Women's Leadership Colloquium Logo
When: Friday, March 20, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Reception 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Where: Hosch Auditorium
John S. Burd Center
for the Performing Arts

429 Academy Street
Gainesville, Georgia
Cost: The event is free. Registration is required.

[google_map_vc map=”location_id|18092″ width=”100%” height=”150px”]

Tracy Rhodes, a Brenau alumna and managing partner at Evans & Rhodes, LLC, speaks to the 2014 Women's Leadership Colloquium about how  communication skills play a critical role in successful leadership.

The Women’s College of Brenau University cordially invites the community to campus for an afternoon of information and inspiration at the second annual Women’s Leadership Colloquium. Students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the university will gather for conversations about the unique potential and challenges of women’s leadership. Successful women who are passionate about what they do will share their stories, offer advice, and suggest fresh vision for others who lead—or aspire to lead.

Left: Tracy Rhodes, WC ’02, managing partner at Evans & Rhodes, LLC, speaks to the 2014 colloquium about the critical role of communication skills in successful leadership.


Marissa Kraxberger, VP, Creative, Ivanka Trump (formerly VP with Diane Von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta and Kate Spade)
Kris Orr Brown, Attorney, Orr & Brown, LLP
Carrie Conway, Sr. Program Officer, Woodruff Foundation
Anna Jacobs, WC ’86, Brenau Trustee, Former Director of Online Media, WDUN
Ashley Lee, WC ’14, Graduate Assistant, Public Policy, Columbus State University
Lindsey Nelson, VP, Sales Productivity & Talent Development, CareerBuilder
Tracy Rhodes, WC ’02, Managing Partner at Evans & Rhodes, LLC
Valerie Simmons-Walston, Dean of Students at Brenau University

The event will also feature a memorable performance by the Brenau Vocal Chamber Ensemble and a wine and cheese reception sponsored by Tracy Rhodes, WC ’02, and her firm, Evans & Rhodes, LLC. Come join the conversation!

This event is made possible in part by the generosity of donors to the Grace-Gaskins Women’s Studies Endowment Fund.

Speakers’ Bios

Kris Orr Brown

Kris Orr Brown, litigation attorney.

Kris Orr Brown is a litigation attorney whose practice focuses primarily on employment discrimination and civil rights. Kris has offices in Gainesville and Atlanta. She has appeared before various federal district courts and Georgia trial courts, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, and has filed petitions for certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States. Kris is originally from Gainesville. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Boston University and her law degree from The Catholic University of America, she returned to Georgia to practice law with her father, Wyc Orr. Kris currently serves on the boards of The National Employment Lawyers Association – Georgia Chapter, The General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia, and Rape Response. She has previously served on the boards of the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Boys and Girls Club of Hall County, and Gateway House. Kris and her husband, David Brown, have eight year old twin daughters.

Carrie Conway

Carrie Conway

Carrie Conway is a Senior Program Officer serving the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation and the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, located in Atlanta, Georgia. She worked previously as Executive Director of the Southeast Region for CARE USA, a global poverty-fighting organization, where she led regional fundraising and had the opportunity to see CARE’s work first-hand in Rwanda, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Ecuador and Bosnia. Prior to CARE, she directed major and planned giving at Salem Academy and College, the oldest institution in the country continuously dedicated to the education of women. She spent her early career teaching history at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX. Carrie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University with a B.A. degree in history and received a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College. She volunteers with refugees in Atlanta and enjoys travel, the arts, reading, and the great outdoors.

Anna Alexander Jacobs

Anna Alexander Jacobs

Anna Alexander Jacobs graduated from Brenau Women’s College in 1986 with a degree in journalism and public relations. Anna lives in Gainesville with her husband, Jay and helps manage their family owned business, Jacobs Media Corporation which includes 3 radio stations (WDUN AM and FM and 1240 ESPN Radio (WGGA)) as well as AccessNorthGa.com, a news website. Anna’s mother, sister, aunt and grandmother-in-law all attended Brenau and she recently was appointed to Brenau University’s Board of Trustees to replace her father-in-law, John Jacobs Jr, a lifelong trustee who died in 2011. Anna is mother to 3 and mother-in-law to 1. Of her varied educational, communication, and volunteer experiences, Anna considers her leadership role as mother to be her greatest accomplishment.

Marissa Kraxberger

Marissa Kraxberger

Marissa Kraxberger is the Vice President of Creative for Ivanka’s growing fashion brand. She is charged with the creative direction for the entire Ivanka Trump brand, which includes defining the voice of the brand, the overall creative and editorial direction of  IvankaTrump.com, strategy and execution of the company’s social media presence and managing an in house creative team.

She has had a diverse career in design, art direction and brand development for high-profile fashion and lifestyle brands including Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade New York and Oscar de la Renta. She is also the author of Lady & Prince (ladyandprince.com), where she blogs  about her life as a working mom in the fashion industry, raising kids in the city and her travel adventures.

Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee, speaker at the 2015 Women's Leadership Colloquium

Ashley Lee is a graduate student in Columbus State University’s Master of Public Administration program. She is pursuing a degree in government administration while working as a graduate assistant for the college’s Department of University Advancement. She graduated from Breanu in May 2014 and continues to work with her alma mater as an online tutor for the Writing Center and a proud supporter of her sisters in Mu chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta.

Lindsey Nelson

Lindsey Nelson

Lindsey Nelson is Vice President of Sales Productivity and Talent Development for CareerBuilder and its 1200 sales people. She is responsible for ensuring the ideal operations exist to execute their sales strategy effectively. Lindsey has worked in the talent development and career resource industry for over 15 years. She currently sits on the CareerBuilderHER board for female development & empowerment in business. She has her BS, in Psychology from Georgia Southern University and her MBA from Emory University. She serves on professional development boards of Sales Management Association, Sales Executive Roundtable, and Sale Operations & Effectiveness Roundtable (SOERT). She teaches Sales Management at Georgia State University & her biggest passion, by far, is her husband and two boys.

Tracy Rhodes

Tracy Rhodes

Tracy Rhodes is a partner in Evans & Rhodes, LLC. Tracy loves trial work, and she specializes in contested family law cases and real estate litigation. Tracy is the firm’s managing partner and heads the firm’s Marietta location. She and her husband have two daughters and a poodle.

Valerie Simmons-Walston

Valerie Simmons Walston

Valerie Simmons-Walston serves as the dean of students at Brenau University. She enjoys working with the faculty and staff at Brenau, and treasures teachable moments shared with students. A native of Cleveland, Ohio who has immersed herself within the Gainesville community, Simmons-Walston volunteers with several non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity and Women Source. She is currently pursuing a terminal degree in higher education at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

“Join our group of smart, successful women for an afternoon of information and inspiration.”

– Dr. Debra Dobkins,
Dean of the Women’s College

Debra Dobkins, Dean of the Women's College

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6299 or (800) 252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, (770) 534-6100 or (800) 252-5119 ext. 6100
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