Award-Winning NBC Correspondent to Address U.Va. Women in Leadership Conference Feb. 18

February 11, 2010 — Sara A. James, an award-winning correspondent for "Dateline NBC" who has covered some of the most compelling stories of the past two decades, will speak at the University of Virginia on Feb. 18. Her talk, "Live from Down Under: Lessons from Network News, Motherhood, and Oz," will begin at 2 p.m. in Newcomb Hall's South Meeting Room. The talk is free and open to the public.

James is the featured speaker for U.Va.'s second Women in Leadership Conference, to be held Feb. 18-19. The conference, which will explore the theme, "Leading by Example," is open to University alumnae, students, faculty and community members. While James' talk is free, the charge to attend the rest of the conference is $150, which includes a reception and dinner on Thursday evening and a luncheon on Friday.

In her career as a broadcast journalist, James has covered a wide range of stories in the U.S. and overseas. Her international coverage has included the Bosnian war crimes tribunal, medical experiments conducted on prisoners of war by the Japanese during World War II and an investigation of present-day slavery in Sudan.

In 1999, she journeyed to Afghanistan to report on the brutal Taliban regime and its treatment of women. The year before that, she descended to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for the "Dateline/Discovery" special, "Raising the Titanic."

Domestically, James has covered a host of watershed events, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing trial.

With her childhood friend, wildlife filmmaker Ginger Mauney, James co-authored "The Best of Friends: Two Women, Two Continents, and One Enduring Friendship," published in 2007.

James earned a bachelor's degree from U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences in 1983.

In addition to James, the featured speakers of the conference include Cheryl D. Mills, a 1987 graduate of the College who is currently serving as counselor and chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She will appear in conjunction with her selection as the 2010 U.Va. Distinguished Alumna of the Year, presented by the Women's Center.

Also appearing is Sherrie Rollins Westin, a 1980 graduate of the College, who was an official in the administration of President George H.W. Bush and is currently the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Sesame Workshop; and Pattie Sellers, a 1982 graduate of the College who is a senior editor of Fortune magazine and chairs Fortune's annual "Most Powerful Women Summit," a national gathering of women leaders in business, philanthropy, government, academia and the arts.

The conference is being organized by the U.Va. Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Program and supported by other University units and corporate sponsors.

To register or learn more about the conference, visit the conference Web site.

— By Charlotte Crystal