From Bitchy to Bold

Kari Lehman is a corporate consultant turned higher education leader. She is currently the Assistant Dean, Graduate & Professional Programs Administration at Ohio University College of Business. Over the past four years, she and the Graduate Programs Team have, in a highly competitive environment, continued to grow graduate programs enrollment by committing to operational excellence while taking a truly student-centered approach. Kari believes in the power of the team, and practices servant leadership to support her colleagues in doing their best work.

Kari is an Athens “boomeranger.” Her family has been in Athens County for many generations and after graduating from Athens High School, Kari completed her BS and MS in Chemical Engineering and MBA from Case Western Reserve University. After spending 8 years in Cleveland and 17 years in Chicago, she, her husband and their mastiff returned to the amazing community of Athens. During her time away, Kari led a 20+ year career in the corporate world based mainly in Chicago. While she began her career in the very male environment of engineering and manufacturing, Kari found her voice in organizational consulting. In this field, she led executive-level client teams and helped Fortune 1000 companies improve their culture by developing essential skills in areas such as sales, coaching, and leadership

Kari also is an avid quilter and owns Appalachia Modern Quilt Company, which provides quilt finishing services to quilters in Athens County and around the country. Through this craft Kari has been able to connect with women in the creation of beautiful quilts and help fulfill what she believes is a human need to express oneself through art.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”—Maya Angelou

This is the essence of empowerment. We do not have to be or strive toward anyone else’s expectation of us, nor do we have to follow what we think is the expected path. Be who you are, spend less energy conforming to what you or others think you should be.

You’re not imagining it; gender bias exists in the workplace. While we stand on the shoulders of extraordinary, barrier-breaking women, there is still progress to be made. Many women have worked to fit and succeed in the workplace by emulating more masculine behaviors. The same behaviors that characterize men as “strong,” “decisive,” or “charismatic” can lead to the characterization of “bitchy” for women. This session will provide tips of how to be yourself, establish your status, and ensure your voice is heard – breaking through from bitchy to bold.