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Spring 2021 Professional Development Series: Pathways to Leadership

Updated: Apr 6

The Western Carolina University chapter of the American Association of University Women would like to invite you to Pathways to Leadership, our spring professional series. This four-part panel series will feature accomplished professionals in the fields of education, healthcare, law, and politics. Panelists will discuss how they selected their careers as well as obstacles and advantages they have experienced as women. Panelists will offer advice to women who have or are considering careers in their fields. Each event will last 50 minutes with a 10-minute question period to follow. This is a DegreePlus event.

The first event in the series, focused on healthcare professions, will be held on March 24 from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Featured panelists will include Dr. Lori Anderson, dean of the WCU College of Health and Human Sciences, and Jacquelyn Hallum, director of health careers and diversity education at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville. Zoom link:

The second event will discuss involvement in politics. This event will be held on April 8 from 6:00 – 7:00 via Zoom. Panelists will include Myrna Campbell, chair of the Haywood Democratic Party and Dr. Glenda Weinert, chairwoman of the Buncombe County Republican Party. Zoom link:

The third event will highlight the legal profession and will be held on April 21 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Featured panelists will include Jackson County Assistant District Attorney Heather Baker and Bonnie Claxton, an attorney with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Zoom link:

The fourth event in this series will focus education. This event will be held on May 3rd from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Our speakers for this event will be the dean of the WCU College of Business, AJ Grube and the founder and CEO of Elliott & Associates Educational Consulting, Dr. Kimberly L. Elliott. Zoom link:

Events & Speakers

Healthcare: March 24, 2021 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Invited Speakers: Dr. Lori Anderson and Jacquelyn D. Hallum

Moderator: Dr. Katie Pincura

Lori Anderson, PhD

Dr. Anderson is the dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Western Carolina University. She has over thirty years of acute and critical care nursing experience in various roles ranging from staff to administration and academia.

Her research interests include investigating the utilization of clinical simulation in academia and healthcare settings, critical thinking and clinical decision-making, and learning outcomes. Dr. Anderson serves as a simulation consultant and is an associate editor of Simulation in Healthcare. She has been a member of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) study section for Healthcare Safety and Quality Improvement Research and is a current grant reviewer for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. Dr. Anderson serves as an evaluator and committee chair for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Dr. Anderson has participated in several executive leadership development programs, including the Amy V. Cockcroft Nursing Leadership Fellowship, College of Nursing Executive Coaching, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities program Becoming a Provost Academy.

Dr. Anderson received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Duquesne University in 2004, a Master of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in 1996, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Creighton University in 1988.

Jacquelyn D. Hallum

Jacquelyn is the director of Health Careers and Diversity Education at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). She is a native of Asheville and has been employed with MAHEC for more than twenty-five years. Her healthcare background spans more than thirty years with special interest in health parity, culturally appropriate care, and workforce equity and inclusion. She is an advocate for social justice and enjoys the experience of mentoring and working with marginalized youth. Her primary focus is working with students that are underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students and students in rural areas of WNC that have an interest in the health professions and providing resources to help them achieve their goals. She graduated from Asheville City Schools, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and Pfeiffer University Adult Studies Program. She is an experienced presenter in diversity and inclusion education including microaggression and social determinants of health. Jacquelyn has served on many boards and committees in WNC and beyond. She currently serves on the Buncombe County’s Health and Human Services Board and the Southern Region National Association for Medical Minority Educators (NAMME).

Politics: April 8, 2021 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Invited Speakers: Myrna Campbell, chair, Haywood Democratic Party, and Glenda Weinart, chairwoman of the Buncombe County Republican Party.

Moderator: Dr. Teri Domagalski

Myrna Campbell

Myrna Campbell served in various capacities during her 30 years of employment at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, NC. Her first 14 years were spent as a faculty member and an instructional administrator for the Human Services Division. In 1988, she transitioned to the administrative side of the house when she was appointed by the college president to serve as Public Information Officer. Myrna was reassigned to the Student Services Division and was appointed director of Enrollment Services - a position she retained until her retirement in 2004.

Although Myrna had no plans for a second career, a series of events led her into the political arena, beginning in 2005 with her election as chairman of the Saunook Democratic Precinct in Haywood County. Shortly after assuming the role of precinct chair, former University of Tennessee football standout Heath Shuler moved into the precinct and announced his candidacy for the US House of Representatives. Myrna was one of the first volunteers to sign on with his campaign and after a few months, she was offered the position of Assistant Finance Director.

When Shuler won in November 2006, Myrna accepted an offer to work in the 11th District Congressional Office in Asheville, NC. She held the position of director of constituent services until congressman Shuler decided not to seek re-election in 2012.

First elected by party members in April 2015, Myrna is currently serving her third term as chairwoman of the Haywood County Democratic Party.

A native of Haywood County, Myrna holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Carolina University. She also completed graduate level coursework at NC State University, including a Leadership Institute for Community College Administrators.

Law: April 21, 2021 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Invited Speakers: Heather Baker, County Attorney for Jackson County, and Bonnie Claxton, attorney, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Moderator: Dr. Mickey Randolph

Heather C. Baker, JD

Heather Baker received an associate degree from Oxford College of Emory University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UNC Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor degree from Carolina Law. Ms. Baker practiced law in North Dakota before moving back to Jackson County, North Carolina to practice in 1996.

