news-category: Women's History Month

Godbold College of Business Empowering Women Day Features Alumnae and Superior Court Judge

Participating in the event were, from left, current student and moderator Laci Paul ‘24; Brittany Beam ‘12; Madison Riggs ‘21, Savanah Burns ‘25, Catherine Fox ‘19, Candice Hayes’16, and current student and co-moderator Madelyn Kampfe ‘24.

Women Leaders Inspire Female Students with Advice That Applies to Everyone

By Isabella Brown, ’24, Intern for University Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University Godbold College of Business celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting Empowering Women Day on March 6. During this event, which was part of the Experiential Learning series, alumnae were invited to speak and share their personal experiences as women in the world of business. After two panel discussions, Resident Superior Court Judge Sally Kirby-Turner gave an inspirational speech.

“All of our Experiential Learning events are geared towards giving students a different perspective on the business world from the lens of professionals,” shared Dean of the Godbold College of Business and Assistant Professor of Marketing, Dr. Mischia Taylor. “This particular event allowed students the opportunity to hear from alumnae who have faced some of the same challenges they are facing now as students. They were also able to give steps to overcoming them and persevering.”

Taylor acknowledged that all individuals face challenges and have different outlooks on life. “As a female, it is especially important that we recognize and celebrate each other’s accomplishments and support each other through our challenges. Find your people; find the people who are going to cheer you through the hard times and celebrate your biggest achievements. Seek out mentors (male or female) and absorb every bit of knowledge and experience from them.”

She continued, “Work with people who are different from you. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish. As women, we put a great deal of pressure to be everything to everyone, just remember to take care of yourself sometimes.”  

The alumnae invited to speak discussed their journey in the business world: the challenges they faced, their successes and advice for students. Participating in the event were:

  • Savannah Burns, ’15, a marketing professional with a background in business administration, finance, IT, and media. She majored in business administration and was member of the softball team all four years.
  • Brittney Spangler Beam, ’12, graduating with a bachelor’s in communications, Beam has contributed her expertise to the American Legion World Series for over a decade. In 2021, she began a career in real estate, founding her own real estate team, leveraging her knowledge and network to provide top-notch service to clients.
  • Candice Hayes, ’16, a business marketing graduate of GWU, she earned her master’s in business administration in entrepreneurship and innovation from Clemson University. She has worked in marketing for the past eight years.
  • Catherine Fox, ’19, a former member of the lacrosse team, Fox earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and works in IT staffing and consulting. She has contributed her expertise to companies ranging from small businesses to fortune 500 enterprises. Presently, she serves as a valued member of The LRB Group, an enterprise technology services firm specializing in providing consultants for technology and business transformations.
  • Madison Riggs, ’21, during her time as a Runnin’ Bulldog, she was a setter for the volleyball team and majored in business administration. After graduation she worked at Enterprise Mobility before joining Edward Jones as a financial advisor.

Riggs emphasized the value of building relationships. “It is so important that women have a solid network that they can rely on for support or referrals,” she noted. “I would not be at this point in my career if it weren’t for the female mentors I’ve had. Many of these women I have met through engagements like this event. If I can pay their work forward by being a resource to someone else, then I am going to, every time.”

Burns was excited to be an advocate for female students who are heading into their future careers. As a manager of Media Strategy and Investment for Nestle Health Science, Burns finds joy in being able to help people become healthier, better versions of themselves.

“During my four years at Gardner-Webb University, both as a student and a female athlete, I received immense support and opportunities,” expressed Burns. “It is with great honor that I give back to the University and serve as a resource for the students, particularly female students. Being able to support and advocate for female students, while also demonstrating a commitment to promoting gender equality in male-dominated corporate America, is a powerful way to inspire other women and encourage them to drive positive change. Having a month dedicated to highlighting women’s contributions to society as a whole is a continued step towards that growth.”

Kirby-Turner serves in Superior Court for Cleveland and Lincoln counties. She reminded students to never let obstacles come between them and their dreams. “For most of history, women have been subject to the restrictions of the patriarchy, even being held as property,” she observed. “Women’s month is an opportunity to pay tribute to and honor women who have been trailblazers in our fight for equality. Never let anyone discourage you. Persevere!”

Writer Isabella Brown is a senior English major.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at


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