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Advancing Women in Leadership

in Higher Education

    • Friday, March 24, 2017
    • 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Pacific
  • Biola University
  • Hosted By: University Events

Cost and Admission

This is a paid event.

a speaker talking in front of an audience in an auditorium

In partnership with the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Biola University is hosting the second annual Women in Leadership Conference on March 24, 2017, in honor of National Women’s History Month.

Next March marks Biola’s 10th anniversary celebrating National Women’s History Month on campus, one of many ways in which Higher education institutions are advocating for women in leadership.

This year, the one-day conference — Advancing Women in Leadership — will be held on Biola’s campus in La Mirada, California. The conference is designed for women of all ages, stages of life and professional development. Men are also highly encouraged to attend and learn about leadership trends, research models, issues and opportunities addressing gender balance in leadership structures. Faculty, staff and students (undergraduate and graduate) who aspire to higher levels of influence and professional development are the key audience for the conference.

Participants will learn from top female leaders in the field of higher education and receive encouragement, direction, support and education related to advancing careers, personal influence, professionalism, discernment of vocational calling, and leadership gravitas. The opportunity to network with CCCU colleagues is also a great advantage and benefit for attendees.

two women talking at an event

The goal of this conference is to contribute to the overall preparedness for professional advancement, influence and impact, for all stages of women's professional careers. According to research and a 2016 report, “Pipelines, Pathways, and Institutional Leadership; An Update on the Status of Women in Higher Education,” prepared by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS) females are entering institutions of higher education at a higher rate than men with women also earning more than 50% of all bachelor’s degrees since 1981, more than 50% of all master’s degrees since 1991, and more than 50% of doctoral degrees since 2006. Yet, even with these increasing statistics, faculty and senior administrations of colleges and universities fall short of a healthy gender balance representation. Not enough progress has been made to reflect women in roles of leadership and tenure professor status. The conference will address these challenges and opportunities.

Breakout session topics will include:

  • 2016 Research and Review of Women in Leadership: Have our campuses made progress or are we losing ground?
  • Developing a mentoring and sponsoring program for emerging leaders on your campus
  • Advancing Your Professional Development: Learn the art of negotiation, proposals preparation, personal vision casting
  • Identifying Calling and Purpose: Are You Heading into the Right Direction of Your Vocation?

The Advancing Women in Leadership conference sold out in 2016. Space is limited, register now.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. If you are interested in getting more information on promoting your organization to more than 500 attendees, please email


Contact University Events at:
(562) 903-4855

Friday — March 24, 2017

7:30–8:30 a.m. Sutherland Courtyard Conference Check-In
Continental Breakfast Available
8:30–8:40 a.m. Sutherland Auditorium Welcome Deborah Taylor, Ph.D.
Provost & Senior Vice President, Biola University
8:40–9:25 a.m. Sutherland Auditorium Keynote Shirley Hoogstra, J.D.
President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

Kimberly Denu, Ph.D.
Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Azusa Pacific University
9:25–9:30 a.m. Sutherland Auditorium Workshop Information & Announcements Meleca Consultado
Resident Director, Biola University
9:45–10:45 a.m. Various Classrooms Breakout Sessions
10:45–11:05 a.m. Break
11:05–11:50 a.m. Sutherland Auditorium Keynote: Global Gender Justice - "The Elephant in the Church" Mimi Haddad, Ph.D.
President, Christians for Biblical Equality
12–1 p.m. Tent at Fluor Fountain 10th Annual Ruby Awards Luncheon
1:10–1:50 p.m. Sutherland Auditorium Keynote: "The Whole Church for the Whole Gospel" Eugene Cho
Founder and Lead Pastor, Quest Church
2–3 p.m. Various Classrooms Breakout Sessions
3–3:15 p.m. Break
3:15–4:30 p.m. Sutherland Auditorium Panel of Presidents & Board Members Peggy Campbell
Board Member, Azusa Pacific University

Barry Corey, Ph.D.
President, Biola University

Shirley Hoogstra, J.D.
President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

Shirley Mullen, Ph.D.
President, Houghton College

Meritt Sawyer
Board Member, Fuller Theological Seminary

Jon Wallace, DBA
President, Azusa Pacific University
4:30–4:45 p.m. Sutherland Auditorium Closing Shirley Hoogstra, J.D.
President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities
5–6 p.m. Giumarra Courtyard, Library Networking Reception

Please note: All sessions will repeat at 9:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. except for the session “Cultivating Diversity in Leadership” will only be available at 9:45 a.m.

Creative Pathways to Leadership: Moving Mountains in the Classroom and Beyond

Deshonna Collier-Goubil | Azusa Pacific University

Business 203

Women faculty are often tasked both formally and informally with invisible assignments beyond the classroom that demonstrate great leadership yet feel underprepared for leadership positions in the academy. Often feeling "called" to help resolve a problem or speaking out in support of students, but feeling turned off by standard leadership models. This workshop will discuss creative leadership in the classroom (using active teaching strategies), creative ways to model leadership to students, strategic ways to seek out alternative leadership models, and other ways to re-imagine leadership on their campuses.