Most of her legal career has been in private practice and with the District Attorney’s office as an assistant district attorney in Western North Carolina. In 2015 she accepted the job as the first full-time county attorney for Jackson County as well as being the first female attorney for the county.

Ms. Baker is involved with North Carolina Association of County Attorneys, 30th Judicial District Bar (Western District) and the North Carolina Bar Association. She previously served on the North Carolina State Bar Ethics Committee and the North Carolina State Bar Board of Continuing Legal Education. She has been an instructor at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina.

Ms. Baker also works with several area non-profits. She is currently serving as president of the Great Smokies Health Foundation. Ms. Baker also serves as president of the newly formed Center for Domestic Peace, which is bringing domestic violence services back to a Jackson County agency. She also serves on the boards of REACH of Macon County, KIDS Place, and AWAKE.

Bonnie Claxton, JD

Bonnie Claxton is an attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. Bonnie grew up in Sylva, North Carolina, and graduated from Smoky Mountain High School in 2004. She attended the University of Georgia, where she graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in Spanish. She earned her Juris Doctor degree in 2013 from William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota (now Mitchell Hamline), where she focused on federal Indian law and tribal law. In law school, Bonnie was president of the Native American Law Students Association and chair of the Minnesota Justice Foundation.

Bonnie began her legal career in private practice at Coward, Hicks, & Siler in Sylva. She then accepted a position as a staff attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Sylva Office, where she primarily represented members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and survivors of domestic violence. In 2016, the EBCI launched a new tribal program to provide civil legal services to enrolled members. Bonnie became the first manager of the EBCI Legal Assistance Office. The Legal Assistance office provides represents enrolled members of the EBCI with legal issues including domestic violence, child custody, parent representation in family safety court, adult guardianship, involuntary commitment, and end of life planning.

Bonnie lives in Sylva with her husband and two wild boys.

Education: May 3rd 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Invited Speaker: Dr AJ Grube

Moderator: Dr. Yue Hillon

AG Grube, PhD

Dr. Grube serves as dean of the College of Business at Western Carolina University and holds the rank of professor of Sport Management. She earned a PhD from Florida State University in 1998, a Master of Public Administration from Georgia College and State University in 1994, a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Georgia Southern University in 1991, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing and management from Georgia College in 1990.

Dr. Grube served as assistant general manager for the Chatham A’s and as general manager of the Wareham Gatemen. She worked for the Ivan Allen College of Management at Georgia Tech and at BellSouth Advertising and Publishing Company. While at Florida State, she was a graduate assistant in the Department of Athletics.

Since arriving at Western Carolina University in 1999, Dr. Grube has served as assistant to the chancellor for Equal Opportunity Programs, assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, director of the School of Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, and Business Law, and interim associate dean for the College of Business. Dr. Grube served as the faculty athletics representative at Western Carolina University. In this role, she also served a term as president of the Southern Conference. Dr. Grube has been a member of the NCAA Committee on Institutional Performance and a member of the NCAA Legislative Committee.

Dr. Grube is married to Dr. Dan Grube, Associate Professor of Physical Education in the Western Carolina University College of Education and Allied Professions. They have two children, Trip (16) and Mary Georgia (13). The Grube family enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling.

Dr. Kimberly Elliott

Dr. Kimberly L. Elliott is the founder and CEO of Elliott & Associates Educational Consulting, LLC. She is a recently retired school superintendent and has served 34 years in the North Carolina education system. Dr. Elliott was honored to serve as Superintendent of Jackson County Public Schools, where she was selected to write an education column in a local newspaper, entitled “Engaging in Education”. She also served JCPS as an Assistant Superintendent, Associate Superintendent, and Interim Superintendent. Dr. Elliott has been engaged in an educational administrative capacity in North Carolina the majority of her 34-year career.

Elliott began her work in education in 1987 teaching adult education at a local community college; she then transitioned to a PK-8 school setting where she taught elementary education, special education, arts education, K-2 continuous progress primary, middle school students and led as school-based administrator. Dr. Elliott then served the state as a regional consultant and teacher recruitment/retention specialist. She has served two school systems as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and two systems as the Assistant Superintendent supporting all departments. Dr. Elliott was named faculty member and Director of Rural Education and Teacher Recruitment at Western Carolina University in 2005 where she was able to pursue her research interests in teacher recruitment, college access, professional learning communities, science education and educational interventions for students. Elliott has served as Adjunct Faculty for three universities and enjoys serving on Dissertation Committees to support future leaders. Dr. Elliott has taught Kindergarten through the Doctoral Program and states that “while there is an age difference, each student has similar needs to be met. All students desire to be heard, valued, cared for, and supported in their learning. This commonality supports educators in reaching all students”.

Dr. Elliott earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Masters in School Administration, Educational Specialist Degree with a concentration in curriculum design and organizational structure, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She has also studied and researched at UNC-Charlotte, Alverno College in Wisconsin, and Western Carolina University.

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