Letha Joye Jepson, Ph.D. is a 2010 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Jon Wergin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Carol Baron, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Susan Cannon, Ph.D., External Reader


women engineers, engineering, leadership development, corporate culture, corporations, quantitative research, mentoring, career development, human females

Document Type


Publication Date



"One in 4 women entering the engineering profession leaves after age 30, while only 1 in 10 of their male counterparts does" (Perusek, 2008, p. 20). I was interested in analyzing the factors supporting women engineers’ leadership development and success. My particular focus was on women engineers in corporate environments—the personal characteristics needed for a successful career and the impacts of social support, career development, and the corporate culture on their career progression. The aspects of social support included the factors of family, friends, and significant others and the levels of supports during the woman’s career. The features of corporation culture considered in this study were whether the culture was male- or female-dominated, as well as a combination of gender consciousness, networking, mentoring, and career development opportunities available for women. Personal characteristics included the level of perseverance, persistence despite adversity or discouragement, and self-reliance (a belief in oneself and capabilities). The findings of this study showed that the personal characteristics of having a positive attitude and resilience were the biggest factors in overall career success and satisfaction. Other findings based on the survey and participant comments also pointed to the critical component of corporations having an open environment that provided opportunities for leadership training, mentorship, networking, and special assignments. Also based on the comments, social support of family was important to overall career success and satisfaction. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible at the OhioLINK ETD Center,