Women in Leadership: Impacting Student Success

Women in Leadership Impacting Student Success Careers
By Brandon Swenson March 25, 2021

Here’s to Our Strong Women

We couldn’t let Women’s History Month go by without celebrating the women of Grantham University. We talked to two strong leaders at Grantham about why female leadership is so important.

Kami Richardson, vice president of student experience, and Tracy Gallery, vice president of human resources, told us a little about their backgrounds, how they serve Grantham, and what they love about their roles.

Supporting Student Growth

Richardson has been with Grantham since 2008, and she currently leads the university’s mission to ensure the student experience is top notch, and creates an environment built for student success. As a graduate of two of our online degree programs—the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and the Master of Science in Information Management-Project Management—she knows firsthand the value of a Grantham education. Her passion for leadership development also led her to earn a certificate in Women in Leadership from Cornell University.

“My favorite part about working at Grantham is the people I work with, helping students during their educational journey,” she says. “I get to witness growth in our staff and students, while also making sure we are challenging each other to be better every single day.”

Gallery, on the other hand, has been using her background in human resources, management, and organizational behavior to lead Grantham’s human resources department for the past three years. She has worked in a variety of industries, including healthcare information systems, financial services, and nonprofit organizations—as well as, of course, higher education.

“My favorite aspect of working at GU is getting to see the impact our employees have on our students on a daily basis,” Gallery says. “The work that our employees do to help our students succeed culminates in the joy you see in the faces of the graduates and their families at commencement.”

Advocating for Women

For the past 30 years, Gallery has lived her passion for helping people find their potential—and helping organizations leverage their people to deliver on success. That’s no different at Grantham.

“My role is to be the advocate for our people,” she says. “I have the opportunity to influence all aspects of our people strategy, and coaching and guiding our people is a key aspect of this.”

Richardson also has a penchant for supporting other people, especially women, through her daily work. She loves guiding other women through challenges so they can be more comfortable facing tough conversations or difficult situations on their own.

“I like to challenge women to see themselves as the great leaders they are,” Richardson says. “I encourage them to speak up with their ideas, and I remind them that it’s okay for women to have strong opinions and for them to be heard.”

Words of Wisdom

Both Gallery and Richardson are clear about the importance of finding a mentor, someone you can turn to when you have questions or need support—or, as Richardson says, someone you can “run and scream to occasionally; trust me, you will need it.” Gallery suggests simply asking a teacher or someone else you admire to meet with you from time to time. “Be prepared, bring a list of questions, and don’t be shy!” she says. The more questions you ask, the more curiosity you bring to life, the more you can learn and grow.

If Richardson could give one piece of advice to young women, it’s to be patient—but also to never lose sight of your goals. “You are going to work hard, you are going to be tired, and you are going to want to give up. But you can’t,” she says. “Keep going. Know that you are continuing to blaze the trail for the other girls that will be future leaders just like you!”

For Gallery, her best piece of advice is something a female boss once told her: To thine own self be true. The line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet has reminded her to stay true to herself every time she’s had to make a difficult decision or get through a tough conversation since then. “Know you are worthy, know you are capable, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

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We are very fortunate to have such a strong female presence at Grantham, from leaders like Kami Richardson and Tracy Gallery to a College of Nursing & Health Professions faculty that is more than 80% women. We want to thank all of the women at Grantham for their passion, their expertise, and their dedication to student success!

About the Author

Brandon Swenson
Brandon Swenson, communications manager, is on University of Arkansas Grantham’s editorial board. A veteran and college graduate himself, he understands the benefits and intricacies of government education programs, such as veteran education benefits. Brandon earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City toward the end of his nearly two-decade tour in the United States Marine Corps.
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