Cohort 1 Participant Reflections

Anna Borgerding bio picAnna Borgerding, associate director, SMC Campus Center and URecFit

As our formal time comes to an end in the coaching groups, I’d like to share a few key experiences with you.

The first was when I received the acceptance notification. ... I was excited. This was going to be a great opportunity for me. I’ll be able to ask the list of questions I have for our prominent women leaders on campus. I’ll get specific advice for me and my career. I was focused on me and ready to start working on my personal goals. Unknowingly, I would embark on a professional journey that would support me in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Read more about Anna Borgerding's Reflection 

The second experience was when I realized the UMBrella group paired me with a group of widely talented leaders and peers, with varying leadership styles. The seven of us came together and almost instantly we formed a bond.

The monthly meetings forged the opportunity to step away from doing, because let’s face it, we are all doers, and allowed us to focus on strategically thinking about our professional goals. Through the months we celebrated promotions, laughed, cried, expressed frustrations, discussed solutions to our barriers. The group of professional women, coming together for their own professional growth, had evolved into something much more.

I would witness Robertha in the Campus Center leading an event and had the pleasure of seeing Nicole’s formative leadership on Staff Senate. I was among women leaders that I was proud to champion and support.

Finally, the last experience I will reflect on was unexpectedly missing our last group meeting. I was upset. Not only for me, but more importantly that I had let the group down.

You see, although I started the coaching program to help me individually, I realized simultaneously the group was a cohesive and supportive network for my colleagues and ultimately for each woman sitting here today. My hope is that the work within this group does not end here.

One of the goals of this group is to “engage a community that supports the success of women.” As members of this community who have prospered from the UMBrella initiative, I hope we will continue to ask, "How can we be an active part of the network that supports women on our campus?”

Regina Spencer 200x200Regina Spencer, contracting specialist 

As a longtime employee of UMB, I have tried to keep myself balanced with work and things outside of the office. I can say that the UMBrella Coaching Program was one of the best programs that I benefited from. I came to the table with an open heart to receive what would be valuable to me in my future stay at UMB. I became part of a group of women who in the end became a team of empowered women. I have been fulfilled more than I could have imagined.

Michele OndraMichele Ondra, assistant director of library administration 

The coaching program enabled us to take one hour per month to prioritize ourselves — for personal growth, for professional development, and to network with others on campus. The groups consisted of ladies from all over campus that had at least one thing in common — the desire to learn and grow. Each session included insightful programming from campus HR but also included us celebrating each other's successes and accomplishments. We laughed. We cried. We grew.

Carey A. Martin, MA, MBA, CRACarey A. Martin, MA, MBA, CRA

I can’t speak highly enough of the UMBrella Group Coaching Program.  Our group had the privilege of being coached by Jennifer Litchman, who was warm, consistently present, and generous with resources and stories from her own career journey.  The group environment proved to be a powerful experience.  It was a safe space where we could ask difficult questions and receive feedback without feeling judged.  It was nice to hear different perspectives on issues, as well as the similar struggles and insecurities we tend to face as professional women trying to balance work, our personal lives, and our overall health and well-being.  Participating in the program helped me to realize how many opportunities for growth there are on the UMB campus and prompted me to dream bigger about my own future.  Group coaching helped me to boost my confidence and push myself to limits I wouldn’t have attempted on my own. 

I would encourage any woman considering the UMBrella Group Coaching Program to apply.  If you are willing to put in the work, you will receive tools, resources, and guidance you need to know yourself better, to strengthen your skills, and to discover your career ambitions and potential.  You will move towards your goals with a supportive community of women cheering you on.  We need you.  The more women we have internalizing a leadership identity and developing a sense of purpose in their careers, the more likely positive change will result – in our school, in our communities, and in our world. 

Shereece F. Singleton, M.S.Shereece F. Singleton, M.S.

Office Manager
Department of Pediatrics, Critical Care Medicine
Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis (CBOTH)

It was an honor to be selected as a participant in the pilot cohort. Being a part of the UMBrella Coaching Program has benefited me over the years. I applied the concepts I learned in the program to negotiate a promotion and pay raise in the position I was in at the time. Since then, I earned another promotion for a new position. An added benefit of the program was the networking. I met and talked with women in leadership on campus and formed lasting relationships with peers in my cohort. I still benefit from the program by taking advantage of the UMBrella professional development events throughout the year such as the Women's History Month Symposium. Last year, I received an UMBrella scholarship to participate in the Towson University Professional Leadership Program.