Lisa DeFrank-Cole, director of the Leadership Studies Program at West Virginia University, has been named chair-elect of the Women’s Leadership Affinity Group, a subgroup of the International Leadership Association.

The Women’s Leadership Affinity Group is a network of leadership scholars and practitioners who want to enhance their knowledge, expertise and research in the area of women and leadership and to advance the standing of women in leadership.

The International Leadership Association is a global network for all those who practice, study and teach leadership.

“These bridges are important,” DeFrank-Cole said. “The bridge for me is connecting my program in Leadership Studies to an international association. This connection also ties in the Eberly College, the Women’s Leadership Initiative and WVU in broad terms.

“I really see a lot of benefit in these types of connections. There’s a lot of strength in that link. It really highlights the name of WVU in the national consciousness of leadership studies.”

DeFrank-Cole is serving a three-year term beginning in November 2013: one year as chair-elect, one as chair, and one as chair-past.

The system is designed to create overlap, so that new chairs can learn from past and current chairs.

As chair-elect, DeFrank-Cole will assist the current chair by serving on the planning committee and beginning to strategize for the second Women’s Leadership Conference in June of 2015 in California.

The conference is designed to create a unique opportunity for participants to examine ideas and practices about women and leadership from rich multi-sector, multinational and multicultural perspectives.

DeFrank-Cole said her experience with the Women’s Leadership Initiative at WVU has been pivotal in her growing involvement in leadership studies at the national level.

The initiative, which is housed in the WVU Office of the Provost, offers coaching and networking opportunities to women leaders on campus and mentoring to early-career women in all areas of the university.

“As a female director of a leadership studies program, I really believe that, (the initiative has) really given me a network of women to talk with and draw strength and encouragement from,” she said.

“The WLI was integral in giving me the courage to accept the nomination.”

For more information, contact Lisa DeFrank-Cole at



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