Smiling brown-skinned woman with curly brown hair, glasses, and a bright pink suit coat, sitting in crowd in conference setting with UMB Together beneath photo

UMB affirms its commitment to support and advance the development of all women.

Although March is Women’s History Month, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) stands as a beacon of empowerment for women all year long. With four out of seven school dean and key leadership positions held by women, the University’s commitment to gender equality is clear.

And our dedication to fostering opportunities for career advancement extends well beyond the realms of academic administration. UMB affirms its commitment to support and advance the development of all women — regardless of job title or salary level — to celebrate their achievements, and collaborate to foster a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse work environment by providing opportunities that propel women toward career success and advancement. Women across diverse job types and salary levels are actively progressing in their careers, securing salary increases, and earning promotions, thanks in part to the many programs and opportunities made available to them as employees at UMB.

Organizations such as the President’s Council for Women (PCW) and the UMBrella Group highlight and promote the growth of all women at UMB, as do popular events such as the annual UMBrella Women’s History Month Symposium. And, specifically at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Women in Medicine and Science offers a similar mission.

The President’s Council for Women is advisory to the president and works to foster an environment of equity, opportunity, and fulfillment for all women at UMB. Members of the council take on leadership roles, participate in, and have a voice in the development of institutional initiatives, policies, and procedures to make sure such efforts are equitable and inclusive. PCW also partners with other entities with overlapping goals to implement tactics identified in the University’s Strategic Plan to achieve any gender equity goals.

UMBrella — UMB Roundtable on Empowerment in Leadership and Leveraging Aspirations — was founded in 2014 when Jennifer B. Litchman, MA, senior vice president for external affairs, recognized a need for additional support for women on campus. From this vision, UMBrella was born. With the support of then-President Jay A. Perman, MD, Litchman gathered a committee of influential women from leadership positions across the University. Together, they forged a path to support women at all levels of the organization, creating an environment where each individual can thrive.

Living its mission to help women amplify their voices, feel empowered, and achieve their full potential, UMBrella initiated seminars, hosted lunch-and-learn events, and established a book club and affinity groups. As time progressed, the focus shifted toward a robust coaching program designed to develop and support all UMB women (and those who identify as women) employees. A dynamic speaker series addressing women’s issues, an awards program recognizing women’s successes, and scholarships for professional development opportunities have become integral components of UMBrella’s offerings.

UMBrella’s work has been recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE), which announced March 13 that UMBrella is the 2024 recipient of its State Network Leadership Award.  

UMB Professional Administratives Committed to Excellence (UMBPACE) later emerged as an UMBrella affinity group dedicated to embracing the challenges faced by administrative staff members at the University. This group aims to empower UMB administrative professionals through mentoring, teaching, encouraging, and identifying paths to excellence.

Additionally, in collaboration with Human Resource Services, UMBrella offers the UMBrella Coaching Program. Launched in 2017, this program aims to engage women in a transformative journey, complete with supportive coaches, networking opportunities, and exclusive activities. To date, over 300 women have participated, each engaging with a coaching group during monthly meetings to discuss career-related topics.

Currently in its sixth cohort, the program’s discussion topics have included goal-setting, cultivating self-confidence, taking charge of one’s career, networking, managing up, negotiating, and effective communication. Participants from across the University, regardless of job description or salary, benefit from the development of coaching relationships, confidential discussions with peers, and engagement in a program focused on the skills necessary for personal and professional success.

UMBrella offers numerous other opportunities for women throughout the year, including:

  • The Women’s History Month Symposium, held each March, is an annual cornerstone event that features keynote speakers, workshops, and networking. The daylong symposium encapsulates the essence of UMBrella’s mission — to provide a platform for women to amplify their voices, become empowered, and achieve their full potential. This year’s event included a kickoff conversation with Maryland First Lady Dawn Flythe Moore.
  • The UMBrella Speaker Series, which shines a spotlight on notable women from various areas of expertise.
  • Scholarships that provide opportunities for women to learn skills to advance job growth, career development, and professional growth by covering costs for conferences, webinars, trainings, textbooks, GED programs, and other resources that support opportunities for learning and development. In 2023, nine scholarships were awarded for a total of $15,255.

These councils and groups have provided opportunities that serve as pillars of support within the University. Collectively, they foster an environment where women can amplify their voices, become empowered, and achieve their full potential — a testament to UMB’s commitment to gender equality and the holistic empowerment of its community.

To learn more about how women are uplifted through year-round empowerment initiatives or how you can be involved, go to the UMBrella homepage.

Students, faculty, and staff, let your voice be heard!
Submit Your Story.