Mason Leadership Summit

The Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Office and Contemporary Student Services (CSS) are pleased to host this year's Mason Leadership Summit Experience. This fully virtual program is specifically designed for Mason students who identify as adult learners (25 years old and up) and students of any age who are pregnant or parenting. 

This year’s Summit will take place on March 1st-March 30th.  Students will have a chance to select which educational sessions they would like to participate in and program components will be offered in variety of different formats. The Summit will focus on personal and professional leadership skill development through both large and small group experiences. Participants will learn practical ways to further develop as leaders in multiple contexts (career, family, community, etc.), whether they have a formal leadership position or not. Students will broaden their perspectives on leadership and engage with other adult learners, and student parents, through practical and applied leadership skill development.  

Students who participate in the following educational components will receive a digital certificate, a digital badge via Mason 360, and an official Contemporary Student Services/LEAD Office full-size umbrella:  

  • Shared Opening Session  
  • 3 Educational Sessions of Your Choice (see a complete list of educational sessions below) 
  • Shared Closing Session

The Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Office and Contemporary Student Services are pleased to host this year's Mason Leadership Summit at George Mason University, specifically designed for Mason students who identify as adult learners (25 years old and up) and students who identify as parents (any age). Participants will learn practical ways to further develop as leaders in multiple contexts (career, family, community, etc.), whether they have a formal leadership position or not. The summit will focus on personal and professional leadership skill development through both large and small group experiences. Students will broaden their perspectives on leadership and engage with other adult learners and student parents through practical and applied leadership skill development.

Registration Information:


As a result of participating in the 2021 Virtual Mason Leadership Summit Experience: Innovative Leadership for Adult Learners and Student Parents, attendees will:   

  • Engage with other adult learners and/or student parents in discussions around emotional intelligence and leadership that does not require a title or formal position 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of emotional intelligence and how it connects to one’s own leadership style as an adult learner and/or student parent 
  • Broaden their perspectives on leadership and the importance of non-positional leadership 
  • Recommend positive changes at Mason for adult learners and student parents 
  • Establish at least one new supportive relationship while participating in the summit 

Registration Instructions for Students with a Mason email address 
This year's Mason Leadership Summit Virtual Experience allows for students to choose educational sessions they are most interested in learning more about.  We are excited to share that we are offering over 15 engaging learning opportunities that will take place on a variety of different days and times.  Students will be able the select the educational sessions they want to engage in and Mason 360 will help track each student's personal Virtual Mason Leadership Summit .  See below for more details around student program participation requirements. Registration for the Mason Leadership Summit will be conducted via Mason 360. If you want to participate in the Virtual Mason Leadership Summit Experience and receive credit, you MUST follow the registration information below.

  • STEP 1: Register for the Virtual Mason Leadership Summit Experience via Mason 360
  • STEP 2: Register for 1 of the opening sessions (this is required for all participants)
  • STEP 3: Register for 1 of the closing sessions (this is required for all participants)
  • STEP 4: Register for 3 different educational sessions (NOTE: you can register for more sessions, but you are required to attend at least 3)
    • See Schedule at Glance below for a complete list of sessions and registration links
  • STEP 5: Register for Lunch Connection Sessions (optional)
  • STEP 6: In order to get credit for participating in a program, you MUST register for each event and CHECK-IN via Mason 360 on the day of the program.

Students without a Mason email or access to Mason 360, please register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-mason-leadership-summit-tickets-139481863007


Featured Keynote: Nicole Lynn Lewis, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Hope
Nicole Lynn Lewis is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Hope, a nonprofit organization that surrounds motivated teen parents and their children with the mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive in college and kindergarten, thereby driving a two-generation solution to poverty. A former teen mother herself who put herself through the College of William & Mary with her three-month old daughter in tow, Nicole now works every day to change the statistic that less than 2% of teen mothers will earn their degrees before age 30. Generation Hope rallies around teen parents to help them earn college degrees and forge a path to economic opportunity and is now expanding its work with young parents beyond the D.C. region by sharing its best practices to help colleges and universities across the country better meet the needs of the nearly 4 million parenting students who are working toward their degrees.

