Ask a Woman: Annalisa Holcombe
by Bailey Gumm (’18)
During March—Women’s History Month—we celebrate the milestones of the women who came before us and use their contributions as stepping stones for the future. Organizations such as Real Women Run (RWR) and the YWCA in Utah are at the forefront of advocating for women’s representation in government and civic positions.
“Women’s empowerment and representation of half our population in governance is why I was really interested in being involved with Real Women Run; I believe in all they stand for,” says Annalisa Holcombe, chief advancement officer at Westminster and organizing committee member of Real Women Run.
Through Annalisa’s involvement, Westminster College is a partner of Real Women Run, which serves as a policy arm of the YWCA.
How did you get Westminster involved with RWR?
“The organization was looking for opportunities to engage with Westminster and other surrounding colleges and universities. It’s important to Real Women Run that they have more inroads with college students, and I was in a position to help them do that. They reached out asking if I would be interested in joining the board, and I said yes. That’s when Westminster became involved too.”
How is Westminster involved with the YWCA?
“Westminster has been involved in a lot of different ways for a long period of time. In the last year, the YWCA felt they had the bandwidth to begin a program they had been wanting to launch called YW Empowered, a young women’s leadership program. Because of my experience working to build Westminster’s alumni mentoring program, they asked if I could help them create their professional mentoring component.
I worked with them to create the system and the first cohort began last October—participating in a 10-month-long program that incorporates leadership training from a variety of other women throughout the state. We are now in the second cohort of professional women with emerging women leaders. We’ve had a Westminster student participate in both the first and second cohort.
This is something that will last, and I am proud of the mentoring program that was created. YWCA said they have been wanting to do this type of mentoring program for over a decade and they can finally do it because of Westminster’s help.”
Why is a mentoring focus important?
“Having the ability to network and ask honest questions is important. It gives women the opportunity to become all they want and can be. It is also a great way for people to give back in ways that are meaningful and purposeful. When your program’s purpose is to gather women together who are trying to help each other, adding a mentoring component makes sense.”
How has RWR impacted the number of women serving in political positions?
“This year in Utah, we have the most women serving for the legislature. Of all those women, all but one participated in Real Women Run. We are in a moment right now in Utah that—if we all engage together—we can take this moment and make it a movement. That’s why I’m engaged in the YWCA and RWR. I want to do the work; I want to see women succeed.”
What do women bring to leadership positions?
“I think women can and do bring breadth of experience. They bring all that wealth of knowledge, passion, and compassion into a leadership role.”
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.