Cultivating Diversity in Leadership

Kim Denu | Azusa Pacific University

Rebecca Hernandez | George Fox University

Irene Neller | Fuller Theological Seminary

Doretha O'Quinn | Vanguard University

Helen Williams | Pepperdine University

Amanda Slaughter | Azusa Pacific University

Cafeteria Banquet Room

As female representation in leadership fall short of a healthy gender balance, there remains an even larger gap of women of color in leadership. As student demographics continue to become more diverse, our need to cultivate diversity in the highest levels of institutional leadership is paramount. This session is a panel discussion with women of color in influential leadership roles on CCCU campuses. This session will explore their journey as institutional leaders, discuss how to cultivate more leaders from diverse backgrounds, and provide practical advice and pitfalls for women of color who aspire to move into leadership.

Developing and Sponsoring Female Employees For Leadership

Greg Vaughan & Carrie Stockton | Biola University

Business 220

This session will be a presentation and discussion regarding the opportunities and challenges relevant to women in their leadership identity, sponsorship, and development. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to attend this session, as well as female employees desiring continued growth on their leadership journey. Men are specifically encouraged to attend to hear from the leaders of this session as they share from their leadership experiences and working relationship for the past eight years. A particular emphasis will be placed on male advocacy for women in leadership, cross-gender dynamics in sponsorship, and the unique needs of female employees related to leadership development.

Fireside Chat with a President: Reflections on Her Presidency

Shirley Mullen | Houghton College

Business 102

Come and meet the current president of Houghton College who will be share about her journey in Christian higher education some of the lessons she has learned along the way.

Negotiating for Personal and Organizational Success

Dana Hinojosa | Pepperdine University

Susan Kaneshiro | Biola University

Calvary Chapel

We often hear that women are inherently disadvantaged when it comes to negotiation, particularly in the workplace. We disagree. While women do face unique challenges at the negotiation table, they also bring great advantages if they are well informed and well equipped. Through real life examples, you will gain awareness of how gender effects negotiation, a basic understanding of negotiation best practices, tools to overcome common barriers women encounter in negotiations, and insight into how one institution is systemically supporting and advocating on behalf of women throughout the hiring negotiation process. You will walk away from this session with practical tips that will help you gain or improve your negotiating skills.

Practical Steps to Start Professional Development Programs for Employees

Bernice Ledbetter & Sara Jackson | Pepperdine University

Jennifer Shewmaker | Abilene Christian University

Elaine Richardson | Azusa Pacific University

Business 206

Is your college interested in starting professional development programs for women on your campus? Come hear from Pepperdine University and Abilene Christian University on how they developed programs for their women staff and faculty.

In response to a lack of female leaders throughout Abilene University, the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning initiated a multi-step approach to identify and support both emerging and established female leaders in a structured, strategic program that has included book groups, small and large group meetings, retreats and a mini-conference. With a focus on the development of individual strengths and a network of female leaders, the program has lead to an increase in female leadership on campus.

Pepperdine University found itself seeking ways to examine the theory and practice of developing leader identity for high potential women in higher education. In the fall of 2015 Pepperdine University launched the Center for Women in Leadership, funded by a grant provided by the University's president. Its mission is to inspire and develop female leaders among faculty, staff and students. This session will describe the Center's "Women's Leadership Institute” 10 month leadership development program utilizing selective participation, university senior leader mentors, guest speakers from business and educational backgrounds, StrengthFinders testing and analysis, professional skills development, and network building.

Sticky Floors? Stained-Glass Ceilings? Constructively Addressing Barriers that Deter Women from Leadership

Karen Longman | Azusa Pacific University

Talbot East 08

A growing body of literature affirms the importance of involving diverse perspectives at the senior-level leadership of corporations and organizations. Despite this widely-recognized fact, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in upper levels of leadership across most sectors of American society. Although the church and Christian higher education should be leading the way in modelling how to identify, affirm, develop, and celebrate the giftedness of every person, in many regards they are lagging behind. This session will focus on the experiences of women in terms of internal and external deterrents to seeking and/or advancing into leadership. The more we know the research about what contributes to effective leadership, the more confidently we can embrace the fact that it’s time to “change the face” of senior leadership in Christian higher education to be more representative of God’s Kingdom. Particularly noteworthy is the concern articulated by Harvard’s Barbara Kellerman and Stanford Law School’s Deborah Rhode that the “pipeline strategy” for advancing more women into leadership has not worked, given its male-normed assumptions regarding what motivates individuals to consider and move into leadership. This session will examine “what works” to overcome the “stained glass ceiling” by enhancing leadership self-efficacy, particularly within Christian subcultures that often limit the potential and opportunities of women.

