Leadership Spotlight: Cory Owen

November 13, 2017

Each month WISA will showcase individuals on the WISA Leadership Team to allow members to get to know the women in executive positions in both a personal and professional capacity.

This spotlight will focus on Cory Owen, the Conference Engagement Co-Chair. Cory works full time as the Assistant Dean of International Advisement & Diversity Initiatives at The Juilliard School.


When you wake up in the morning, and you're mentally preparing yourself for another day at work, what excites you the most?

Spontaneous meetings with students are the best! I love running into my students in the hallway and learning about their current projects, thoughts on the news, a new favorite restaurant, etc.


What advice would you give to someone aspiring to move into a position similar to yours?

My advice is to pursue different areas of passion, even in an unofficial capacity! I'm very fortunate to have a position that allows me to work in numerous passion areas. Most of my career has been in traditional international education, but diversity has always been an important subject for me to explore, so I made it a priority to find ways to connect with diversity initiatives on each campus, even if there wasn't a direct correlation to my job.  That commitment has allowed me to marry two different areas (international education and diversity/inclusion work) into one functional area, which has only been possible due to my past experiences.


Why did you choose to enter the world of Student Affairs?

It was an interesting journey from a traditional international education career (which can fall under student affairs, but is often separate) to where I am now.  When I was at Rice University, I had the opportunity to move on campus and serve as an RA while still working full-time as an international advisor. Seeing that side of campus life opened my eyes and made me realize that there were a lot of other opportunities that I hadn't really thought about before. My favorite parts of each job have been working with students and programming, so that transition into more traditional student affairs setting just seemed natural.


What are your thoughts on work/life balance? Is there such a thing? If so, how do you achieve it?

I think it’s more about work/life integration. While I'm at work, if my sister needs to talk to me, I can take a few minutes to process through a concern she has. If I'm at dinner with my husband and a student texts me with a question, I have no problem answering them. While I know there needs to be boundaries, I think my years in international education really have me trained to be flexible with non-traditional hours because of time zone differences, so I'm always willing to be available if needed, even after hours.


If you were to do something other than work in Student Affairs, what would it be?

I'd love to own a small restaurant. I love food, and I think I would enjoy working with the chefs to curate a menu, being at the front of the house to greet the diners, and decorating the place to create the perfect atmosphere to escape the world for an hour or two.


How has your experience in your role been impacted by identifying as a woman?

I've only had women as supervisors, so I think my journey has been a little unique. Because of that, I think I've been a little sheltered in my career, and as I climb the ranks, I'm seeing less and less women (and less and less POC) which has been a transition. It is one thing to read the statistics and know that this happens, but when you're in meetings and realize how few other women are in the room with you, it is jarring.


We hope you've enjoyed getting to know more about Cory Owen! If you have a question for Cory regarding anything she mentioned above or her role on the WISA Leadership Team, please contact her directly at [email protected]

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