A new Women’s Leadership Endowment (WLE) has been created to provide resources to bring together female Hendrix College students and Hendrix College alumni to create a network that offers leadership development programs, career counselling, mentorship and internships.
The WLE will create a community of support by connecting people through personal and professional networks to address the challenges that women often face in their professional and personal trajectories. WLE will leverage the Hendrix Offices of Career Services and Alumni and Constituent Engagement to bring the women of Hendrix together to address these challenges.
“We are delighted to help cultivate a community of Hendrix women to support each other in their lives and careers,” Heather Gardner, a 1993 graduate of Hendrix College and works as Financial Institutions Relations Manager at William Blair Investment Management with over 25 years of experience as an investment professional in the financial services industry, said. “Many of us know the inherent value of staying in touch with other Hendrix alumni, and the WLE will look to leverage that connection for shared success.”
Gardner and her sister, Mary Gardner Burrelle, a 1995 graduate of Hendrix College, created WLE as a way to support leadership development for all women in the Hendrix College community now and in the future.
“We want to support and encourage the women of Hendrix to embrace leadership as a valuable part of their professional and personal journeys,” said Gardner Burrelle, who works for McDonald’s Corporation as head of global legal operations and chief of staff. “We are delighted to have built flexibility into the WLE so that it can meet the professional needs of women years and decades from now.”
Hendrix will form a Steering Committee for the WLE led by a Hendrix Faculty Champion. Leslie Templeton, professor of psychology and associate provost for faculty development, has agreed to serve the inaugural three-year term. The committee will include a career services representative, an alumni and constituent engagement representative, a Hendrix alumnus engaged with WLE, and a student leader in her freshman year. The committee will promote alumni engagement and develop student programming.
The first use of WLE funding was to sign up for a women-focused session as part of Career Term, the annual career-focused workshop open to all students just before the spring semester of their second year. This inaugural event took place earlier this week: a panel discussion on the nature of women’s leadership, moderated by Hendrix Director of Career Services, Leigh Lassiter-Counts, and featuring Gardner and Gardner Burrelle as panelists, as well as Jennifer Martin Gadberry, Vice President of Asset Management. for the Heifer Foundation.
“The WLE will provide a wonderful opportunity for Hendrix students and alumni to gain mentorship and career guidance,” said Ginny McMurray, the College’s associate vice president for development. “We are very grateful for the support provided by the WLE.”