The Stories of 18 Women Who Left Their Leadership Roles in Christian Higher Education: What Should We Learn?

Cynthia Steele | Tabor College Wichita School of Adult and Graduate Studies

Debbie Cunningham | University of Birmingham

Business 103

The need for Christian colleges and universities to develop and retain women in leadership roles is significant, given stated commitments to diversity and women’s documented under-representation on campuses that average 60% female students. This session presents the findings of two recent dissertations that have explored the factors that led talented women to leave their leadership roles, either voluntarily or involuntarily. By immersing ourselves into the lived experiences of 18 talented women, what can be learned that would make Christian Higher Education more inclusive?

Where U At? Calling Men up to the Goal of Gender Equity

Edgar Barron | Azusa Pacific University

Talbot East 109

Too often missing from the discussion of the advancement of women is the role that men have historically played in the myriad challenges facing women. This session will focus on the necessity of and strategies for engaging men in the ongoing work of gender equity.

Women Shouldn’t Teach and Lead in Christian Organizations? Reexamining Biblical Passages That Have Held Women Back

Ron Pierce | Biola University

Business 109 (morning session) & Mayers Auditorium (afternoon session)

Only a few passages in Scripture address women as teachers and leaders in a Christian context: 1 Corinthians 11 & 14, and 1 Timothy 2. Based on traditional interpretations of these texts, many Evangelicals still cannot embrace the full participation of women in such roles. This session presents a fresh reading of the key texts with a special focus on 1 Timothy 2, suggesting that Paul is condemning prideful practices and authoritarian teaching, rather than leading and teaching in general in Christian organizations—including contemporary church structures

Vocational Discernment: Listening to Our Lives in Every Season

Mary Ellen Azada & Laura Harbert | Fuller Theological Seminary

Business 207

Women in Higher Education have a number of demands that pull on our attention and time. In the midst of our fast-paced lives, do we even know how to stop and listen to what our lives are telling us and ask broader questions about how God has gifted and called us? Each participant will engage during the session with self-reflective tools that will offer opportunities for further discernment on God’s call for their life.


Peggy Campbell

Peggy Campbell

Peggy Campbell serves as president of Ambassador Advertising Agency, which she joined in 1977 to help launch Chuck Swindoll’s daily radio broadcast. She is also a member of the National Religious Broadcasters board and past board member of MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers). Campbell is a graduate of Biola University. Today, she serves as chair of the Board of Trustees at Azusa Pacific University, where her passion for Christian higher education, leadership development, and students is unmatched. Her late husband, Jon, also served on the APU board until he passed away in June 2005. Her home church is St. Andrew’s Presbyterian (Newport Beach).

Eugene Cho

Eugene Cho

Eugene Cho is the founder and Lead Pastor of Quest Church – an urban, multi-cultural and multi-generational church in Seattle, Washington – as well as founder and Executive Director of the Q Café, an innovative non-profit community café and music venue. He is also the founder and visionary of One Day's Wages (ODW) – "a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty." The vision of ODW is to create a collaborative movement by integrating human relationships, social media/technology and the power of story. ODW promotes awareness, invites simple giving (one day's wages) and supports sustainable relief through partnerships, especially with smaller organizations in developing regions. / @eugenecho

Barry Corey

Barry Corey

Dr. Barry H. Corey became the eighth president of Biola University on July 1, 2007. Dr. Corey, a Massachusetts native, came to Biola from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Mass., where he served as vice president/chief academic officer, and academic dean. Prior to that, he served as Gordon-Conwell's vice president for development, leading all external relations and fundraising programs including a successful $54 million capital campaign.President Corey is vice chair of the board of directors for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and is a member of the Convoy of Hope board of directors. He serves on the executive committee for the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the board of reference for the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the board of reference for the American Friends of Tyndale House, Cambridge.

Kim Denu

Kim Denu

Dr. Kimberly Battle-Walters Denu, is the vice president and chief diversity officer at Azusa Pacific University. She has a master’s degree in social work from Temple University, and a doctorate in sociology, with an emphasis in race and family, from the University of Florida. She is a former recipient of a Fulbright Scholar award for South Africa and has published articles on African American issues, women and family matters, and international topics. Her book "Sheila's Shop: Working-Class African American Women Talk about Life, Love, Race, and Hair" was listed in a Los Angeles newspaper as one of the top ten African American books. She and her mother co-edited a recent book entitled Mothers Are Leaders (2014). In addition, Dr. Battle-Walters Denu is an ordained minister who does ministry work around the globe.

Mimi Haddad

Mimi Haddad

Dr. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality, is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (Summa Cum Laude). She holds a doctorate in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University awarded Haddad an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 2013. Dr. Haddad is part of the leadership of Evangelicals for Justice. She is a founding member of the Evangelicals and Gender Study Group at the Evangelical Theological Society, and she served as the convener of the Issue Group 24 for the 2004 Lausanne III Committee for World Evangelization.

