In The Beginning. . .
During the 1980's, there were numerous organizations highlighting the earning gap between men and women and Iowa was in the news as having very few women in educational administration. As an answer, Beverly Bunker (formerly Beverly Gillette) from the Iowa Department of Education organized the first conference, called Women in Higher Education, which was held in 1982 with over 500 women in attendance with many women in secondary and post secondary education administration participating.
Following the success of that first conference, a group was organized by then Board of Regents member Peg Anderson, with guidance from a group of other committed individuals: Pat Geadelmann, University of Northern Iowa; the late Sue Follon, then chair of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women and later a Vice President at UNI; the late Carol Rocklin Kay of ISU; John Hartung from the private college sector; Bob Barak from the Board of Regents office; Gene Gardner from the Iowa Community College Board of Trustees office; Beverly Bunker (formerly Beverly Gillette) from the Iowa Department of Education and others. The goal was to "get women thinking about moving up; about providing leadership" on Iowa higher education campuses.
The first The Way Up conference was then held in 1983 and was also funded by federal vocational funds from the Iowa Department of Education. The first conference reflected an enrollment of over 300 participants and the conference continues today. In 2016, a total of 30 conferences have been held.
The logo for The Way Up annual conference was designed to show women on their way up, with that persistent glass ceiling stopping the way for some women. The W represents both Women and The Way Up Conference. The arrow designates women on their Way Up. The rays on the bottom represent all the many glorious attributes and characteristics that women bring with them to help move them up and through the glass ceiling, which is represented by the line across the top of the W.