Legendary effort: Mazzotti Women’s Leadership Program has impacted hundreds since its inception in 2006

Earlier this week, 2-day summit — Full Circle Thriving: An Intentional Choice — was held to support women faculty and staff in rapidly changing higher ed environment

When Joan Mazzotti and her husband established the Mazzotti Women’s Leadership Program in 2006, they had no idea how big the program would be — the Mazzottis simply wanted to help female members of Rider University’s faculty and staff have additional leadership development opportunities.

This week, following the completion of their fourth successful summit, they started to add up the numbers.

In addition to the hundreds of Rider female faculty and staff who have benefited from leadership development opportunities at various summits, more than 40 women have received Mazzotti Awards in Women’s Leadership and completed leadership programs at Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, among other prestigious institutions.

Joan Mazzotti, a Rider trustee and 1972 graduate, is thrilled by the impact.

“There is a continually growing number of female leaders at Rider who serve as powerful role models,” she said. “Their success and achievements inspire and motivate other women to pursue leadership roles or to approach their current position with a greater sense of confidence and purpose. This contributes to the empowerment of all women on campus. I could not be happier with the impact of this program.”

On Monday and Tuesday, the Mazzotti Women’s Leadership Summit afforded even more women the opportunity to further their leadership development at Rider.

This year’s summit, “Full Circle Thriving: An Intentional Choice,” was the program’s fourth campuswide summit and was attended by more than 100 faculty and staff. In response to the rapid and dramatic changes impacting higher education, the 2023 summit focused on the importance of thriving in one’s professional and personal life as a core tenet of leadership.

Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, Harvard physician, Forbes contributor and NBC News medical commentator, served as keynote speaker and discussed how to navigate mental health in the new normal after the pandemic. She explained science-backed strategies to minimize burnout, a top mental health concern, and provided a blueprint for resilient leadership. Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, founder and CEO of Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement, and Dr. Felicia Ganther, president of Bucks County Community College, shared their own perspectives on thriving. The summit also provided a space for women to connect, share experiences and support each other.

“I am hopeful women left the summit inspired and motivated to make their own full-circle thriving a reality,” Mazzotti said. “Leaders who thrive demonstrate resilience and adaptability, have a clear sense of purpose and direction and are not solely focused on their own success, but also on the success of their colleagues. This is just the mindset we need to meet the current challenges facing higher education.”

Applicants for the Mazzotti Awards in Women’s Leadership are full-time Rider employees with a minimum of two years of university service.

Recipients are selected by a committee led by DonnaJean Fredeen, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Debbie Stasolla, vice president for strategic initiatives and planning and secretary to the board. The committee selects award recipients based upon the alignment of their professional goals with their proposed program and the degree to which those goals will benefit the Rider community and applicants’ continued leadership development.