University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan recently won a leadership award from the Women’s Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that offers professional development opportunities, counseling and other resources to women and families. Its annual leadership conference honors a small group of nationally known and accomplished women from diverse backgrounds and sectors.
Sullivan received the award at a March 9 conference in McLean, which drew about 800 attendees.
In her remarks, Sullivan contrasted “heroic” leadership with “sustainable” leadership. Sustainable leaders build groups and power that endure over the long haul, she said.
Sullivan also addressed the conference’s theme, “The Power of Purpose,” saying, “Everyday I get up, I am filled with the purpose of helping develop our future leaders.”
Along with Sullivan, the other awardees included Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Robin Chase, founder and former CEO of Zipcar; Deborah Phelps, director of the Educational Foundation of Baltimore Public Schools and mother of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps; retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau, one of the most decorated women in military service; Amy Goodman, lifestyle maven and author of “Wear This, Toss That!”; and Maria de Fatima Lima da Veiga, Cape Verde’s ambassador to the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
“Everyone was really thrilled to have [Sullivan] at our conference,” said Carol Loftur-Thun, Women’s Center CEO and executive director. “She is such an example of a strong, dedicated woman leader. We were just thrilled to have her as our honoree.”
The winners join a select group of women honored over the center’s past 27 years, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham; civil rights and women’s rights activist Dorothy Height; former news anchor Jane Pauley; and Sheila Johnson, entrepreneur and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and benefactor of the Curry School of Education’s Sheila C. Johnson Center for Human Services.