The inaugural class of the Women Lead program began with the start of the 2015 spring semester at the J. Mack Robinson College
of Business. Women Lead provides undergraduate students access to faculty, research, community partners, leadership training, networking and strategic career development, and encourages young women to strive for top leadership positions across various sectors. The program comprises the Women in Business course and an annual event; past keynote speakers include Katie Bayne, senior vice president, Global Sparkling Brands, The Coca-Cola Company.
The learning objectives of the Women in Business course center around two themes: critical analysis of the economic and social effects of women in the workforce and a leadership development component that demonstrates how personal characteristics, interpersonal influence, commitment, goal-setting skills, and power are necessary to be effective in the workplace. The class allows undergraduate students to study and better understand the opportunity that women represent for leadership and positive change that generate returns for firms and increased value in society.
The Women in Business course allows students to engage with women leaders and gain practical experience in the business world. For example, three incredible women leaders — Connie McDaniel, Amy Medendorp, and Mary Madden — recently visited the class and answered students’ questions. Connie McDaniel was the first RCB female board chair, and is now a member of the local chapter of Corporate Women Directors (CWD). Mary Madden and Amy Medendorp are also members of the CWD.
Angela Allen, MBA Finance 1980, who was instrumental in the creation of the Women Lead program, attended the panel and was thrilled with the interaction between students and panelists. “I was glad to see the students so engaged with what the panelists had to say. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet women who scaled such career heights, in such an intimate setting, and be able to ask questions. The overarching advice that resonated most with me is to exude confidence — even to the point of being a “poseur” — when you see an opportunity to move up the ladder. I was in that situation several times in my career, and you can always fill in the blanks later, but you need to seize the opportunity first,” Allen says.
Students have enjoyed their experiences in the Women in Business course, and are excited to see the Women Lead program expand.
“Being a part of Women Lead has opened my eyes to so many new ideas about myself and my potential career. I wrote a cover letter recently and it was so valuable to have such developed thoughts about my talents and motivations,” says Ashton Brasher, an Honors College senior and English major. “Women Lead has helped me see not just what I want out of my own career but what I can bring to the table as an employee. I have an entirely new outlook on what drives me and what I’m looking for in the job market.”
The course gives students the chance to learn about leadership from successful women leaders. Nancy Mansfield, director of the Women Lead program, is excited about the future of the program and its impact on current students, saying, “When there are women at the table you get better decisions. I want our Women Lead graduates to have a seat at the table.”
[item title=”Connie McDaniel”]
Ms. McDaniel is a member of the Board of Total System Services, Inc. (TSYS), a $2 billion plus provider of payment solutions for banks and merchants based in Columbus, GA. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Ridgeworth Funds, a $21B+ fixed income and equity mutual fund family based in Atlanta. She serves as the chair of the Audit Committee and has been the board’s financial expert for more than five years.Ms. McDaniel was elected vice president and chief of internal audit of The Coca-Cola Company in 2009 and retired from that position in 2013. Prior to 2009, Ms. McDaniel served for more than 20 years in various capacities with The Coca-Cola Company, including vice president, Global Finance Transformation, as well as vice president and controller. She also held finance leadership positions with The Coca-Cola Company in operating units in both Germany and Thailand. Ms. McDaniel joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1989 after spending nine years with Ernst & Young.
In 2007, Connie was recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Finance byTreasury & Risk Magazine and received the 2010 award for Service to Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business based on business achievements and community service.
A summa cum laude graduate of Georgia State University, Ms. McDaniel also holds a CPA certificate in the state of Georgia. She currently serves as the chair of the Robinson College of Business’ Board of Advisors, and has been a mentor for GSU Honors College students for several years. Ms. McDaniel and her husband live in Atlanta. [/item]
[item title=”Amy Medendorp”]
Amy has deep corporate expertise with companies of all sizes through various life cycles. She is quick to assimilate and distill large amounts of information into salient points. She speaks C-suite language, having spent 30 years with C-suite and board members. She is known for her strategic approach, both short-term and long-term. She was regularly asked to take over businesses thought to have significant untapped growth potential. After assessing the existing business and market potential, Amy was able to reinvigorate growth through clear direction and communication of the strategy, common objectives built into revised incentive plans, and leadership empowerment. Consistent and clear communication with adherence to the goals was key to the effective execution. An example of this was the combination of corporate banking and investment banking teams when Amy led the integration of those two teams of culturally and institutionally divergent backgrounds. Within a few years the group achieved record revenue and operating income while significantly enhancing ROI. Another example was Amy’s leadership of an “independent” subsidiary integrating it into the bank with new CEO and revised strategy, greatly increasing the ROI and ROA.During her 30 years in the financial services industry, Amy led all aspects of the wholesale business, consulted with business clients of all sizes, led teams of up to 1,400 people, ran businesses of up to $1.5B in revenue and had regular C-suite and board interaction, both internally and with private and public clients. She enjoyed a progressive career at SunTrust Bank, ultimately serving as a member of the Executive Leadership Team. Her teams included CEOs of subsidiary companies, risk management, ops and compliance divisions as well as revenue-producing teams.
Amy is on the board of directors for Piedmont Healthcare, a $1.7B revenue healthcare system with five hospitals, 100+ physician offices and outpatient centers. She is chair of the investment committee and is on the audit/compliance and finance committees. She was on the CEO search committee and is currently on the CFO search committee. Additionally she serves as a judge for Ernst & Young’s Southeast Entrepreneur of the Year Award.[/item]
[item title=”Mary Madden”]
Mary has taken a company public and served on boards of both private public companies as well as non profits. She has served on the audit, governance, and nominating committees. She served on the public board of Synavant, a spinoff of IMS. The company was later sold to Dendrite. She has been active since 2001 in the Atlanta Chapter of NACD as chair, president, director, and officer, in addition to a role in program development. The organization hosts monthly luncheons on topics from executive compensation, risk management, committee responsibilities, proxy season, fraud, risk, and other issues of importance to directors. Mary has also been involved in the Directors’ College, Terry College, University of Georgia, for the last 11 years as a speaker, resource and advisor. In 2004 Mary co-founded the Atlanta Chapter of Women Corporate Directors with 42 members who are on public boards with one or two on private boards.
From 1981-1994, Mary was president, founder and co-CEO of Information America, the first company to offer online access to public record data. She created the firm, raised more than $8 million from angel investors and venture capital, grew profitable revenues to $25 million, took it public, and then sold the company to Westlaw delivering an attractive return to shareholders. Subsequent to Information America, she joined ChoicePoint as vice president of public records. She has worked with ValuBond, Inc. (sold), eAttorney (sold to Lexis), fabric.com (sold to Amazon), Miavendia.com, LVGRM, and LAWDOCS.
She has received awards including: inclusion on Inc. magazine’s “500 List” for three years running, and finalist for Inc.‘s Entrepreneur of the Year. Annually she travels to Istanbul to assist in a leadership seminar for emerging leaders from Central Eurasia. She has also traveled Belfast to mentor technology companies. She is and has been on several advisory boards for the TI:GER program at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Kennesaw University Center for Corporate Governance, the Grove, Northwestern Mutual Shareholders Internet Advisory Board, and the Global Foundation Network. She served on nonprofit boards of C200, SIBF, The Atlanta School, The Children’s School, and CEO Netweavers.
She received a BA in Math and Economics from Vassar College and an MLS in Library of Science from Columbia University.[/item][/accordion]