About Us


National Advisory Council

On April 26-27, 2013, Cottey College hosted an on-campus, inaugural meeting of the National Advisory Council to the Institute for Women’s Leadership and Social Responsibility.

The Council is presently comprised of nine outstanding women educators and leaders from around the nation who will each serve a three-year, rotating term. The following members have been appointed to the Institute’s National Advisory Council:

  • Dr. Beverly Everett, Music Director of the Bismarck-Mandan and the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, who resides in both North Dakota and Minnesota and is also a P.E.O.
  • Marilyn Kredel, concert pianist with the Phoenix Symphony, and P.E.O. who resides in Paradise Valley, AZ.
  • Deborah Churchill Luster, former president and CEO, vice-chairman of the board, and co-founder of Annies’ Home-grown, Inc. and now President of Can Do Kid, Inc., who resides in Mill Valley, CA.
  • Lesli Pintor, Lecturer in Business Communications at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and PEO who resides in Tucson, AZ.
  • Sue Vicory, accomplished documentary film-maker, who lives in Del Mar, CA.
  • Donna Shavlik, who lives in Estes Park, CO and a former Board of Trustee for Cottey College and past director of the ACE’s former Office of Women in Higher Education.
  • Dr. Rita Stephan, foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State and a visiting researcher at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, who lives in the Washington, D.C. area.

Contact Us

Serenbetz Institute for Women’s Leadership, Social Responsibility and Global Awareness
1000 West Austin, Nevada, Missouri 64772
Telephone: (417) 667-8181 ext. 2116
Email: institute@cottey.edu

Faculty and Staff


Denise Carrick Hedges, Director of Leadership Development
417-667-8181, ext.2116

Since 1997, Denise Carrick Hedges has committed herself to leadership and educational opportunities for women and girls. Currently, Denise serves as the director of leadership development at the Serenbetz Institute for Women’s Leadership, Social Responsibility, and Global Awareness. In this role, Denise works with the students in the Leadership, Experiences, Opportunity certification program and coordinates other leadership initiatives through the Serenbetz Institute. Her bachelor’s 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.

Jamie Bloomfield, Administrative Assistant
(417) 667-8181, ext.2116

Ms. Bloomfield joined Cottey in the fall of 2017 to serve as an administrative assistant to those working on Serenbetz Institute initiatives and projects. Jamie received her Associate of Science degree from Fort Scott Community College. She has worked for a number of years in customer service, office management, and administrative assistant roles. She is dedicated to the work of helping others, including helping Cottey students as they work toward their leadership development goals. While working at Cottey, she plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Criminology.

Carol Clyde Gallagher, Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2117

Learn more about Dr. Clyde Gallagher from her faculty profile.






Jill Compton, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
147 RBAC
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2244

Dr. Compton provides administrative direction for the Serenbetz Institute, including overseeing the undergraduate research, leadership immersion, and summer leadership internship grant programs She earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and liberal studies from Maryville University of St. Louis and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She joined Cottey in August of 2017 after serving as Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of College Assessment at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, and as Senior Fellow for Undergraduate Education, Transfer, and Student Success at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Leadership Assistants

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.

Grace Diaz
Houston, Texas

Cottey Favorite: Cornbread — it is absolutely delicious and must not be missed.

Personal Leadership Definition: Leadership is a learning process. It begins within before it spreads out.

Bio: I grew up in Houston, TX but was raised in Guatemalan culture. Even though I am double-majoring in International Relations and Organizational Leadership and minoring in Spanish, there is still a lot to learn and develop. Believe me, my time management and communication skills are still being worked on with peers who are supporting and holding me accountable.

Jaquelyne Hernandez
Hometown: Jones, Oklahoma   

Cottey Favorite: Cottey provides numerous opportunities not only on campus but also within the community and other areas to enhance intellect, build leadership and to gain experiences by attending conventions, inspiring speakers, and festivals of diversity. Along with the opportunities, I enjoy the small classes and dedicated professors and staff; Cottey’s staff creates an environment where students are encouraged and aided in order to pursue their education.

Personal Definition of leadership: Leadership is a characteristic that everyone has; it’s at different levels and practiced at different levels for each person. Leadership is a practice that is done through a variety of areas such as, careers, churches, clubs, in a home, etc., in order to reach a goal.

Bio: I am a first-generation college student from Oklahoma. My ethnicity is Latina, and I love tortillas, beans, and salsa. I am currently studying Biology and minoring in fitness education. I plan to pursue a career as a Registered Dietitian and to be a personal certified trainer. In addition to my career goals, I also plan to travel the world in order to research each countries food and culture and how they affect

Anita Kamwendo
Lilongwe, Malawi

Cottey Favorite: All of my amazing friends and professors. Also, the dining hall’s chocolate stuffed truffle cookies. Yum.

Definition of leadership: Leadership is an exchange between people and communities, working towards the betterment of society as a whole.

Bio: I am majoring in International Relations, have been Model UN Club President, SGA Representative for Reeves Hall and a member of the Cottey College Assessment Committee. I just came back from study abroad in Japan and am looking forward to where the future will take me! I enjoy reading, writing and drawing in my spare time, as well as browsing the internet for cool memes.