Are there female leaders and aspiring leaders in your district? Encourage them to attend the virtual 2021 Women in Leadership Conference this spring!

Join MASA April 22-23, 2021 online for this growing, annual event. Attendees will hear from female leaders in education and other career fields, discuss hot topics in education, and network with like-minded women from school districts throughout the state.




Speakers and Other Special Guests

We’re excited to welcome three dynamic state leaders and two national speakers to the Women in Leadership Conference in 2021. They will discuss their experiences, their career paths, and their insights from some of the top positions in their field.

Motivational Speaker Jessica Rector

Jessica Rector’s mission is simple: transform lives.

Jessica, a former TV talk show host and sales producer, uses her company’s research and personal experiences to help people uplevel their performance, while reducing burnout. Through her five-step proprietary process on inner communication, audiences are able to turn their inner dialogue into actionable steps to implement right away. She will give her talk, “Fire Up So You Don’t Burnout.”

Just Added: Posthumously Honoring NASA Hero Katherine Johnson

Join us to hear from a special guest speaker as we celebrate and posthumously honor an incredible female leader and NASA hero, Katherine Johnson. We will be joined by Joylette Hylick, Katherine’s daughter, to hear a first-hand account of how her mother, the mathematician portrayed in the Oscar nominated film “Hidden Figures,” shattered the glass with calculations that were critical to the success of the first U.S. and subsequent crewed spaceflights. You won’t want to miss this special session to hear Katherine’s incredible story as told by her daughter.

Joylette was a mathematician and information technology professional in her own right who forged a chapter of her professional journey at NASA Langley Research Center as a mathematician. Joylette retired from Lockheed Martin Corporation in 2002. During her career, she worked as a programmer, in systems integration and later advanced to project management leadership. She earned an M.S. in Information Systems from Drexel University in Philadelphia and a B.A. in Mathematics from Hampton University in VA.


Also Featuring

Attorney General Dana Nessel
A former criminal prosecutor in Wayne County and civil rights attorney Dana Nessel was sworn in as Michigan’s 54th Attorney General on January 1, 2019. Her core initiatives have been fashioned in the image of her promise to Michigan’s residents — to give the Department of Attorney General back to the people it serves. As the State’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, Attorney General Nessel launched Michigan’s Elder Abuse Task Force, in partnership with the Michigan Supreme Court, to stop the rise of crimes against one of our most vulnerable populations. She launched the Department’s first Auto Insurance Fraud Unit to investigate and prosecute individuals and businesses who exploit Michigan residents and the system designed to protect the safety of Michigan’s drivers.  She has continued the Department’s two largest criminal investigations into the Flint Water Crisis and clergy abuse in the Catholic Church. After starting a Hate Crimes Unit in 2019, she has recently expanded that Unit’s mission to tackle the increase in crimes related to domestic terrorism.  Lastly, she has made public integrity a top priority of the Department, reviewing and prosecuting – where appropriate – cases involving law enforcement and other public officials due to conflicts of interest for county prosecutors.

State Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack
Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack joined the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2013, and became the Chief Justice in January 2019.

An NYU Law graduate, Chief Justice McCormack started her legal career in New York City.  In 1996 she joined the Yale Law School faculty.  She then joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty, in 1998, where she taught criminal law, legal ethics, and various clinics.  She was named Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in 2002.

Chief Justice McCormack was elected to The American Law Institute in 2013.  The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology appointed her to the National Commission on Forensic Science in 2014.  She serves as an editor on the ABA’s preeminent journal, Litigation.  In 2019, Governor Whitmer appointed her as Co-Chair of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.  Chief Justice McCormack continues to teach at the University of Michigan each year as well as publish in professional journals and law media.

Chief Justice McCormack is married to Steven Croley, a partner at Latham and Watkins.  They have four children.


Chief Deputy Superintendent Sheila Alles
Sheila Alles is the Chief Deputy Superintendent for the Michigan Department of Education, resuming her position after serving as the Interim State Superintendent.

In May 2018, the State Board of Education appointed Sheila as the Interim State Superintendent following the passing of State Superintendent, Brian Whiston.  She was the first woman of state superintendents in almost 200 years and served in this position for 15 months until the appointment in August 2019 of Dr. Michael Rice as State Superintendent.

Sheila Alles was the Chief Deputy Superintendent for the Michigan Department of Education from March 2017 to May 2018.  One of her biggest priorities is to continue the implementation of Michigan’s Strategic Plan to become a Top 10 Education State in 10 years.


9:00 a.m. Registration Open
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Sharing Her Story: Dana Nessel
Dana Nessel, Michigan Attorney General 
11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. Break
11:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.  Sharing Her Story: Bridget Mary McCormack
Bridget Mary McCormack, 
Chief Justice, Michigan Supreme Court
12:10 – 12:20 p.m. Thought Exchange 
12:30 p.m. Conclusion of Day 1
8:00 a.m. Registration Opens
8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Keynote: Fire Up So You Don’t Burn Out
Jessica Rector, Mindset and Burnout Expert, jessICAREctor International
10:30 – 10:40 a.m. Break
10:40 – 11:10 a.m. Networking – How We’re Shattering the Glass
11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Sharing Her Story: Sheila Alles
Sheila Alles, Chief Deputy Superintendent, Michigan Department of Education
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Sharing Her Story: NASA Heroine Katherine Johnson
Joylette Hylick, daughter of Katherine Johnson
12:30 p.m. Closing Remarks