Haddad is an award winning author and has written more than one hundred academic and popular articles and blogs. She is author of Is Gender Equality a Biblical Ideal? with Sean Callaghan. She has contributed to twelve books and her most recent publications include: “Examples of Women’s Leadership in the Old Testament and Church History” in Women in Pentecostal and Charismatic Ministry, part of the Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies Series 21 (Brill NV, 2016) and “The Invisible Power of Culture to Oppress: What Every Christian Needs to Know about Gender and Justice” in The Campbellsville Review 8 (2015-2017). Haddad is an adjunct assistant professor of historical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and Olivet University Zinzendorf School of Doctoral Studies. She currently serves as a gender consultant for World Vision International and Beyond Borders. She and her husband, Dale, live in the Twin Cities.

Shirley Hoogstra

Shirley Hoogstra

Shirley Hoogstra received a bachelor’s in education at Calvin College and a Juris Doctorate, with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law and went on to successfully practice law at a firm specializing in litigation in New Haven, Connecticut. After a decade of this, Hoogstra felt the calling of the Lord to leave her successful practice to pursue working for the cause of Christian higher education full-time. This bold move led her to become the vice-president of student life at Calvin College in 1999, serving as a key campus leader and cabinet member in her role. Then, in 2014, Hoogstra became the first women president to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) since its founding in 1976. She serves in that role with a combination of her zeal for the rule of law and her passion for Christian higher education to promote the value and purpose of a high-quality, Christ-centered education that shapes the heart, soul, and mind.

Shirley Mullen

Shirley Mullen

Shirley Mullen attended Houghton College where she majored in history and graduated summa cum laude in 1976. She immediately went on to complete an master's degree in history at the University of Toronto. At this juncture, Shirley worked for two years at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in student life, after which she attended the University of Minnesota, completing her doctorate in history in 1985.

Shirley spent the first 23 years of her academic career teaching European history at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, during which time she received the college’s “teacher of the year” award three times. Her interest in philosophy of history led her to pursue a second doctorate in philosophy on the work of David Hume. After serving as provost at Westmont for four years, she accepted the presidency of her alma mater, Houghton College, in the spring of 2006. While she misses the classroom context, she has found that the fields of history and philosophy are excellent training for the presidency—balancing the concrete and theoretical, the contingent and the inevitable.

Christianity Today profiled her in a 2012 cover story entitled “50 Women You Should Know.” In 2015, for her distinguished career in the field of higher education, Dr. Mullen, was honored as a New York State Senate 2015 “Woman of Distinction.” Senator Catharine Young selected her as the 57th Senate District’s honoree for her long and distinguished record in higher education and community outreach. Dr. Mullen also serves on the Board of Trustees for Fuller Theological Seminary since 2008 and on the boards of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (New York State), CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities), National Association of Evangelicals, NAICU (National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities), Tax Committee and Allegany County United Way.

Meritt Lohr Sawyer

Meritt Lohr Sawyer

Meritt Lohr Sawyer is currently an independent non-profit management consultant. Prior to this, she was the president and executive director of the Paul Carlson Partnership, affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, a ministry dedicated to medical and economic development in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has given executive leadership to nonprofit organizations for over thirty years as the international program director for Langham Partnership International (London), vice president of John Stott Ministries, cofounder and executive director of FACT (global leadership), and executive director of CISF (now Scholar Leaders).

Prior to her nonprofit positions, Meritt hailed from IBM, marketing to the nation’s largest semiconductor companies, and she served as associate dean of students at Northwestern University. She has been personally active in a far-reaching series of local and global endeavors, including the boards of Able Works and Oasis USA, in addition to Fuller Seminary’s, and is producer of the Windrider-Bay Area Film Forum. She holds an master's degree in higher education from Bowling Green State University and an master's in theology from Fuller. She and her husband, Steve, have three grown children.

Jon R. Wallace

Jon R. Wallace

Known for his ethical leadership and heart for college students, Dr. Jon R. Wallace serves as the 16th president of Azusa Pacific University. Now in his 17th year in this leadership position, he continues to advance a vision of transformational scholarship, faith integration, God-honoring diversity, and intentional internationalization. Wallace’s career in Christian higher education spans nearly 40 years, including roles as campus pastor, dean of students, COO, and now president. His leadership has moved forward the university’s 118-year God First mission to train disciples and scholars that will advance the work of God in the world.

Married since 1975, Dr. Wallace and his wife, Gail, delight in their three children—David, Matthew, and Kate, two daughters-in-law, Andrea and Kyan, on son-in law, Leif—and granddaughters, Georgia Ruth and Madison Dean, and grandsons, Titus Matthew and Joshua David.


Mary Ellen Azada

Mary Ellen Azada

Mary Ellen is at Fuller Theological Seminary as the Executive Director of Call Discernment. She oversees a team of vocational advisors assisting new incoming and current students' discern their call to God's work in the world. “I feel such joy knowing that my experience as a 1.5-generation Asian American woman in ministry shapes my ability to live comfortably with change, nimbleness, and courage as we seek to work together to call students to a wider, more expansive view of vocation for the kingdom.”

