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Women's History Month

Profiles in Leadership


Ann Coburn-Collins

Director of Adjunct Faculty & Academic Support Programs


1. What is your name and profession?

Ann Coburn-Collins
Director of Adjunct Faculty & Academic Support Programs

2. What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

I’m always excited for the beginning of March 1st! Women’s History Month not only honors women today but also those who lived in the past. It is my belief that Women’s History Month celebrates the sacrifices and the good work that women have done, past and present.  These are the deeds which have not always been noticed and celebrated.

3. As a woman, in what ways have you struggled to get to where you are today and how did you overcome those struggles?

One struggle professionally is that I do not have a PhD.  I didn’t go for one, when I was young because I didn’t believe I was smart enough.  I really had pretty poor self-esteem in my earlier life. Another challenge was that I  had to move often because my husband was the breadwinner after I had kids.  Money always seemed to be more important than place.  When my kids were older I was able to get a job that I loved.  But again, I had to move with my family, since I did not earn as much as my spouse. I overcame these struggles by building my self-esteem and maturing/growing as an individual. As I grew older, I knew I could not let other people control my life and my choices.  Also, I found a home here at SVSU which helped immensely.

4. What advice do you have for young women who are aspiring to follow their dreams?

My advice would be to follow your dreams.  Women can be anything, do anything they want. Women might have to struggle more than men because all things are still not equal.  But, if they have faith in themselves, they can be or do anything they want.

5. As a woman in your position, how have you fought for equity in the workplace and for other women?

I wouldn’t say I’ve fought for equity in the workplace. What I have done is to try to lift up women, especially those around me.  I have mentored quite a few women faculty, staff, and students through the years.  I tried to guide them toward whatever they defined as success either in their work or in their lives.

6. Who was your role model and how did they change your life?

I am not a religious person. But as a young person, I think that the teachings of Jesus guided me. Or I would say Mohammad or Ghandi. They were all teachers that helped guide and lead others.  They inspired me to be a good person and to try follow in their ways.  You notice those are all males.  As an enlightened adult, I would say that Hillary Clinton and Ruth Bader Ginsberg would be people I look to for guidance.  They broke so many norms in their efforts toward equity. Those are special women!

7. What is your hope for the next generation of women and girls?

I have daughters and granddaughters and my hope for them is to make the choices they want to make and to have the self-esteem and self-confidence to follow their dreams...  If this is the case, nobody and no force can stop them.  My hope for the next generation is that women can do anything they want to do. That they have the self-assurance that they can do anything if they try. Don’t listen to society. Listen to yourself and your heart.