of Credit Reports Unveiled", "Enhancing Your Professional Toolkit: Goal Setting, Applications, and Email Etiquette", "Managing Difficult Conversations in the Workplace and Beyond", and "Mentoring Matters".



The 2019 WCI was sponsored by the Women’s Resources Center in collaboration with the Career Center, YWCA of the University of Illinois, and the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology. Additional support was provided by the School of Labor and Employment Relations, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, the AAUW of Illinois, Weston Exploration LLC, the School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics, and the School of Chemical Sciences Career Services. Paid for in part by the Student Cultural Programming Fee.