Thompson Rivers University

Former women university presidents discuss lessons in leadership

  Posted on: August 29, 2022

KAMLOOPS —Thompson Rivers University (TRU) kicks off the fall semester by hosting a free public event, Lessons on leadership: a conversation with women leaders, that features the first – and only – female presidents of two major Canadian universities.

Drs. Martha Piper and Indira Samarasekera, who oversaw the University of British Columbia and University of Alberta respectively, sit down for a forthright discussion with TRU Provost and Vice-President Academic Dr. Gillian Balfour on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Piper and Samarasekera will share their personal and professional stories, which they have chronicled in a new book, Nerve: Lessons on Leadership from Two Women Who Went First. Copies of the book are available at the TRU Book Store and at the event, where there will be a signing opportunity.

“As women, we know how to work hard in spades,” Piper told University Affairs recently. “Nobody works as hard as women do. But what we often lack is nerve. And by nerve, I mean the decision to act, to step out, to do something a little differently and to counter the trends.”

“Courage is facing things that come at you; nerve is stepping out and doing things that are different, are difficult, are scary,” Samarasekera said in the same article.

“Leadership takes nerve,” says Balfour. “Nerve is a sense of purpose and tenacity to do something that others think you can’t do or shouldn’t do. Without other women leaders to witness and learn from, nerve is sometimes not enough. . . . We need to recognize our own potential to lead, and to lift up other women along the way.”

This event is free, but registration through Eventbrite is requested as space is limited. If attendees have accessibility requirements, they can email or call 250-371-5667.

Date and time:
Thursday, Sept. 15
5 – 6 p.m.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and book signing is from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

Campus Activity Centre, Mountain Room (third floor)

Michele Young, Manager, Communications Content
University Relations, Thompson Rivers University
250-828-5361 |

Media Relations & Communications

Michele Young

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