Azada holds more than two decades of experience serving in ministry and pastoral roles. She is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and served as a mission pastor in several churches for the past 20 years in Northern California and Hawaii. That experience includes founding and directing a nonprofit organization for children of incarcerated parents, and serving as a school counselor while leading call and ministry development for a church plant in Hawaii. Azada most recently served at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, where she was associate pastor of missional engagement for 10 years. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Religion from the University of Redlands, a master's degree in Education in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Hawaii in Manoa, and an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Edgar Barron

Edgar Barron

Dr. Barron has held a number of dynamic and diverse positions including those of Vice President of Communications and Creative Services at Promise Keepers, Founding and Senior Pastor of Journey Christian Fellowship and Management Consultant. Prior to his service in the non-profit sector Dr. Barron spent 16 years in the aerospace defense industry with Hughes Aircraft Co. in the Los Angeles area. His primary areas of focus were Industrial and Systems engineering.

Dr. Barron joined the staff at Azusa Pacific University in May of 2010 as the Executive Director of Student Center for Reconciliation and Diversity where he provided leadership in the areas of racial reconciliation, campus climate and minority student development. He was appointed Chair, Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology in June of 2015. Dr. Barron holds a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from the University of La Verne, a master's in Leadership from Azusa Pacific University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California.

Deshonna Collier-Goubil

Deshonna Collier-Goubil

Dr. Deshonna Collier-Goubil (Ph.D., Sociology, Howard University; M.A., Theology, Fuller Seminary) serves as Associate Professor & Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Azusa Pacific University. Serving as inaugural chair of the department, Collier-Goubil has worked to increase undergraduate majors threefold in one year. She now supervises the criminal justice program on four campuses, responsible for the care of three full time full time faculty, two program directors, a host of adjunct faculty, and serving both traditional and nontraditional undergraduate students. Prior to this, she has served as a concentration coordinator, faculty liaison to a university’s diversity officer, consulted university administration, faculty and staff in areas of diversity, served as a faculty fellow in both community engagement and university assessment, and founded a retention and leadership program for black female students at a CCCU institution. This program now serves as the prototype for several other student inclusion and retention affinity groups. She also served as a research fellow to the National Institute of Justice, the College Board, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. In her “spare” time, she is a mom, a wife, and a community leader, volunteering in local community organizations.

Debra Cunningham

Debra Cunningham

Debra Cunningham presently works as Chair of the Education Department at San Diego Christian College and oversees the Teacher Credential Program. She earned an A.S. in Early Childhood Education, a B.A. in Psychology, a master’s degree in Education and an Ed.D in Higher Education Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. Cunningham has taught in both the public and private sector, and has served in Higher Education for nine years.

Laura Robinson Harbert

Laura Robinson Harbert

A graduate of Fuller Seminary in both the School of Theology and the School of Psychology, Laura is engaged in a number of different vocational settings that allow her to integrate her psychology and theology training. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is an Affiliate professor of Clinical Psychology in Fuller's Graduate School of Psychology. She is also serving one day a week at Homeboy Industries, doing therapy with former gang members, and has a private practice in Pasadena. Dr. Harbert was formerly Fuller’s dean of Chapel and Spiritual Formation. She and her husband, Mike, who is also an ordained Presbyterian minister, have five adult children and they are loving this "empty nest" stage when the nest actually happens to be empty! Visit more of her story here.

Rebecca Hernandez

Rebecca Hernandez

Dr. Rebecca Hernandez, Ph.D., has served as the Associate Vice President of Intercultural Engagement and Faculty Development at George Fox University since July of 2014. In this role Dr. Hernandez builds on her extensive experience to oversee diversity planning and implementation, faculty development, and campus Leadership Development. She has additionally served in the roles of school teacher, community program director and non-profit leader, director of the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning, and associate dean. Dr. Hernandez has presented at various conferences and meetings in the U.S. and outside the country. She has published several articles and chapters on health and educational access for Latinos in the U.S. and continues to teach at the college level. Along with her academic work Dr. Hernandez, helped launch the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities’ (CCCU) Multi Ethnic Leadership Development Institute (ME-LDI) in 2011 and in the fall of 2014, Hernandez was invited to serve as the founding chair of the CCCU Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, which has provided an opportunity for national leadership.

Dana Hinojosa

Dana Hinojosa

Dana Hinojosa is a conflict management and professional development specialist with extensive experience training professionals on topics including conflict management, negotiation, and navigating difficult conversations. She earned a master’s degree in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine’s Straus Institute, then the top dispute resolution program in the country, and has put this expertise into practice as a trainer, court mediator, and facilitator in the Alternatives to Violence Project where she works with prison inmates to develop their conflict management skills. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Professional Development at Pepperdine University where she works closely with staff and faculty to develop the communication, organization, and dispute resolution skills they need to thrive not only in the workplace but also in their everyday lives. She has lived, studied, and worked in ten countries with a particular focus on culture, social justice, and peace and reconciliation.

