Women's Leadership Colloquium Logo
When: Friday, March 17, 2017 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.

The Women’s College of Brenau University cordially invites the community to campus for an afternoon of information and inspiration at the fourth 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.


2017 Speakers

Catherine Dixon, Keynote Speaker, Principal, ghSMART
Mary Kathryn Wells, WC ’00, Alumni Association Endowed Guest Speaker, CEO, Wells Marketing Agency
Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, BU ’95, Educational Consultant and Former Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools
Amy Whitley, VP Human Resources and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, UPS (Ret)
Patty Wolfe, BU ’87, Rear Admiral, Supply Corps, United States Navy (Ret)

The event will also feature a memorable performance by the Brenau Vocal Chamber Ensemble. Afternoon tea will be sponsored by UPS and a cocktail reception by Tracy Rhodes, WC ’02. Come join the conversation!

Catherine Dixon

Catherine Dixon, Principal, ghSMART keynotes this year’s Women’s Leadership Colloquium.

This event is made possible in part by the generosity of donors to the Grace-Gaskins Women’s Studies Endowment Fund, the Alumni Association Lecture Series and Debbie Purcell, President of Engineered Openings, Inc. 

2017 Speakers’ Bios

Catherine Dixon
Catherine Dixon

Catherine Dixon is a Principal at ghSMART. In the course of her work, she serves major corporate and private equity clients, often in the context of merger and acquisition activity. Her specialties include helping boards, executives and investors address their most pressing leadership challenges. Catherine’s assessment work and over 20 years of consulting, M&A, human capital and finance experience help her clients to make optimal hiring and organizational decisions to maximize value creation opportunities.

Prior to joining ghSMART, Catherine was a Practice Director at The Intersect Group, where for over five years she advised CEOs and senior executives of public and private companies and private equity organizations on the issues of M&A, business strategy, financial improvements and human capital. While at Intersect, Catherine led the firm’s merger and acquisition practice, and also served as a senior advisor to her clients on a number of strategic, operational and hiring matters.

Prior to her work at The Intersect Group, Dixon spent nearly five years with publicly traded ChoicePoint in mergers and acquisitions, where she bought and sold a variety of companies until ChoicePoint’s announced sale to Reed Elsevier. Catherine joined ChoicePoint after several years as an investment banker with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, where she helped clients raise capital and execute M&A transactions. She was also responsible for recruiting activities while at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Before earning her MBA in finance from Harvard Business School, Catherine worked in accounting at Coca-Cola Enterprises and as an audit senior for Arthur Andersen. She is an active CPA and received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Wake Forest University, where she graduated cum laude. Catherine lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

Mary Kathryn Wells, WC '00

Mary Kathryn Wells has more than 15 years of sales and marketing experience specializing in opening specialty and luxury shopping dining and entertainment centers. She has also successfully launched several luxury residential properties from conception to acquisition. Most recently Mary Kathryn Wells served as the director of marketing for The Shops Buckhead Atlanta where she worked closely with luxury and boutique retail brands across the globe, from Milan and Paris to New York and Los Angeles.

Mary Kathryn Wells began her career with Turnberry Associates as the Director of Marketing at Destin Commons, a half million square foot lifestyle center in Destin, Florida. She then spent three years as the director of marketing for Turnberry Associates Town Square Las Vegas, a 2.5 million-square-foot outdoor lifestyle center located on the Las Vegas Strip. During her tenure, Town Square Las Vegas received numerous awards including four MAXI awards from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Destin Commons received numerous awards over the years for their ongoing marketing excellence. In Destin, Mary Kathryn graced the covers of Emerald Coast Magazine as a Top Entrepreneur Under 30 and Emerald Ladies Journal as the Emerald Lady.

In the fall of 2016, Mary Kathryn founded The Wells Agency. The company was born out of her passion for marketing and ensuring her clients have the most successful efforts.  But most importantly Mary Kathryn wanted to work with clients that she enjoyed and that share her simple values of being good to one another.

Wells is passionately dedicated to business, philanthropic causes and active community involvement. Over the course of her professional career, Wells has served on the boards of the Ronald McDonald House, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Nevada Ballet, and has been a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

Currently in Atlanta, Wells sits on the board of the Woodruff Arts Center Corporate Campaign Committee and sits on several host committees that benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She an active member of both the Buckhead Business Association and Brenau Women’s College Alumni Association. In addition, Wells worked with a number of non-profits and community organizations through The Shops Buckhead Atlanta. In 2015, Wells was honored to be profiled as 1 of the 6 the Top Entrepreneurs Under 40 by The Atlantan Magazine.

Mary Kathryn Wells
Kelly Castlin-Gacutan, BU '95
Kelly Castlin-Gacutan

Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, also known as Dr. G, began her career has a high school English teacher in Kagoshima, Japan. She is a seasoned educator with 25 years of experience ranging from classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, district-level administrator, university professor/director, and school superintendent.

