Political, educational leaders to share experiences in ‘Women and Leadership’ panel

State Rep. Margaret Rotundo. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

State Rep. Margaret Rotundo. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

In observance of National Women’s History Month, Bates College presents six female political and educational leaders from Maine in a discussion of the challenges and achievements that have marked their careers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, in Chase Lounge, 56 Campus Ave.

Titled “Women and Public Leadership,” the panel is open to the public at no cost. It is part of a series of National Women’s History Month Events presented at Bates by the student organizations Women of Color and the Women’s Advocacy Group.

For more information, please contact Office of Intercultural Education program coordinator Megan Taft at 207-786-8376.

Moderated by Janet Waldron, vice president of administration and finance at the University of Maine, the panel consists of state Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston; Jill Duson, former mayor of Portland; former state Rep. Julie O’Brien, R-Augusta; state Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston; and former president of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, Martha Sterling-Golden. The discussion will offer a chance for the panelists to reflect on their achievements and the challenges they have faced as women leaders.

Janet Waldron

Janet Waldron

Waldron has held her present position at the University of Maine since 2003. Under her leadership, the campus has increased efficiencies; strengthened its environmental, safety and risk programs; renovated its dining and auxiliary services; improved its community relationships; and maintained a balanced budget despite economic challenges. Waldron is also an adjunct faculty member at the university.

Prior to joining University of Maine senior management, Waldron served the state of Maine for more than a decade, most recently as commissioner of administrative and financial services. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of New Hampshire and worked toward a graduate master’s degree at Dartmouth College.

Craven was born into an impoverished family of 11 in Ireland. Her father worked odd jobs and her mother was a housewife. Craven came to the U.S. in the 1963 at the age of 17. After moving to Maine, she earned a high school diploma, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and began work with the disabled and senior citizens.

Elected as a Maine state representative in 2002, Craven was elected to the Senate in 2008 and re-elected in 2010. In addition to her political work, Craven is a respite coordinator and group home administrator.

State Sen. Margaret Craven.

State Sen. Margaret Craven.

Compliance manager for the Maine Human Rights Commission, Duson is in her fourth term as a Portland city councilor, during which tenure she served two terms as mayor. A former director of the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, Duson has pursued both a successful professional career and a calling to community service.

A Pennsylvania native, she earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and literature from Antioch College and a doctorate in law from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

A longtime advocate in elderly issues and rights, in 1987 Duson began 15 years of specialized work in government/regulatory relations, corporate philanthropy and internal organizational development with Maine’s two largest public utility companies.

O’Brien is the founder of the Children’s Discovery Museum in Augusta and served as its executive director for many years. She served in the Legislature for eight years, holding positions on the standing committees of Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Health and Human Services and Appropriations and Financial Affairs.

Portland City Councilor Jill Duson. Photograph by Natalie Conn/The Forecaster.

Portland City Councilor Jill Duson. Photograph by Natalie Conn/The Forecaster.

In 2005, after leaving the Legislature, O’Brien became executive director of the Maine Republican Party, a position she held for three years. Among numerous community service roles, she has most recently served as president of the Maine chapter of the National Association for the Mentally Ill.

In 2000 Rotundo was elected to the Maine State Senate, serving until 2008, when she was elected into the Maine House of Representatives. During her tenure in the Senate, she served as the chair of the Appropriations and the State and Local Government committees; and served on the committees of Education and Cultural Affairs, Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bills in the Second Reading and Senate Ethics.

As representative, Rotundo has sponsored legislation that has created greater public access to government information; a cleaner environment; greater educational opportunities; and better services for veterans and the elderly. She helped found the Center for Service-Learning at Bates in 1995, now called the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, which facilitates service opportunities for Bates students in Lewiston and Auburn. She is director of special initiatives at the center.

Martha Sterling-Golden

Martha Sterling-Golden

Sterling-Golden is a past president of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, a selective global leadership program sponsored in part by the Yale Law School every summer in New Haven. A 1995 alumna of WCSY, she was elected to the board of directors in 2005, then president of the school in 2006, serving one term before stepping down in 2008.

With 17 years in the nonprofit sector in development and board service, Sterling-Golden brings experience in triage and major organizational change in environmental, cultural and global leadership environments. She is a past elected representative to the Maine Democratic State Committee. A native of the Upper Kennebec Valley region, she was a working folk and rock musician for a decade before becoming a responsible member of society.

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