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April 17, 2017   Inside UGA

First class

Ten inaugural participants selected for Women’s Staff Leadership Institute

Juliett Dinkins

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By Juliett Dinkins | April 17, 2017
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Ten individuals have been named the first participants in the university's Women's Staff Leadership Institute.

Launched in January by Human Resources, the WSLI is an annual program aligned with the Women's Leadership Initiative launched in 2015 by President Jere W. Morehead and Provost Pamela Whitten.

It is administered through the Training and Development Department with the support of executive sponsors Jennifer L. Frum, vice president for public service and outreach, and Dawn Hall Cartee, director of the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel.  Allie Cox, senior professional development leader in Training and Development, coordinates the WSLI.

Juan Jarrett, associate vice president for human resources, recognizes the significance of a women's leadership development program for staff at UGA.

"It's my pleasure to support this very worthy initiative. Human Resources Training & Development strives to meet the professional development needs of the university community, and the Women's Staff Leadership Institute is an important way to encourage the personal and professional growth of our staff," he said.

Frum echoed that sentiment.

"The success of UGA and Georgia depends on a pipeline of people with diverse skill sets and ideas who can move into leadership roles," she said. "This program will help a dynamic group of women develop leadership skills that will enable them to reach their highest potential and serve as role models for other staff and students."

The 2017 cohort includes employees from four units and four schools and colleges. Beginning April 24, they will meet monthly through October to attend half-day leadership workshops and take part in discussions on campus with UGA senior administrators.

"The women selected for the inaugural class of the Women's Staff Leadership Institute already have achieved success in their careers at UGA," said Cartee. "We want them to develop leadership skills that will enhance that success and make them even more valuable to the university."

Members of the institute's inaugural class are:
Jan Barham, associate dean of ­students and director of the Tate Student Center in the Division of Student Affairs. At UGA since 2004, Barham oversees management of the Campus Reservations, Events & Technical Services, the Center for Student Activities and Involvement, Print & Copy Services, UGA Card Office, Legion Pool & Field, and Tate Operations. She serves as a member of the Dean of Students administrative team and on committees such as the Behavior Assessment Response Council, Sexual Assault Response Team and UGA Women's Coordinating Council. She is also part of the advising team for the Student Government Association.

Sadie Brown, director of fiscal affairs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Brown, who has worked at UGA since 2002, is responsible for core finance and administrative support to the one of the university's largest organizations. She manages the college budget of approximately $225 million including budget development, position management, preparation of fiscal and personnel documents, studies and reports for use in management decisions, external accountability and advising CAES administration.

Julie Cheney, senior director of alumni operations in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations. Cheney, who started in higher education in 1999, left to work at UNC-Chapel Hill and returned to UGA in 2007. She currently leads a full spectrum of finance and administration obligations for the Office of Alumni Relations, oversees analytic solutions for measuring alumni
engagement, manages personnel processes from hiring to employee engagement and works in collaboration and consultation with UGA's school, college and unit alumni directors.

Carla Dennis, director of administrative services and communications in University Housing, has been employed at UGA since 2000. In addition to providing leadership for the administrative services and communications operations for University Housing, she oversees marketing and public relations, information technology, business and human resources, and assignments and occupancy management aspects for Housing.

Anjali Dougherty, associate director of Internal Auditing, joined UGA in 2006. As a university auditor, she works with an array of constituents at all levels of the organization to help them develop better financial and operational processes and think  more critically about their approach to problem solving and also is involved in the risk assessment process for the university, the development of the annual audit plan, and the training of audit staff.

Melanie Ford, director of construction in the Office of University Architects, began working at UGA in 2007. Her main ­responsibilities include overseeing the construction of all capital construction projects and major renovations. She is involved with the day-to-day interface with the construction managers hired on campus. She also provides guidance to construction managers and University Architect project managers for compliance of construction with applicable codes and UGA's design guidelines.

Heather McCormick, regional director of development in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations. With UGA since 2012, McCormick builds and maintains relationships with alumni and friends in an effort to raise leadership and major gifts for the university. She also represents UGA's Development and Alumni Relations Office in a major gift capacity representing all of the university's schools, colleges and units over an expansive territory of the U.S.

Emily Saunders, director of alumni relations for the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, has been at UGA since 2007. She connects Warnell alumni with current students, faculty and employers and encourages their engagement with the university. She also manages Warnell's regional events, homecoming activities, annual giving campaigns, mentor program, professional communications with alumni and other creative programs aimed at keeping the school's constituents engaged.

Megan Ward, administrative director of the New Media Institute in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been employed at UGA since 2013 and oversees the operations of the New Media Institute. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate New Media and Emerging Media courses, Ward also serves as licensee for TEDxUGA, leading all curation and organizing efforts for the annual event.

Cara Winston Simmons, director of the Student Success and Advising Center in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, has worked at UGA since 2003. She is responsible for directing the center's activities around recruitment, orientation, advising, career development, student involvement and leadership, experiential learning and student programming. She also provides oversight and secures funding for The Bridge, a four-part transition series for new FACS students, and the UGA Hygiene Closet.

"The growth of the Women's Leadership Initiative to include a range of programming for faculty, staff and students underscores this institution's commitment to helping individuals reach their full potential," Whitten said. "An extraordinary group of professionals has been selected for the inaugural cohort of the Women's Staff Leadership Institute, and they are poised to make an even greater impact on the University of Georgia."