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OU alumna selected for national women's leadership project

Monday, November 8, 2010
OU alumna selected for national women's leadership project
By Dan Bodene, contributing writer

OU alumna Kathryn Lauer Hoover has been named a delegate to Vision 2020, a national women's project.
Oakland University alumna Kathryn Lauer Hoover has been named one of two Michigan delegates to Vision 2020, a national women’s leadership project.

Vision 2020’s goal is to advance gender equality by inspiring dialogue about women and leadership. The project is under the auspices of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Lauer Hoover, of Fenton, Mich., earned a B.A. in Education from OU in 1997 and was a member of the university’s Forensics Team, competing at state, national and international levels. She later began postgraduate studies at OU in education and counseling.

“The classes and professors at Oakland helped me to gain the confidence I needed to believe in myself and my abilities,” said Lauer Hoover. “I now want to help other women and girls build their leadership abilities.”

She is a licensed K-12 school counselor working at the Richfield Public School Academy in Flint, Mich., and recently was elected president of the Flint branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

In her work with disadvantaged students at Richfield Academy, Lauer Hoover uses a Student Leadership and Mentoring Model that she developed to teach career skills, self-confidence, self-esteem and good citizenship. It also features celebrations, community service, leadership training and recognition.

“The model is about building a constant and ongoing ‘experience’ rather than just teaching it to them while sitting in a classroom,” Lauer Hoover said. “By mentoring a younger student, they are taking responsibility for another person and caring about their future and success.”

Lauer Hoover also developed two other initiatives: Girls and Guys Leadership Clubs for seventh- and eighth-graders, and PeaceMaker Clubs for fifth- and sixth-graders. State and City of Flint officials have recognized these leadership programs, and provide award certificates to student participants.

Lauer Hoover said many students from the programs have been accepted into early college high school programs. “They are learning to be leaders. They are overcoming by learning to be a family and a village. They are learning to overcome by helping and relying on each other to be successful,” she said.

Lauer Hoover’s work and qualifications attracted the attention of Vision 2020 organizers, who were searching for delegates who have shown a commitment to helping women and girls.

Besides Lauer Hoover, Michigan’s other delegate is Vania Ruiz of Auburn Hills, a client advocate for the domestic violence program at Centro Multicultural La Familia in Pontiac, Mich. Both women will serve a three-year term on the delegation.

Lauer Hoover and Ruiz recently attended a Vision 2020 congress in Philadelphia to develop an “action agenda.” The agenda is being created to inspire and engage women – and men – to continue the work of suffragists who helped secure the right of women to vote, with the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment’s centennial will be celebrated in 2020.

Lauer Hoover also represented Michigan in signing a “Declaration of Equality for Women” at the congress. “We simply declared that we will move this country forward toward a more perfect union,” she said. “True democracy can only exist when equality exists among all of its citizens.”

She added, “Women’s issues are not just ‘women’s issues.’ When we’re talking about the wage gap where women are still earning less on the dollar compared to men, this is a family values issue. When women now make up 40 to 50 percent of the work force in this country, children, men and women alike are all affected by this wage gap.”

Looking ahead, Lauer Hoover said she intends to start a leadership movement in Michigan using her Student Leadership and Mentoring Model, which has created interest among educators in Kansas, Idaho and Montana as well as in Michigan.

“I want to help make this vision of equality happen, and this is the way that I know how to do it,” she said.

For more information on Vision 2020, view the website. Lauer Hoover can be reached at