Center for Women’s Leadership



What We Do

The mission of the Center for Women’s Leadership (CWL) is to provide an environment for building girls’ and women’s lives through enrichment, leadership development, and education. To accomplish this mission, the CWL is responsible for creating and conducting programs that help students develop and strengthen their leadership skills. We oversee three programs:

  • LEO (Leadership, Experiences, Opportunity) certification program for Cottey students to receive recognition and certification for their leadership efforts on campus.
  • The College’s Leader in Residence program, which brings a woman leader to campus for several days every year to present to classes and small groups, and meet with LEO students, faculty and staff, and;
  • In collaboration with other girl-serving organizations, the Center for Women’s Leadership works to develop the leadership skills of area girls. These efforts include:

Contact Information

Helen and George Washburn Center for Women’s Leadership
400 S. College (just south of Hinkhouse Center)
417-667-8181, ext. 2116


Denise Carrick Hedges, Director, Center for Women’s Leadership 417-667-8181 x2116
For the past eighteen years, Denise Carrick Hedges has committed herself to leadership and educational opportunities for women and girls. Currently, Denise serves as the director of the Center for Women’s Leadership at Cottey College and the facilitator for the Women’s Foundation Girls Leadership Program. Her degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication is from Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana. Denise earned her Master in Strategic Leadership in Business at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Robin Mallinson, Secretary, Center for Women’s Leadership, and Serenbetz Institute for Women’s Leadership, Social Responsibility, and Global Awareness 417-667-8181 x2116
Robin Mallinson received her Associate of Arts from Cottey College in 2007 and her Bachelor of Arts in family consumer sciences from Pittsburg State University in 2009. She is currently working on her Certificate in Organizational Leadership through Cottey College.

Leadership Assistants

Anita Kamwendo
Lilongwe, Malawi

Cottey Favorite: What I like best about Cottey is the supportive environment, and the focus on student growth.

Personal Definition of Leadership: My personal definition of leadership is using your gifts to help others be the best they can be.

“I was born and raised in Malawi, a tiny country in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am majoring in International Relations, and I’m currently the president of Cottey’s Model United Nations Club and working towards the Leadership, Experiences, Opportunity certification. I enjoy reading and writing in my spare time, as well as exercising and browsing the internet for cool recipes. ”

Cecelia Mackey
Calimesa, California

Cottey Favorite: I like that Cottey gives me the opportunity to be involved in everything and anything and also the beautiful greenery on campus

Definition of Leadership: To lead others in a way that you would want to be led.

For my future I would love to go into Elementary Education or Speech Therapy. I also love being active whether it is walking to the park, playing a sport, learning a new song on the piano, or going to a museum. I am involved in the Leadership, Experiences, Opportunity certification program, Student Government Association, and Golden Key.

Morgan Brown
Citrus County, Florida

Cottey Favorite: Being at Cottey with all of my friends! I also love the food and the new Fine Arts Building.

My Definition of Leadership: Leadership is the process of people together attempting to accomplish positive change—morally, ethically, and justly.

I am a business major and art minor. I am also pursuing the Certificate in Organizational Leadership. I am a Peer Listener, a member of the Leadership, Experiences, Opportunity certification program, and I work part-time for the Art Department. Both my grandmother and my aunt also attended Cottey, and I am a fifth generation P.E.O.

Maria Campos
Nevada, MO

Cottey Favorite: Cottey allows me to have another family that I know is here for me besides my own family.

Personal Definition of Leadership: Leadership is being able to lead a group without excluding someone and knowing when it is appropriate to follow instead of leading.

I am a Health Science major. I like to read, listen to music, swim, and hang out with friends. I’m also the Alphan Society President.

Grace Diaz
Houston, TX

Cottey Favorite: Cottey provides me with so many opportunities to experience diversity.

Personal Leadership Definition: Leadership is having the courage to lead, but also the knowledge that not always should you be the one leading the team.

I’m a Guatemalan who likes to skateboard or go for a run outside and enjoy nature. I am from the city so seeing a lot of trees and cows is exciting. I am an International Relations major. I am involved in the Leadership, Experiences, Opportunity certification program, Chicago Spring Break Trip, Work-Study Program, the Disciplinary Court Committee, and Model United Nations. Through these experiences I have been able to practice my leadership skills such as networking and being a team leader to encourage others and accomplish tasks together.

Cate Nolan
Hometown: Vonore, Tennessee

Cottey Favorite: The thing I look forward to most about Cottey is getting to become active on campus and in the community.

Personal Leadership Definition: I believe that leadership happens when a person demonstrates that he or she is capable of confidently making decisions and having a voice. Someone who is truly unafraid to be their self is a leader in my eyes.

Short Bio: I am a first-year student at Cottey. I am majoring in International Business and International Relations. I love to cook/bake, read, and anything that could remotely be considered crafty or creative. I am an animal lover, and if you can’t find me on campus on a weekend, I’m most likely at the local animal shelter. I have one younger brother who is 16, and we are very close. I look forward to getting to know everyone here on campus and at the CWL.