Sara Jackson

Sara Jackson

Sara Young Jackson currently serves as senior vice chancellor at Pepperdine University. Her roots with Pepperdine run deep, being the daughter of the third president and first lady of Pepperdine. Growing up on the original campus in South Central Los Angeles, she literally witnessed the transformation of George Pepperdine College into a nationally ranked university whose main campus is now in Malibu, California. Graduating from Pepperdine, she went on to pursue a master’s degree at Fuller Seminary in the field of marriage and family counseling. Sara’s career at Pepperdine spans over 30 years, holding various positions including director of student affairs, director of the Volunteer Center, and executive director of the Boone Center for the Family. Sara participated in the CCCU Women’s Advanced Leadership Institute in 2015, and as a result developed the “Women’s Institute,” a career development program for aspiring leaders at Pepperdine. Now residing in Westlake Village with her husband Sam, they have three grown children. Her husband has served for the last 32 years as a major gift fundraiser for clean water initiatives with World Vision International.

Susan Kaneshiro

Susan Kaneshiro

Susan Kaneshiro, M.B.A., is the Associate Director of Human Resources at Biola University where she has served for over 25 years. She is also currently the President of the Southern California Chapter of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) a professional organization committed to equity and inclusion within higher education human resources. Her Chapter includes member schools including public and private institutions, state schools, and community colleges of all sizes, spanning from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Susan served as the recruiter at Biola for over 15 years where she coordinated and negotiated countless hires. She also co-chairs the Biola NCAA sub-committee on Equity and Inclusion for Athletics and serves as a consultant to the University Committee on Women and the Diversity Advisory Board. She is also certified as a Human Resources Project Manager and as an Emotional Intelligence coach.

Bernice Ledbetter

Bernice Ledbetter

Dr. Bernice Ledbetter is the Director of the Pepperdine Center for Women in Leadership, she is a recognized expert on the topic of women in leadership. She is a regular contributor on the Huffington post Blog, offering practical advice to women in leadership, and quoted in the Los Angeles Times, and LA Business Journal. Dr. Ledbetter is a frequent key note speaker on advancing women in leadership to international, industry groups and large organizations including Fortune 500. Dr. Ledbetter serves as Chair of the Master of Science in Leadership & Management degree program at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, where she teaches graduate-level courses across a range of leadership topics. She is an award winning teacher, and recipient of the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence, the George Award for Outstanding Faculty Member, and the Graziadio Alumni Network Leadership Council “Above and Beyond” Faculty Award, for 2016.

Karen Longman

Karen Longman

Karen A. Longman serves as the Ph.D. program director and professor of Doctoral Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University (APU). She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in the Center for the Study of Higher Education, holds master’s degrees from U.M. and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and completed her undergraduate work in psychology at Albion College in Michigan.

Longman also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), where she worked for 19 years as Vice President for Professional Development and Research. In that role, she coordinated the development of the Executive Leadership Development Initiative, which has served approximately 400 participants (presidents, chief academic officers, and emerging leaders) since 1996. Additionally, she has directed the CCCU’s Women’s Leadership Development Institutes and the Women’s Advanced Leadership Institutes since 1998.

Longman and her colleague, Laurie A. Schreiner, co-edit the journal Christian Higher Education: An International Journal of Research, Theory, and Practice. She also edited the 2012 publication Thriving in Leadership: Strategies for Making a Difference in Christian Higher Education. She is currently co-editing an eight-volume book series being sponsored by the International Leadership Association focused on “Women and Leadership” and co-edited the first and third volumes in the series; the first is titled “Women and Leadership in Higher Education.” Her research and publications focus on gender issues, leadership development, and Christian higher education.

Irene Neller

Irene Neller

Irene Neller is vice president for communications, marketing and admissions at Fuller Theological Seminary. She has 29 years of experience in marketing, advertising, creative production, internal communications, and public relations. She previously served at Biola University, where she founded the marketing division and served as senior advisor to the president and vice president for communications and marketing. Neller was awarded the President’s Award for Exceptional Performance in 2008 and two Awards of Excellence (’88, ’07) for her marketing leadership at Biola University. She was Biola’s first Hispanic vice president and began the annual event of recognizing March’s National Women’s History Month with the Ruby Awards and activities, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017.

Neller holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in communications, and earned national recognition for outstanding advertising campaigns by the American Marketing Association, Admissions National Reporting Agency, Council of Advancement in Support of Education, and the Public Relations Society of America. She has presented at conferences and seminars on marketing and advertising for numerous professional organizations. She served as national chair for the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) Communications Officers Commission. She has been interviewed by numerous publications on how to prepare successful recruitment videos, was featured in Non-Profit Communications Report on effective marketing for a new university president, and was published in the International Advertising Journal for her study on global advertising. She is a contributing author of the book, "Mothers are Leaders".

