Paula Boggs smiles in front of a transit bus.

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In 2006, Whitman College launched the Women, Leadership and Society lecture, and welcomed as its inaugural speaker Paula Boggs, a seasoned executive, lawyer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, musician and U.S. Army veteran. This spring, Whitman again welcomes Boggs to campus as the speaker for the 2019 Women in Leadership Lunch at noon Friday, March 29, 2019, in the Reid Campus Center Ballroom.

Boggs led the global law department at Starbucks for 10 years and served as secretary of the Starbucks Foundation. In 2013, she founded Boggs Media LLC. She serves on numerous nonprofit and for-profit boards.

Boggs shared some insights about women in leadership and how the world has changed since she last visited Whitman College:

"Since 2006, when I last spoke at Whitman the world has changed. The United States elected its first African-American president twice and our nation saw its first woman candidate for president nominated by a major party.

"Women have made gains in the C-suites of corporations, some state legislative bodies, in academia, and there are virtually no barriers now to women in combat. There are now three women on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Nonetheless, reproductive rights are more under attack today than 2006, too many women still suffer from sex discrimination and misconduct and across several industries, including mine, law and music, there are still many miles to travel before anyone can sleep. I remain hopeful though. My 16-year-old kid imagines a world where she can do anything and that is most assuredly progress."

Three things that college women should know about being a leader:

  1. Leaders serve others; the mission, goal or people you lead should always be more important than the individual leader. It's not about you.
  2. No matter how good a leader is, she can always get better. Over time, I've become a better listener, more authentic, a better communicator and more courageous.
  3. Most colleges offer myriad leadership opportunities and anyone can be a leader. Leadership opportunities I seized in college - including in sports, Army ROTC and as an economics tutor - continue to shape my life almost 40 years later.

Boggs' presentation is open to all students, staff and faculty. Interested students should RSVP to the event on Handshake; staff and faculty can contact Marisol Becerra at to reserve a seat.