Nicole is a member of the board of trustees of Trinity Washington University and a National Advisory Board member of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. She has received various awards, including being honored as a CNN Hero and the national grand prize winner of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award, and has been featured on major news outlets including “Good Morning America,” CNN, “NBC Nightly News,” and The Washington Post. Most recently, she was honored with the inaugural Black Voices for Black Justice Award, which “recognizes incredible leaders who have been on the frontlines working to dismantle the deep-rooted, racist systems that have plagued our country for centuries.” She is also a nationally known author and speaker with her next, highly-anticipated book, Pregnant Girl, to be released by Beacon Press in the spring of 2021.

Nicole holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Communication from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William & Mary. Nicole and her husband, Donté Lewis, live in Maryland with their four children.


Schedule at a Glance

Week #1: March 1-5

Monday, March 1st: Shared Opening Experience #1 (7:00pm-8:00pm)

  • Join us for the official opening session for the Mason Leadership Summit Experience.  Students will have a chance to engage and interact other students. The opening session will also help to provide a brief overview of the Mason Leadership Summit and what to expect as well as some amazing guest speakers.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947221
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/97504267445 

 Tuesday, March 2nd: Shared Opening Experience #2  (7:00pm-8:00pm)

  • Join us for the official opening session for the Mason Leadership Summit Experience.  Students will have a chance to engage and interact other students. The opening session will also help to provide a brief overview of the Mason Leadership Summit and what to expect as well as some amazing guest speakers.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947423
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/98237479421

Wednesday, March 3rd: Lunch Connections (12:00pm-1:00pm)

  • Join students, faculty, and staff who are interested in creating robust support systems for adult learners and students who are pregnant and/or parenting. Being an adult learner means that you have a lot of responsibilities so these lunches are organized to be very casual. They’re an opportunity to connect with your peers and broaden your network at Mason.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947498
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/s/4480954604

 Thursday, March 4th: Educational Session #1 (5:30pm-6:30pm)

  • Title: Leadership and Civic Engagement: A Continued Conversation: Dr. Christy Pichichero’s 5 Steps that Mason Students Can Take to Proactively Help Heal Our Country
  • Facilitator: Dr. Christy Pichichero, College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Austin Deray, and Graduate Student Life
  • Description: Building off of Dr. Christy Pichichero’s 5 Step interview with Alexandra Spirer, in the Authority Magazine, Austin A. Deray, PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies, and Pichichero, Associate Professor of History and French Studies, sit down to continue her discussion of the 5 steps everyone can take to help heal the country. Focusing on how these 5 steps are essential to the development of civically minded leaders, Pichichero and Deray’s conversation further decontructs each step and Pichichero’s call to action at the conclusion of the print interview for Mason’s students, both graduate and undergraduate students alike. With a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, they are hoping to introduce and guide Mason’s next cohorts of leaders into antiracist conversations and arena’s they will engage both within and outside of the Mason community.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947685
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/97457142896

Week #2: March 8-12

Monday, March 8th: Educational Session #2 (3:00pm-4:30pm)

  • Title: Self and Community Care: Why Is it Important?
  • Facilitator: Dr. Al Fuertes, School of Integrative Studies)
  • Description: We (adult learners) often face moderate to high stress levels as a result of pressure from heavy course loads, peer pressure, family and school/campus/community obligations, among other responsibilities. Although a certain level of stress may have its own benefits, too much stress can lessen a person’s ability to be productive and to pay attention to their personal, social, and academic undertakings. Prolonged and persistent stress that overwhelms our capacity to function well may result in traumatization. In what ways do we take care of ourselves - mentally, emotionally, physically and socially? How can we nurture and sustain an academic community that cares? This workshop will explore the different types of benefits of self and community care from within the context of prolonged and persistent stress - including psychosocial trauma. Engagement will also include discussions and strategies on re-entry plans in terms of various resilience expressions, including ways to address challenges and difficulties encountered toward care of one's self and sustaining community well-being.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r946260
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/92008208370

