Dave Brendza (ADP), Stacy Roberts (HCOB), Jasmyn Smith (HCOB, and Lorelei Culbreth (HCOB)
Dave Brenda poses with Stacy Roberts, Jasmyn Smith and Lorelei Culbreath at the Women's Leadership Academy 2024 Graduation.

Investing in women’s futures: Hull College’s Women’s Leadership Academy

In a rapidly changing business landscape, investing in women isn’t just a trend, it’s a necessity. 

Automatic Data Processing (ADP) recognizes the importance of supporting and developing women business leaders and has partnered with Augusta University’s James M. Hull College of Business to launch the Women’s Leadership Academy, an initiative aimed at empowering undergraduate women at AU. 

The Women’s Leadership Academy, led by Stacy Roberts, DBA, provides a platform for young women to develop essential skills and crucial networks for success in both a professional as well as personal atmosphere. The program covers topics such as professionalism, networking, navigating burnout, perfecting resumes, interview skills and team building. 

Group of college women stand in a stairway with professional mentors.
The 2024 Women’s Leadership Cohort poses
with ADP mentors and Dave Brendza during
their ADP Women’s Leadership Graduation.

“I wish a program like this existed when I was a business student at Augusta State University. I had to learn many of the skills our participants are exposed to in a ‘trial by fire’ format. Seeing the young ladies flourish in the program is a blessing because I know they are going to be equipped to handle a variety of challenges and build a solid foundation to succeed in their professional endeavors,” said Roberts.

“The feedback from the participants is amazing. The skills, mentorship, networking opportunities, and overall experience benefits them so much and I look forward to working with each cohort. These are some incredible and powerful young women.” 

One of the standout features of the Women’s Leadership Academy is its emphasis on real-world insights from other accomplished women leaders. Through engaging panel discussions, participants can interact with accomplished professionals who share their career journeys and offer invaluable advice during every encounter.

These interactions not only inspire but also provide guidance for the next women leaders.

“Participating in the women’s leadership academy infused me with valuable lessons to help me navigate in the professional world and in my personal life. This program helped me build a network of strong women who poured into me with their wisdom,” said Timberly Fernandez, a communication major. “I believe this program could benefit all young ladies who are in the professional work force. Unfortunately, things are different for women, but this program taught me to embrace it and how to work through it.” 

The Women’s Leadership Academy encourages active community engagement beyond classroom discussions. Participants engage in meaningful initiatives like volunteering and collecting donations for AU’s Open Paws Food Pantry, reinforcing the mindset that true leadership extends beyond work and into the community.

The program also collaborates with prominent events like the Augusta Metro Chamber’s Women’s Signature Event. These collaborations provide students with exposure to other broader professional networks. 

Lorelei Culbreth, a business administration major with a concentration in digital marketing, has been both a participant and a peer mentor in the program. She emphasized the experiences and valuable connections she gained through the Academy, reflecting on its role in her personal and professional growth.

“The networking opportunities offered through the Women’s Leadership Academy have helped me make such important and valuable connections within the AU and Augusta communities,” Culbreth said. “The monthly meetings are such a fun and valuable time for fellowship with the other participants, connecting with the guest speaker, and learning more about so many elements of being a professional and a woman.” 

As the Women’s Leadership Academy continues to grow and flourish, it serves to empower women in business, sculpting a path for a more inclusive and equitable future. Hull College and ADP are collaborating to move one step closer to a world where women can thrive and lead with confidence.

By partnering with organizations like ADP and leveraging the expertise of faculty like Roberts, Hull College is committed to nurturing the next generation of women leaders. 

This summer, the Hull College of Business will pilot its first ever LeadHERship program, a summer camp for rising high school junior and senior girls in hopes of empowering and inspiring them to become confident, capable leaders in their community and beyond. Those interested should apply online or contact Hull College via email for more information.

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Written by
Delaney Freistuhler
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Written by Delaney Freistuhler

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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