Neller volunteers her time for non-profit organizations and is committed to mentoring girls and women. She has been married 30 years and has two sons.

Doretha O'Quinn

Doretha O'Quinn

Dr. Doretha O'Quinn is as an ordained minister in the Foursquare Denomination. She currently serves as the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Vanguard University. Her 47 years of leadership includes higher education positions such as having served as Vice Provost of Multi-Ethnic and Cross Cultural Engagement programs and Professor at Biola University, positions of pastoral ministry to adults, and children and youth camps, as well as having chaired and served on multiple Western Association for Schools and Colleges teams for Accreditation of K-12 and Universities. She was recognized by the National Association of University Women (NAUW) as their 2016 Outstanding Educator of the Year. Orange County and San Diego County and was recently named and honored as one of the top 25 most influential leaders in Orange County. She is the author of the book “Silent Voices, Powerful Messages”, the Historical Influence and Contribution of African-Americans to the Foursquare Gospel Movement. She is a contributing author of the book the most recently published book 2015 “Mothers are Leaders”. Her passion is administrative leadership, teaching and preaching the word, ministering to young women, training teachers to work with children in inner city schools.

Ron Pierce

Ron Pierce

Dr. Ron Pierce has taught at Biola University in the undergraduate Biblical & Theological Studies division since 1976, specializing in the contemporary evangelical gender debate, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the Old Testament book of Daniel. From 1986-2001 he and his wife Pat directed Biola's Israel-Palestine travel-study program, and continue to lead academic tours to the Holy Land for local churches. His published books include Discovering Biblical Equality (2005), Partners in Marriage & Ministry (2011), and a commentary on Daniel (2015), along with numerous articles for academic journals.

Elaine Richardson

Elaine Richardson

M. Elaine Richardson, Psy.D., is the director of the Office of Women’s Development at Azusa Pacific University. She also serves as a Title IX Deputy Coordinator. Additionally, she teaches in the College Counseling and Student Development Program (CCSD) at APU. Previously she provided therapy as a staff psychologist at APU’s University Counseling Center. Elaine conducts seminars and workshops on women’s issues, empowering women for success, faith and domestic violence, African-American college students and professional ethics. She mentors students, both one on one and in leadership groups. She is also the advisor to APU’s Black Student Association. Her contribution to faculty development has included co-facilitating workshops addressing navigating difficult dynamics, microaggressions and student learning engagement. Elaine is passionate about women seeing their worth, as well as preparing women for exceptional leadership.

Jennifer Shewmaker

Jennifer Shewmaker

Jennifer W. Shewmaker, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology, associate dean of teaching and learning, and the executive director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning, and sits on the senior leadership team at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. She has served as a leader at the campus, state, national and international level through her work with women in higher education, psychology, and in advocacy for girls and women. Dr. Shewmaker is a graduate of the HERS Leadership Institute, American Psychological Association Leadership Institute for Women, and Center for Courage and Renewal’s Leadership Academy. She has created and led the Women and Leadership program for female faculty at ACU and is a trained leadership coach.

Amanda Slaughter

Amanda Slaughter

Amanda Slaughter is an enrollment management professional with more than a decade of experience in higher education working with both traditional and graduate/professional admissions and student retention at CCCU institutions in California, Pennsylvania and Mississippi. Slaughter currently serves as Director of the Inland Empire Regional Campus at Azusa Pacific University were she has led the campus during major program expansion in a highly competitive, diverse market. She received a Regional Service Award from the North American Coalition for Christian Admissions Professionals and has led diversity workshops at national enrollment conferences and for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Slaughter obtained a BA in Journalism from Biola University and a MA in higher education from Geneva College.

Cynthia Steele

Cynthia Steele

Cynthia Steele presently works as a faculty mentor for the Tabor College Wichita School of Adult and Graduate Studies. She earned her bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts, a master's degree in Marriage, Family, Counseling, post-graduate work in Career Development, and recently completed her doctoral studies in Higher Education Leadership at Azusa Pacific University. Formerly, Steele worked at Fresno Pacific University as the Executive Director of four Regional Campuses. Most recently, she joined the Board of Trustees for Piedmont International University in North Carolina.

Carrie Stockton

Carrie Stockton

Carrie Stockton serves as the Dean of Student Success at Biola University and has worked at the university since 2001. In 2014, she took on the role of Dean of Student Success and became a member of the President’s Administrative Council. Stockton obtained her B.A. in Business/Economics from Wheaton College (IL), M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Biola University, and is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Azusa Pacific University. Her primary research interests include: women in leadership, postsecondary student success, and social justice in higher education.

