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About the CWL

The Center for Women's Leadership at UW Tacoma:

The newly formed Center for Women's Leadership represents a collaboration between the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the Milgard School of Business to honor the late Melanie Dressel, former CEO and President of Columbia Bank and influential, pioneering business leader whose impact was felt in the South Sound, nationally and globally. The Center will memorialize her commitment to supporting the next generation of authentic and effective leaders. The Dressel family generously provided a $1M leadership gift to support a cohort-based scholars program and the Center. Columbia Bank and other entities have also contributed. Our goal is to raise an initial total of $5 million to name the Center after Melanie Dressel as we continue to celebrate her commitment to leadership. The Melanie Dressel Scholars will be the Center's signature offering. Programs supporting leadership development and collective learning will underpin the Scholars program. Other Center program areas will include local and global community engagement, interdisciplinary research, and non-degree coursework. Please stay tuned for more details regarding our Center. In the meantime, explore our partner schools below.

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Discover CWL


  • Honor the memory and legacy of Melanie Dressel through the Melanie Dressel Scholars program, and the future naming of the Center.
  • Support an agenda of inclusive leadership for women and men. Upend the deficit model of leadership development, and focus on changing the ecology and context for leading, with emphasis on compassion and courage. 
  • Leverage and build partnerships and collaborations in the South Sound and globally. Serve as a clearinghouse for relevant resources, initiatives, and contacts.
  • Focus on intergenerational support and collective learning for emerging leaders, employers, and their allies.
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CWL Insight

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” - Audre Lorde

“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” - Rosa Parks

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Contact CWL


Acting Executive Director, Center for Women's Leadership Lecturer

Deputy Director, Center for Women's Leadership

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