Women’s Leadership Summit

The Women’s Leadership Summit is an annual Plymouth State University event that encourages reflection, connection, and exploration in the picturesque White Mountains of New Hampshire.

An experience created with the intent of inspiring women to dedicate time for themselves and finding their “true north,” the summit centers around a selection of outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking, which vary in interest and skill level. Out on the trail or back at “basecamp” at the end of the day, the probability of a lightbulb moment (or two) and making lasting connections is at peak potential.

Inspired by philanthropist Carrie Morgridge’s book, Every Gift Matters: How Your Passion Can Change the World, Patti Biederman ’76, active community member and owner of Biederman’s Deli, and Lauren Lavigne ’94, ’96G, PSU assistant athletic director, developed an engaging platform for women to connect in various ways.

The first summit was held in August 2016 and its outreach grows annually. From the summit this year springs a new initiative, the Women’s Circle of Giving, which will help women forge and nurture healthy relationships, focus on well-being, and give back to the PSU community in the form of scholarships and volunteerism.

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Upcoming Events

2018 Women’s Leadership Summit

The 2018 Women’s Leadership Summit will be a weekend event at the new Merrill Place Conference Center, August 1112.
An optional overnight component will provide participants with additional opportunities to network and explore the beauty surrounding their alma mater.

Saturday, August 11, 2018:

Squam Lakes Boat Cruise, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Meet at the Squam Lakes Science Center Boat Launch at 4:15 p.m. In case of rain, we will attend a talk at the Science Center.
$10 per person

Dinner with Guest Speaker Clare Mendelsohn, 6:45-8:00 p.m.
Merrill Place Conference Center
Complimentary for Women’s Leadership Summit attendees

Clare Mendelsohn is Forest Supervisor of the White Mountain National Forest. Before joining the WMNF, Clare was an environmental professional for 25 years in various civilian capacities with the U.S. Air Force, with her last 11 years spent in San Francisco, CA as the Director of the Western Regional Environmental Office and as the Department of Defense Regional Environmental Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest. In 2013, Clare fulfilled her long-time dream of working for the Forest Service, taking the position of Public Services Team Leader on the Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where she grew up.  In June 2015 she joined the White Mountain National Forest as the Deputy Forest Supervisor. And in October 2017 she was appointed as the Forest Supervisor.

Clare has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, an M.S. in Environmental & Engineering Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Fellows Program. She resides in Campton, NH with her wife Ida, dog Boots and cat Berry.

Overnight Accommodations at Merrill Place Available for Saturday night:

  • Single Bedroom with Private Bathroom – $70 per person
  • Single Bedroom with Shared Bathroom – $65 per person
    *Bathroom is shared with adjoining bedroom
  • Double Bedroom with Private Bathroom – $60 per person

Rooms include linens and towels.

Sunday, August 12, 2018:

Registration & Continental Breakfast, 7:30 a.m.
Merrill Place Conference Center

Welcome & Break into Activities, 8:00 a.m.
$10 per person. Attendees register for one of the following activities:

  • Easy Hike (similar to Rattlesnake Trail) with Patti Biederman ’76 and Dianne Rappa ’76
  • Moderate Hike (similar to Morgan & Percival or Welch & Dickey loops) with Lauren Lavigne ’94,’96G and Kim Bownes ’08G
    *This hike leaves at 7:45 a.m. sharp!
  • Introductory Rock Climbing experience with Madeline McElaney’02, ’10G (10 guests max)
  • Outdoor Ropes Course with Julie Bisson ’13 and Sarah Sibley (20 guests max)
  • Historical Walk around the town of Plymouth with Louise McCormack ’72 (18 guests max)
  • Bike Ride with Robbin Adams ’83 touring the beautiful back roads near Plymouth
    *BYOB! (Bring Your Own Bike!)

Lunch with Music by Audrey Drake, 12:30 p.m.
Merrill Place Conference Center
Complimentary for Women’s Leadership Summit attendees
Light hors d’oeuvres, Beer and wine, Music, Massages, and Yoga!


WLS: The Power of Resiliency: Finding & Scaling Your Summit to a Healthier YOU! (Short version)

Personal story about building resiliency from Denise Normandin, MA, RD, LD. Faculty Member and Project Director at Plymouth State University.


Full version

Full talk, personal story about building resiliency from Denise Normandin, MA, RD, LD. Faculty Member and Project Director at Plymouth State University.


Fostering Philanthropy

Read the full article on the Plymouth Magazine website.

Thank you to our Sponsors!




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