Monday, March 8th: Educational Session #3 (7:00pm-8:00pm)

  • Title: Alumni Cocktails and Conversations: Working 9 to 5 - Making Your Degree Work With You
  • Panelists: 
    • Bobbee Cardillo
    • Sharon Pound
    • Robabeh Riasati
  • Description:Alumni artists who were non-traditional students share their experiences pivoting careers by earning Mason arts degrees as adult students. Join us on Facebook Live at: facebook.com/gmucfa
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/2d7/r1036739
  • Facebook live event: https://www.facebook.com/gmucfa

Wednesday, March 10th: Lunch Connections (12:00pm-1:00pm) 

  • Description: Join students, faculty, and staff who are interested in creating robust support systems for adult learners and students who are pregnant and/or parenting. Being an adult learner means that you have a lot of responsibilities so these lunches are organized to be very casual. They’re an opportunity to connect with your peers and broaden your network at Mason.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r946272
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/s/4480954604

Thursday, March 11th: Educational Session #4 (7:00pm-8:30pm)

  • Title: Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: No Title Needed
  • Facilitator: Dr. Nick Lennon, The LEAD Office
  • Description: What are the top qualities that people are looking for in their leaders? Is Emotional Intelligence important in your daily life and also in leadership? Participants will learn practical ways to further develop as leaders in multiple contexts (career, family, community, etc.), whether they have a formal leadership position or not. Participants will also will have the opportunity to self-assess on 15 different leadership qualities. We will discuss if we can each develop these qualities, if they stay stable over time, and what this all means for leadership and for YOU as an Adult Student and/or Student Parent.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r946276
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/96131010278?pwd=Tk5HcW03VWJtTFpERFRpYXpmd3FpUT09

Week #3: March 15-19

Tuesday, March 16th: Educational Session #5 (2:00pm-3:00pm)

  • Title: Working Moms Group
  • Facilitator: Heather Aleknavage, Office of Sponsored Programs
  • Description: The Support Group for Working Mothers at Mason is one way Mason faculty, staff, and students can come together, discuss the issues confronting working mothers, and perhaps motivate changes on campus. This past year has been especially challenging for working moms!  If you are interested in sharing stories and being part of an informal conversation for working mothers, please join us. Feel free to visit our website for additional meeting dates and more information: http://wmst.gmu.edu/center/organizations/working-moms
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947525
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/91081740443?pwd=SG5Kem5uSUlRMGNybGhCWmdkRStDUT09

Wednesday, March 17th: Lunch Connections  (12:00pm-1:00pm)

  • Description: Join students, faculty, and staff who are interested in creating robust support systems for adult learners and students who are pregnant and/or parenting. Being an adult learner means that you have a lot of responsibilities so these lunches are organized to be very casual. They’re an opportunity to connect with your peers and broaden your network at Mason.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947539
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/s/4480954604

Wednesday, March 17th: Educational Session #6 (7:00pm-8:30pm) - RESCHEDULED TO WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24TH AT 7:00PM. 

  • Title: Career Services Session - Yes, You Are Qualified: Positioning Unconventional Experiences and Post-Traditional Student Status as Valuable Career Assets
  • Description: 74% of college students in the U.S. could be considered post-traditional, that is, they are a parenting student or over the age of 25.  Campus recruiters visiting Mason absolutely want to meet these students and, in fact, often is it these post-traditional students who come to campus with additional skills and talents.  But can you identify and communicate your skills and value to employers?  In this session, Victoria Suarez, Assistant Director, Employer Development, shares years of insights from campus recruiters and talent acquisition managers and what she has to say may surprise you.  Post-traditional students possess a wealth of knowledge and abilities – all that is necessary is better messaging and a bit of context.
  • Facilitator: Victoria Suarez, University Career Services
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947625
  • Zoom Link: - NEW LINK for 3/24/21: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/93609649192

Thursday, March 18th: Educational Session #7 (7:00pm-8:30pm)

