Leaders in STEM, the arts, mediation to speak March 24 at Women’s Leadership Colloquium

Brenau University Women's Leadership Colloquium, featuring Rhonda Clark, Melissa Currin Heard, Clarissa Esguerra and Debra Dobkins

Three female leaders in STEM, the arts and mediation will share their stories, advice and innovative vision on Friday, March 24, as part of the Women’s Leadership Colloquium, hosted by The Women’s College of Brenau University.

Students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Brenau are invited to the ninth annual colloquium celebrating the GOLD Program’s “D” year, which focuses on diversity and global perspectives. 

“We are so grateful these three women will share their successes with the Brenau community,” Debra Dobkins, interim vice president of student services and dean of The Women’s College, said. “All of our speakers are inspiring in different ways, and two are Women’s College alumnae who are highly successful in their fields. Our keynote speaker, Rhonda Clark, has a strong background as a woman leading in STEM.”

Dobkins, who is also the dean of The Women’s College, will lead the event.

“Not all leaders look, act or think the same. In fact, our different perspectives create strong leaders and even stronger communities,” Dobkins said. “I hope our students will see their own leadership qualities and unique advantages after connecting with our speakers.”

Clark is the vice president of engineering services for Amazon. Clark has worked for Amazon since 2021, and previously worked for UPS. At UPS, she served most recently as president of corporate buildings and systems engineering and led many sustainability efforts with the organization. She also serves on the board of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council.

The two Brenau alumnae presenting are Clarissa Esguerra, WC ’03, as the Alumni Association Endowed speaker, and Melissa Heard, WC ’92, as the featured speaker. 

Esguerra is the curator of costume and textiles for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2022, she co-curated Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse, which is currently touring internationally. Two previous exhibitions she curated or co-curated were awarded the Richard Martin Award for Excellence in the Exhibition of Costume by the Costume Society of America.

Heard is the president and owner of Success Consulting and Mediation, Inc. Heard has also worked with the Justice Center of Atlanta and in 2019 received the Chief Justice Harold G. Clarke Award in recognition of her contributions to the field of alternative dispute resolution in Georgia. Heard is also a Brenau trustee. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 1:30-4:30 p.m. in the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts. A reception will follow. More information and how to register can be found online here.