Gazebo Gazette

The School of Leadership at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) recently hosted a Gulf Coast LeadHERship Seminar, bringing together 50 businesswomen from around the region to improve their leadership abilities.

The one-day, free professional development event took place on April 11, 2024, on USM’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, Miss.

Faculty members from the School of Leadership provided sessions focused on leadership theories, effective networking, and mentoring. Between sessions, participants enjoyed opportunities to network and share their paths as leaders.

The keynote speaker, Cheryl Johnson, discussed her 40-year banking career and how she continues serving the community after retirement. Participants gained valuable insights and practical tools to help them grow as organizational leaders.

“We were thrilled to see such an enthusiastic group of women committed to advancing their leadership journey,” said assistant professor Dr. Bhagyashree (Bee) Barhate, who secured the research grant funding for the seminar from the Aubrey Keith and Ella Ginn Lucas Endowment for Faculty Excellence. “This seminar provided a forum for attendees to consider new strategies while connecting with like-minded professionals.”

Janae McDonald, Ph.D., PHR, SHRM-CP, Owner of Edge Consulting, LLC, attended the inaugural conference and was impressed with the program and presenters.

“The LeadHERship Seminar was enlightening, inspiring and thought-provoking. The speakers informative, and the opportunity to meet so many bright, talented women from all walks of life was a game-changer,” she said.

McDonald continued, “I always say, ‘You are only as strong as your network,’ and mine is stronger after this session. USM’s School of Leadership always has top-notch events, and this was no exception. If you are a woman on the Coast, I highly recommend that you attend.”

Dr. Heather Annulis, Director of the School of Leadership and resident of Pass Christian, expressed her pride in hosting the empowering event. “Developing strong female leaders is crucial for promoting diversity and inclusion across all sectors in our Blue Economy,” she stated. “The LeadHERship Seminar aligns perfectly with our mission of cultivating the next generation of innovative and socially responsible leaders.”

The School of Leadership plans to offer the Gulf Coast LeadHERship Seminar annually based on the feedback received from this year’s participants.

(Contributed to by Gabriela Shinskie)