  • Title: Title IX at Mason
  • Description: The Title IX Office at GMU will facilitate a discussion about the Title IX/sexual and interpersonal policy and procedures, as well as supportive measures and on and off campus resources available for adult learners and student parents.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/2d7/r1016131
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/94769083073
  • Facilitators: Angela Nastase, Title IX Coordinator; Emily Gleason, Title IX Investigator; and Lamar Ball, Title IX Investigator

Week #4: March 22-26

Tuesday, March 23rd: Educational Session #8 (7:00pm-8:30pm)

  • Title: Mason Social Networking
  • Facilitators: Jayson Padilla (Social Action Integrative Learning) and Debbie Lewis-Manni (Mason Alum)
  • Description: Join students, faculty, and staff and connect with folks around campus AND grow your Mason Network to help you build YOURSELF, OTHERS & the COMMUNITY around you.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r946282
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/96670283283

Wednesday, March 24th

  • Title: GMU Toastmasters Open House
  • Facilitators: Casey Machuga (Contemporary Student Services), Shyama Kuver (Contemporary Student Services), and Heather Aleknavage (Office of Sponsored Programs)
  • Description: Following guidance from Toastmasters International, George Mason Toastmasters moved to an online format, and made the most of the current situation so that members can continue to practice speaking and leadership skills while developing new skills using a virtual format.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r946283
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/99788866474?pwd=L21UQVJ6dWhOSnphcFN2RUc0aXBEQT09

Wednesday, March 24th: Educational Session #6 (7:00pm-8:30pm) - this session was rescheduled from March 17th 

  • Title: Career Services Session - Yes, You Are Qualified: Positioning Unconventional Experiences and Post-Traditional Student Status as Valuable Career Assets
  • Description: 74% of college students in the U.S. could be considered post-traditional, that is, they are a parenting student or over the age of 25.  Campus recruiters visiting Mason absolutely want to meet these students and, in fact, often is it these post-traditional students who come to campus with additional skills and talents.  But can you identify and communicate your skills and value to employers?  In this session, Victoria Suarez, Assistant Director, Employer Development, shares years of insights from campus recruiters and talent acquisition managers and what she has to say may surprise you.  Post-traditional students possess a wealth of knowledge and abilities – all that is necessary is better messaging and a bit of context.
  • Facilitator: Victoria Suarez, University Career Services
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947625
  • Zoom Link: - NEW LINK: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/93609649192

Thursday, March 25th: Educational Session #9 (6:30pm-8:30pm)  

  • Title: Talking to Your Friends and Family About Race
  • Facilitators: Nick Lennon (LEAD Office and Karen Wolf (University Life)
  • Description: This can be a time for difficult conversations with friends and family about what’s going in our world. Have you ever struggled to hold a conversation with friends and/or family about race or racial justice? Are you interested in building your skills as an ally so you can have more fruitful conversations about racism, immigration, police violence or anti-racist protest? Participants in this session will have the opportunity to identify fears, map ideal scenarios, better understand false logic, and discuss what might change people’s minds. As allies, many of us may be uncomfortable and unpracticed at disrupting everyday racism, but with a commitment to anti-racism, and new skills, we can get better at this essential work. Resources for speaking with children about race will also be shared.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r946286
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/99769214765?pwd=dXpTNVRXRTZDWHFVVTN2SURXZzMvQT09

Week #5: March 29-30

Monday, March 29th: Closing Experience #1 (7:00pm-8:00pm)

  • Description: Join us for the official closing session for the Mason Leadership Summit Experience. Students will have a chance to connect and engage with summit participants and share lessons learned and reflect upon their experiences.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947642
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/97513159864

Tuesday, March 30th: Closing Experience #2 (7:00pm-8:00pm)

  • Description: Join us for the official closing session for the Mason Leadership Summit Experience. Students will have a chance to connect and engage with summit participants and share lessons learned and reflect upon their experiences.
  • RSVP link: http://cglink.me/r947659
  • Zoom link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/91369077838