Stephanie Marshall

World-renowned educator Stephanie Marshall will speak March 8 in Davenport.

True leadership isn’t defined by bosses who heroically sweep in with unique talents and strategies, or even by those who try to imitate those bosses’ best practices.

Instead, international education leader Stephanie Pace Marshall said she sees the most effective and strongest leaders as those who “invite the greatest talent and potential, the genius and the passion and long-term commitment of people to their organizations because that’s what they want to do.”

“We all want our lives and our work to count for something,” she said.

With more than four decades of experience in education, the founding president and president emerita of the Illinois Math and Science Academy will talk about her career path and the power of good leadership March 8 at the Women’s Connection’s “Women in Leadership” luncheon in Davenport.

As an appointee to President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative and Mikhail Gorbachev’s State of the World forum, Marshall speaks internationally about shaping the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders.

She has worked in every level of education, from elementary teacher to graduate-school faculty member, and was inducted into the Illinois Hall of Fame in 2005. She also received the state’s highest honor, election into the Lincoln Academy as a Lincoln Laureate, a distinction given to those whose achievements “contributed to the betterment of mankind.”

Colleen Rafferty of the Women’s Connection said she is excited about Marshall’s visit and especially hopes many Quad-City area educators will attend.

Marshall said many people have distorted views of power and authority, believing money is the main motivation for good work.

“In the short term, that’s true,” Marshall said. “But in the long term for sustainability, creativity and high levels of innovation, you need long-term commitment, and it doesn’t matter what you pay people.”

Women typically want employers to “honor who they are” and feel most motivated when they can connect their talents to the organization, she said.

“What motivates people is a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning in their work, a sense of freedom and autonomy, of what we’re trying to achieve together is so much bigger and more important than any one of us,” she said.


WHAT:Stephanie Pace Marshall, nationally known education leader and founding president of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, will present the keynote speech, “Transformative Leadership: It’s an Inside Job,” at the next Women’s Connection’s “Women in Leadership” event.


WHEN: Noon to 1:15 p.m. Thursday, March 8


WHERE: Radisson Quad-City Plaza, Davenport


MORE INFORMATION: Cost is $20 for Women’s Connection members, $25 for non-members. To register, go online to or call 309-631-0167. The event is presented by Alcoa, DHCU Community Credit Union and Merrill Lynch, with additional support from Western Illinois University – Quad-Cities. For more information about Marshall, go to her website at