Greg Vaughan

Greg Vaughan

Greg Vaughan has been the Vice President for Enrollment Management at Biola University since 2008. He has served at the university for nearly 40 years in various capacities, and in his current role oversees Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Success and Intercollegiate Athletics. Vaughan earned his B.A. in Communications at Biola and an M.A. in Social Science at Azusa Pacific University. A proponent of healthy organizations, he has been an advocate for gender-balanced leadership teams and in particular the development of women leaders.

Helen Easterling Williams

Helen Easterling Williams

Helen Easterling Williams, Ed.D., is the dean of Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP). Williams, a lifelong educator, has served three decades in higher education leadership. Prior to assuming her role at GSEP in August 2014, Williams was the president of Health Education & Welfare International, a firm that provides consultative services designed to improve the health, education, and welfare of individuals, faith-based organizations, higher education institutions, and elementary and secondary educational organizations. Williams also previously served as Dean to the school of Education at Azusa Pacific University and Senior Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware where her leadership resulted in improved student academic outcomes, increased enrollment (particularly of minority students), a diversified faculty, and the securing of additional fiscal resources. She is an American Council on Education Fellow (2004-2005) and a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. She is also an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church serving presently at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles, California.

Partner Schools

The Advancing Women in Leadership conference was thoughtfully, and prayerfully planned with the help of our partner schools, Azusa Pacific University, Pepperdine University, and Fuller Theological Seminary. Representatives from each school met regularly to develop the conference. These partnerships are an important part of the success of this conference and we are grateful for their time, support, and prayerful preparation.

  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Pepperdine
  • CCCU


A special thank you to our sponsors who financially supported the Advancing Women in Leadership Conference. Their generous support made this event possible.

  • Pepperdine
  • World Vision
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • The Giving Keys

Maps and Directions

13800 Biola Ave
La Mirada, California 90639

Directions to Biola

Directions from local airports

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Orange County's John Wayne Airport, Long Beach Airport and Ontario Airport are the nearest to Biola. If you require a ride from the airport to Biola, we recommend Prime Time Shuttle, which offers a discount to prospective Biola students (Corporate ID is BIOLA). You are also welcome to contact Prime Time Shuttle at 1-800-RED-VANS - please mention profile #231656.

Los Angeles Airport (LAX) – 27 miles

105 East to 605 South/Rosecrans exit, Left on Rosecrans, 4 miles to Biola Avenue. Turn left on Biola Avenue. The University is on the right.

John Wayne Airport (Orange County) – 24 miles

405 toward LA, 55 North, 5 North, exit Valley View, Left on Firestone, Right on Valley View, Right on Rosecrans, Left on Biola Avenue. The University is on the Right.

Burbank Airport – 32 miles

Right on Hollywood Way, Left on Empire Avenue, 5 South, exit Rosecrans, Right on Rosecrans, 2 miles to Left on Biola Avenue. The University is on the right.

Ontario Airport – 33 miles

10 West to 57 South, to 91 West, to 5 North, exit Valley View, Left on Firestone, Right on Valley View, Right on Rosecrans, Left on Biola Avenue. The University is on the right.

Long Beach Airport – 15 miles

North on Lakewood, East on Carson--becomes Lincoln, North on Valley View, Right on Rosecrans, Left on Biola Avenue. The University is on the right. Or North on Lakewood, East on Carson to 605 North to 5 South. Exit Rosecrans, Right on Rosecrans, Left on Biola Avenue. The University is on the right.


Attendees may bypass entrance gatehouses as parking permits are not required for conference attendees who park in event parking lots - Lot A & Lot B through Entrance 8 and Lot S accessed through Entrance 7 or Entrance 1 (See Interactive Campus Map).

Local Accommodations

Biola University is proud to partner with the following hotels. Their sponsorship of our programs benefits the Biola Fund, which keeps tuition costs low for all students as well as provides scholarships to students with financial need.

Rates subject to change. Please contact the hotel for exact pricing.

Holiday Inn La Mirada

Holiday Inn La Mirada

Visit the hotel's website | View Map / Directions

Address 14299 Firestone Blvd., La Mirada, CA 90638
Phone (800) 972-2576, (714) 739-8500
Biola rate $109 - $112
When booking, mention Biola University.
Distance from Biola 2.2 miles
Misc Located near the Valley View exit off of the 5 Freeway. Complimentary shuttle service within 10 miles with reservations. Features pool, whirlpool, and sauna. Fitness Center and restaurant for breakfast on site. Complimentary parking, daily paper, and in-room wireless internet.
Shuttle service Yes
Holiday Inn La Mirada

Holiday Inn Buena Park

View Map / Directions

Address 7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone (800) HOLIDAY, (714) 522-7000
Biola rate $115
When booking, mention Biola University.
Distance from Biola 6.1 miles
Misc Located on Beach Boulevard off of the 91 Freeway. Breakfast for one guest is provided in the restaurant, Monday through Friday, 6:30–9:00 a.m. Free WiFi throughout hotel.
Shuttle service No