Enjoy an afternoon of information and inspiration at the tenth annual Women’s Leadership Colloquium, hosted by The Women’s College of Brenau University. Join students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Brenau as we celebrate the GOLD Program’s “G-Year” theme with its emphasis on gender awareness: Authenticity, Alliance, Advocacy. Engage in lively conversation about the unique potential and challenges of women’s leadership, as we learn from three accomplished leaders who will share their stories, experience, and advice. This year’s Colloquium has special significance as Brenau observes her 145th anniversary of educating women and preparing them to lead.

Julia Carpenter

Keynote Speaker
Julia Carpenter
Wall St. Journal Writer and Co-Author of The New Rules of Money: A Playbook for Planning Your Financial Future

Chandra Hopkins

Alumni Association Endowed Speaker
Dr. Chandra Owenby Hopkins, WC ’05

Betsy Grunch

Featured Speaker
Dr. Betsy Grunch

Debra Dobkins

WLC Host
Dr. Debra Dobkins
Assistant Vice President and Dean of The Women’s College

This event is made possible in part by support from Onward Reserve, Grace-Gaskins Women’s Studies Endowment Fund and the Brenau Alumni Association Lecture Series. For more on how you can support the Women’s Leadership Initiative, contact Matt Thomas, 770-718-5309mthomas@brenau.edu.

Meet the Speakers

Julia Carpenter

Julia Carpenter is an award-winning journalist and co-author of The New Rules of Money, a personal finance workbook from The Wall Street Journal and Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Glamour and other publications, and her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her public service reporting and her work covering gender and the queer community recently received awards from the Online News Association and The Newswomen’s Club of New York.

Julia grew up in Savannah, Ga. as the eldest of five children. She attended The University of Georgia, where she majored in English and journalism and worked a multitude of jobs at the independent student newspaper, The Red & Black. In 2022, she received the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award. She now lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend and their rescue dog.

Chandra Owenby Hopkins Ph.D.

Dr. Chandra Owenby Hopkins is the Dean of the Converse College for Women at Converse University. She is also an Associate Professor of Theatre, a theatre historian, and a director. She is a proud graduate of Brenau University’s Women’s College where she majored in Theatre, minored in English, and was actively involved in the Gainesville Theatre Alliance and the Writing Center. After Brenau, she went on to receive her M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Kansas. Her teaching and research have been recognized by the Cato Award for Faculty Excellence, the Robert A. Schanke Theatre Research Award, and a national grant from the AARP Foundation and the Council of Independent Colleges. As a theatre historian, Dr. Hopkins has published journal articles and reviews in Theatre Journal, Theatre History Studies, and Theatre Survey. Currently, she is working on a monograph titled Southern Stages: Memory and Place in U.S. Performance with the University of Iowa Press.

Having taught at both large public universities and private colleges, Chandra is passionate about her work leading the Converse College for Women where she advances the personal and professional growth of all students through a focus on leadership, service, and mentorship. A dedicated advocate for women’s leadership and community partnerships across the upstate region of South Carolina, Chandra leads the annual Women’s Leadership Speaker Series and the Converse Women’s Leadership Conference, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Spartanburg Philharmonic and Spartanburg Community Schools.

Betsy Grunch, MD

Dr. Betsy Grunch is a board-certified neurosurgeon from Gainesville, Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Following that, she went to the Medical College of Georgia, and then matched in neurological surgery at Duke University Medical Center. At Duke, she earned the Synthes Spine Fellowship from 2010-2011. In 2013, Dr. Grunch returned to her hometown of Gainesville to join The Longstreet Clinic, where she still works today.

Her main professional interests are minimally invasive spine techniques and advancing the field of neurotrauma. She lives with her husband, Ray, two children, Riley and Beatrice, and her two dogs, Pancake and Butters. They enjoy spending time on the lake (wake surfing and boarding, jet skiing and swimming); and Dr. Grunch is also known for her love of football games, concerts and cars. In the past few years, she’s been using her creative talents as a content creator on various social media platforms. Her hope is to educate the public about the field of neurosurgery and to inspire young healthcare professionals.

She has been named to several Top Doctors and 40 under 40 lists over the years and was honored as one of Atlanta Magazine’s Women Making a Mark in 2023.

Dr. Grunch’s professional affiliations include:

  • American College of Surgeons
  • Association of Women Surgeons
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • Congress of Neurological Surgeons


Want to sponsor the next Women’s Leadership Colloquium? Read the Sponsorship Sheet (PDF) to find out how.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from these highly accomplished leaders with fascinating stories to share. The conversations will be memorable and the company engaging.

Dr. Debra Dobkins
Assistant Vice President, Dean of The Women’s College, and WLC Host

Questions? Contact Joy Jarrells at jjarrells@brenau.edu.