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;
  • Sue Quitno-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; and
  • 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 extension 2116
Email: institute@cottey.edu


Denise Carrick Hedges, Director, Center for Women’s Leadership
institute@cottey.edu 417-667-8181 x2116
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.

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. ”

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.