Opportunity Nation and Otterbein University Host Conference on Women & the American Dream


March 9, 2012


Christopher Cashman, 212-804-6370


Deputy Director Elizabeth Clay Roy joins notable female dignitaries to explore the concept of the American Dream and its implication for women

Recognizing the unique challenges American women of all ages face today with regard to opportunity and economic mobility, Opportunity Nation – a broad-based, cross-partisan coalition of more than 200 public, private, non-profit, civilian and military organizations working to create a shared plan to restore opportunity in America – and Otterbein University partnered to host a conference examining actions that can be taken to ensure that tomorrow’s female leaders are able to reach their fullest potential with fewer challenges and barriers.

The event brought together notable female dignitaries in Ohio to spark a discussion on the under-examined aspect of gender inequality present in trying to achieve the American Dream.

“Study after study show that economic mobility is grinding to a halt in America, and when that happens we are at risk of losing our country’s future. If our future innovators, entrepreneurs, political leaders, and educators are not able to reach their potential, then we as a country will fail to reach ours,” said Elizabeth Clay Roy, deputy director of Opportunity Nation. “That’s why Opportunity Nation was created, to focus the collective attention of more than 200 organizations and hundreds of key stakeholders in seeing economic mobility and opportunity once again at the top of the national agenda. Otterbein has been a recognized leader in providing opportunity to this region’s youth for years, and conversations like the one we’re having today are a prime example of how we can work together to ensure that our future is rich with possibilities to be successful. Opportunity Nation is proud to count them as a key member of our Higher Education Council and to work with them on this unique look at women and the new American Dream.”

“It is our responsibility to address the structural inequities that challenge and undermine women, for it is through meaningful community partnerships and educational opportunities that we build capacities for women and girls to flourish,”

said President Krendl. “Today’s summit at Otterbein will help us imagine a future in which women and girls enjoy genuine economic and social mobility, enhanced opportunities for personal and professional growth, and the authority to help lead us in the direction of a more just and democratic world.”

Based on the day’s discussion, participants will now work to create a strategic regional action plan for higher education and community partners that will better prepare women to succeed in the 21st century. Specifically, the conference is centered around five core goals:

  1. To raise awareness about the institutional and structural obstacles facing women who want to achieve social, political, and economic mobility.
  2. To develop new strategies in higher education for women and girls to create pathways for their futures.
  3. To cultivate sustainable community partnerships that help create more “communities of opportunity” where students, faculty, non-profits, corporations, and neighbors are equally invested in the wellness of our shared landscapes.
  4. To train a new generation to become social change agents in their own communities.
  5. To unleash new and existing resources to transform the everyday experiences of women and girls.

Speakers included Jo Luck, former president of Heifer International and a senior advisor to USAID; Chris Jansing, a veteran journalist and host of MSNBC’s Jansing and Co; Shirley Sagawa, a leading architect of the AmeriCorps program and author of the recent book The American Way to Change: How National Service and Volunteers are Transforming America; Caryn McTighe Musil, senior vice president at the Association of American Colleges and Universities; Kerrii B. Anderson, former chief executive officer and president of Wendy’s International; and Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Today’s event is the second in a series of regional events being convened by Opportunity Nation’s Higher Education Council, an inclusive group of colleges and universities that each have committed to holding an event on their campus in 2012 that pushes opportunity and the American Dream to the forefront of their community’s discussions ( In addition, the president of each campus is serving on the Opportunity Nation Leadership Council, where they are using their leadership position as a platform to facilitate discussions about local and regional actions that can be taken to improve opportunity in their communities.

To learn more about Opportunity Nation and the steps they are taking to develop a shared plan to restore opportunity in America, visit


Opportunity Nation is a cross-partisan national campaign to promote opportunity, social mobility, and access to the American Dream. The campaign has built a broad coalition of nearly 200 businesses, non-profits, corporate partners, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, and military groups to help create and advocate for a shared, cross-partisan plan that will provide better skills, more quality jobs, and healthier communities to all Americans. For more information please visit and check us out on Twitter @oppnation and on Facebook at OpportunityNation. 

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