About Us

National Advisory Council

On April 26-27, 2013, Cottey College hosted an on-campus, inaugural meeting of the National Advisory Council to the Institute for Women’s Leadership and Social Responsibility.

The Council is presently comprised of nine outstanding women educators and leaders from around the nation who will each serve a three-year, rotating term. The following members have been appointed to the Institute’s National Advisory Council:

  • Dr. Beverly Everett, Music Director of the Bismarck-Mandan and the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, who resides in both North Dakota and Minnesota and is also a P.E.O.
  • Marilyn Kredel, concert pianist with the Phoenix Symphony, and P.E.O. who resides in Paradise Valley, AZ.
  • Deborah Churchill Luster, former president and CEO, vice-chairman of the board, and co-founder of Annies’ Home-grown, Inc. and now President of Can Do Kid, Inc., who resides in Mill Valley, CA.
  • Sue Vicory, accomplished documentary film-maker, who lives in Del Mar, CA.
  • Donna Shavlik, who lives in Estes Park, CO and a former Board of Trustee for Cottey College and past director of the ACE’s former Office of Women in Higher Education.
  • Dr. Rita Stephan, foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State and a visiting researcher at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, who lives in the Washington, D.C. area.

Contact Us

Serenbetz Institute for Women’s Leadership, Social Responsibility and Global Awareness

1000 West Austin, Nevada, Missouri 64772

Telephone: (417) 667-8181 ext. 2116

Email: institute@cottey.edu


Faculty and Staff

Denise Carrick Hedges, Director of Leadership Development

417-667-8181, ext. 2116


Denise serves as the director of leadership development at the Serenbetz Institute for Women’s Leadership, Social Responsibility, and Global Awareness. In this role, Denise works with the students in the Leadership, Experiences, Opportunity certification program and coordinates other leadership initiatives through the Serenbetz Institute. Her bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication is from Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana. Denise earned her Master in Strategic Leadership in Business at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Jamie Bloomfield, Administrative Assistant

(417) 667-8181, ext. 2116


Jamie joined Cottey in the fall of 2017 to serve as an administrative assistant to those working on Serenbetz Institute initiatives and projects. Jamie received her Associate of Science degree from Fort Scott Community College. She is dedicated to the work of helping others, including helping Cottey students as they work toward their leadership development goals. While working at Cottey, she plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Criminology.

Carol Clyde Gallagher, Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership

(417) 667-8181, ext. 2117


Dr. Clyde Gallagher is passionate about passion for leadership studies and community engagement. She has Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Clyde Gallagher is a lead facilitator for Kiwanis International’s Key Leader High School Leadership Weekend program. She is also active in the community as a member of the Nevada City Council, Nevada Police Volunteers in Police Service, Vernon County Community Emergency Response Team, and a board member for Families in Crisis of Vernon County, supporting local domestic violence and sexual assault programs.

Jill Compton, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
147 RBAC
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2244

Dr. Compton provides administrative direction for the Serenbetz Institute, including overseeing the undergraduate research, leadership immersion, and summer leadership internship grant programs She earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and liberal studies from Maryville University of St. Louis and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She joined Cottey in August of 2017 after serving as Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of College Assessment at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, and as Senior Fellow for Undergraduate Education, Transfer, and Student Success at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Leadership Assistants

Kasey Acton

Traverse City, Michigan

I am a fourth-year student and the LEO luminary coordinator working to help other students recognize and grow in their skills as a leader. I work with other luminaries to coordinate LEO events and build a community for students in the LEO program.

As a Golden Key, I serve as a Cottey ambassador. I also was on the basketball team my first four years at Cottey. She will graduate in May of 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education with a focus on English. After graduation, I plan to move back to my hometown to pursue a career in teaching.

Dominica Chavez

Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Dominica Chavez is extremely passionate about civic advancement, the empowerment of student leaders, and improving educational policy. She believes that leadership is a practice in which we do to do better which she demonstrates through her work as the CEO/Project Lead of Chellie Club: An Entrepreneurial Lab, a Serenbetz Institute Leadership Assistant, and a Golden Key.

Her experience as the 2018-2019 National President of Business Professionals of America and a member of the National BPA Board of Trustees allows her to bring a unique perspective of team leadership to all her endeavors. After graduating from Cottey College in 2022 with a degree in Business Administration and Organizational Leadership, she hopes to pursue an MBA with the hopes of one day becoming the Governor of New Mexico.

Grace Diaz

Houston, Texas

Cottey Favorite: Cornbread — it is absolutely delicious and must not be missed.

Personal Leadership Definition: Leadership is a learning process. It begins within before it spreads out.

Bio: I grew up in Houston, TX but was raised in Guatemalan culture. Even though I am double-majoring in International Relations and Organizational Leadership and minoring in Spanish, there is still a lot to learn and develop. Believe me, my time management and communication skills are still being worked on with peers who are supporting and holding me accountable.

Academic Opportunities

Experiential Learning

Signature Programs


About Us

Contact Serenbetz Institute
Phone: 417-667-8181 ext. 2116
Email: institute@cottey.edu

We’d Love to Hear From You