About Transforming Lives-Women’s Leadership Interview Project

In partnership with the Writers House, Rutgers University Department of English, the Institute for Women's Leadership piloted Transforming Lives in 2009. This project combines filmmaking and interview skills to help our undergraduate Leadership Scholars learn from women leaders who are making a difference in the world. These student films have been created with the help from filmmakers Pilar Timpane, Chantal Eyong, Lizette Gesudan, Stephen Beeston, Steve Holloway, Scott Lazes, and Nicholas Salazer under Dena Seidel's supervision in the Writers House documentary class.

The purpose of the Transforming Lives project is to inspire and empower women of all ages to make positive change in their own lives, in their communities, in our state, nation, and the world. This educational initiative is a significant opportunity for Rutgers undergraduate students in the IWL Leadership Scholars Certificate Program to learn about leadership from women change makers, and to gain an understanding of the use of media as a vital tool for creating social change in the 21st century.

Women leaders selected for the Transforming Lives project will represent a variety of fields and interests. In what we hope will become a multi-year project, Transforming Lives will consider women’s leadership achievements in health, science, business, sports, social and community services, philanthropy, education, media, the arts, human rights, law and government.

Interviews are being conducted by IWL Leadership Scholars who will produce short documentaries that will be archived on the Institute for Women’s Leadership’s website.

Goals of the Transforming Lives Project:
  • Demonstrate and showcase women's leadership, making visible women's accomplishments, their approaches, and reflections on leadership for social change;
  • Examine what young leaders want to know about women's leadership for social change;
  • Increase awareness of interviews as a valuable vehicle for learning about leadership; and
  • Explore and analyze how leadership for social change varies in diverse contexts.
Interview Component of the Transforming Lives Project

A second component of the Transforming Lives-Women’s Leadership Interview Project includes selected written transcripts of interviews that IWL Leadership Scholars have conducted with women leaders. Since the inception of the Leadership Scholars Program in the fall of 1999, our students have conducted annual interviews with outstanding women leaders in both local and global contexts. This component of the project involves the collection, transcription, and posting of selected interviews in transcript form on our website. These transcripts should prove useful for researchers in the field of women’s leadership, for students interested in challenges and successes women face in leadership, and for practitioners and policy makers working on women’s issues. Broad areas the interviews cover include work and family issues; definitions of leadership; the ways that race, class, and gender influence access to, and exercise of, leadership; and generational issues in leadership.