Gazebo Gazette

Dr. Heather Annulis, Director of the School of Leadership in The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business & Economic Development and resident of Pass Christian, recently earned the Leadership Award from the Women in Higher Education Mississippi Network (WHEMN).

Dr. Annulis received the award at the 20th annual WHEMN Conference in Oxford, Miss., on Feb. 24, 2023.  The WHEMN Leadership Award recognizes a woman who takes a role in mentoring other women.

According to WHEMN guidelines, “She should have demonstrated leadership skills and established practices of enhancing campus climate by finding ways… to inspire her colleagues and institution to higher levels of achievement. She would be noted for her innovative approach to leadership challenges. Her attitude, values, and actions represent her philosophy of how she inspires positive changes in her work environment and her community.”

Annulis joined the faculty of Southern Miss in 2000 and was named the first Director of the new School of Leadership in 2020.

The school unites over 50 faculty and adjuncts from diverse disciplines. In her new role, Dr. Annulis founded the Women in Leadership group, which mentors junior faculty, strives to create opportunities for women in academia, and creates a network for students and faculty to high- light women’s strengths.

Over the past 23 years, Annulis has generated over $12 million in external funding for Southern Miss; NASA, the US Department of Labor, AccelerateMS, and the MS Department of Employment Security have funded her research.

In addition, she chaired over 35 Ph.D. dissertations, served as a member of over 60 Ph.D. dissertation committees, and mentored over 100 master’s students to achieve educational success.

Annulis has spent her career bringing innovative strategies to higher education. Selflessness, a servant’s heart, a never-give-up spirit, and genuine kindness toward others are keys to her success. She states, “True leaders lift others up and see the positives in every situation and every human being.”

Upon receiving the award, Annulis stated, “I am humbled to be honored in this way by my peers. It is such a privilege to help mentor our Human Capital Development graduate students. What they learn in this program will help them develop other human capital, which benefits our state and region.”

Dena Temple, Administrative Specialist for the School of Leadership at USM, nominated Dr. Annulis.

“Heather is a mentor to all the women in our school, encouraging leadership growth in newer and younger faculty members and insisting that staff continue to learn and grow as people, not just as employees. She has made me a kinder person through her kindness, and a better person through her decency. I cannot imagine a more deserving candidate.”

“It is my honor to represent Southern Miss as the recipient of this honor,” said Annulis. “I love this work, my students, our School of Leadership team, and being a part of higher education in Mississippi.”

The School of Leadership is housed within the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi and operates on the Coastal USM cam- pus in Long Beach, Mississippi.