ATLANTA–Georgia State University’s WomenLead program has announced faculty appointments to a new endowed chair and two new named endowed professorships.
Charlotte Alexander, an associate professor in the Robinson College of Business’s Institute for Insight with a secondary appointment in the College of Law, holds the Connie and Ken McDaniel WomenLead Chair. Alexander teaches WomenLead in Policy and Politics and directs Georgia State’s Legal Analytics Lab, an interdisciplinary unit that brings together the methodological expertise of Robinson’s business analytics faculty with the domain expertise of College of Law faculty. Alexander received the Distinguished Early Career Faculty Award from the Academy of Legal Studies in Business in 2016.
Connie McDaniel (B.B.A. ’80) and Ken McDaniel (B.B.A. ’82, M.P.A. ’84) met as undergraduate accounting students. Connie spent most of her career at The Coca-Cola Company, retiring as vice president and chief of internal audit. A member of Robinson’s Board of Advisors, she has received the Alumni Award for Service to the Robinson College and the Georgia State Distinguished Alumni Award. Ken taught in the School of Accountancy and served as faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor society for business students.
Kris Byron (M.S. ’97, Ph.D. ’03), a professor of managerial sciences in the Robinson College, holds the Meredith M. Leapley WomenLead Professorship. Byron’s research interests include creativity, emotion, stress, and diversity. She previously was associate editor of the Academy of Management Review and is incoming senior editor of the Journal of Management. Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company and other media outlets have covered her research on the impact of women board directors on firm financial performance.
Leapley is founder and CEO of Leapley Construction, a commercial interior general contracting firm and one of the fastest-growing women-owned companies in the Southeast. Her clients including The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Power, Kaiser Permanente, and Norfolk Southern. She serves on the Georgia State University Foundation Board of Trustees and the Robinson College Board of Advisors. A member of C200 (formerly the Committee of 200), she has twice brought members of the invitation-only organization of prominent women executives to meet with WomenLead students. Leapley received the 2018 Robinson College Honorary Alumna award.
Sarah Gershon, an associate professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences, holds the Ray and John Uttenhove WomenLead Professorship. Gershon teaches WomenLead in Policy and Politics. Her research focuses primarily on the incorporation of traditionally underrepresented groups (including women, and racial and ethnic minorities) into the American political system. She directs a five-year research study assessing student ambition before and after participating in the semester-long WomenLead program.
Ray Uttenhove (M.A. ’72, M.Ed. ’75) is executive vice president and managing principal of SRS Real Estate Partners and for multiple years has been named the city’s top retail producer by the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. She is past chair of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, former president of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Atlanta, a past trustee of the Georgia State University Foundation Board and a member of Georgia State’s Real Estate Honorary Board. She serves on the Atlanta Symphony Board of Counselor, and the Spark Giving Circle of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta.
“We are enormously grateful to Connie and Ken McDaniel, Meredith Leapley, and Ray and John Uttenhove for their generosity and for their commitment to WomenLead and our faculty. Three endowed positions at once are unprecedented and will have a tremendous, lasting impact on WomenLead and Georgia State University,” said Richard Phillips, dean of the Robinson College.
“The endowed WomenLead chair and professorships ensure the program will endure in perpetuity by supporting the work of faculty devoted to empowering students across Georgia State and placing them on a trajectory for success,” said Nancy Mansfield, director of WomenLead.
WomenLead began as a pilot program with 26 students in spring 2015 to equip female students to excel in school, enter the workforce with developed skills and find their place in leadership positions. As of spring 2020, 840 students across the university have taken the semester-long course, offered as WomenLead in Business, WomenLead in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, WomenLead in Policy and Politics, and WomenLead in Science. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business named it an “innovation that inspires” in 2018.
Robinson College of Business
Georgia State University