As the former superintendent of Birmingham City Schools, Dr. G was responsible for over 24, 000 students, 2, 800 employees, as well as a $246M operating budget. Under her leadership, BCS became 1 of 2 school systems in Alabama to be identified as a Charter School Authorizer. BCS also became a candidate for system-wide accreditation through AdvancEd; implemented a K-12 Reading Initiative in an effort to promote systematic literacy and professional learning; and implemented a 5-year BCS Strategic Plan, which focuses on five areas including 1) teaching and learning, 2) human capital, 3) culture and climate, 4) strategic partnership and engagement, and 5) systems and processes.

Dr. G earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology/Minor in Sociology from Tennessee State University; her Master of Education Degree in Early Childhood Education from Brenau University; and her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. She has spent most of her professional career in Georgia – having worked in Fulton County Schools, Marietta City Schools, Clarke County Schools and Bibb County Schools. She is grateful for all of the aforementioned experiences as each as contributed to her ability to support students in achieving their full potential.

Dr. G and her husband, Pedro, have a blended family of 3 daughters- Asevia, Zani, and Ryan, and 1 son, Kyle. Their toy poodle, Chloe, is also a big part of the family.

Amy Whitley

Amy Whitley retired in January 2016 from UPS, a global leader in logistics and the world’s largest package delivery company. UPS offers an extensive range of options for synchronizing the movement of goods, information and funds. As a $58 billion global company with 440,000 employees, UPS is one of the most recognized and admired brands in the world.

In her role as VP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Amy created strategic HR policy and practices in the area of Workforce Planning and Hiring, Employee Relations, Training and Development and Organizational Development. Additionally, she oversaw the administration of the company’s diversity and inclusion strategies, ensuring UPS leveraged the unique perspectives of a global diverse workforce. Amy was the first Diversity and Inclusion Officer for UPS and championed the company Diversity Steering Council for 10 years.

Amy began her career with UPS directly out of college as a Package Delivery Driver in the NY area, and over her 32-year career held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in various locations in operations, human resources, UPS Airline and Supply chain solutions, and finally the Corporate Headquarters in Atlanta. Her passion and energy for making a difference in the lives of UPS employees has been demonstrated in her leadership to create the Women’s Leadership Development Program at UPS, which led to the successful expansion of Business Resource Groups across many employee constituencies. These groups helped to unite UPS employees globally by providing development opportunities and ways to make a positive impact in the communities in which they work, live and volunteer. The Women’s leadership programs celebrated 10 years of success in October 2016.

Amy serves on the board of Atlanta affiliate of HRPS, called the Human Resources Leadership Forum (HRLF). Additionally, she served for 5 years on the board of OnBOARD, a Georgia organization seeking to influence public companies to further the advancement of women in the boardroom and executive positions. Amy was elected to the Brenau University Board of Trustees in 2016 where she serves on the Academic Affairs Committee.

A New York native, Amy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Human Resources from Pace University. Amy is married and has two children.

Amy Whitley
Patty Wolfe, BU '87
Patty Wolfe

Rear Admiral Patricia Wolfe was born and raised in northern New Jersey and is a 1981 graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science. She received her commission in the United States Navy through the Villanova Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Brenau University.

RADM Wolfe served thirty two years in the United States Navy, retiring in 2013 in the rank of 2 Star Rear Admiral. Her accomplishments include a number of first assignments that help break the gender barrier for women in the Navy and including assignment at sea in 1982 aboard the USS Piedmont (AD 17) and command assignment as the first female Commanding Officer of a Navy Cargo Handling Battalion in 1994. She was promoted to Rear Admiral in 2007 and served in flag officer positions in the US Pacific Fleet, as Commander of the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group and in multiple Executive capacities at the Defense Logistics Agency.

Specializing in expeditionary logistics, RADM Wolfe deployed numerous times to support our country’s military contingency operations and humanitarian relief efforts. In 2007 she led the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Group Forward Headquarters in Kuwait providing logistics support to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2010 she served as Commander Task Force 48, commanding the Joint Logistics Hub in Guantanamo Bay Cuba providing materials and transport for Navy relief efforts for Operation Unified Response supporting the people of Haiti following the disastrous earthquake in that country. Her final “deployment” was to her home state of New Jersey where she led the Defense Logistics Agency’s forward supply point for disaster relief following Superstorm Sandy in January 2012.

Rear Admiral Wolfe currently serves as a Trustee for Brenau University. Her post Navy retirement activities include small business consulting, non-profit work and travel. Rear Admiral Wolfe and her husband Commander Robert Wolfe, USN (Retired) reside in Jacksonville FL. They have four children, 3 grandchildren and 2 dogs.

“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