Sister Circle: A Safe Space to Chat n Chill
Sometimes you just need to be around black women. The story that black women don’t support each other is a myth. The story that we are infinitely strong and resilient is also a lie. Sometimes, you need to lay aside the strength and let go of the resilience and just take a pause. Take off the mask. Take off the armor. And just have a little banana pudding and peach cobbler. And a few adult beverages. And talk about the stuff that just makes you crazy without having to explain the backstory.
About the Guests:
Born in Germany to an Army officer and elementary school teacher, Catherine joined the Rice University community in 1981 after receiving her Bachelor of Arts from St. Edward’s University in Austin. She began her career at Rice as an Assistant Director of Admission and recruited students from across the nation in that capacity for 5 years before becoming to become the Associate Director of Admission. In 1988, a gift from the ARCO Foundation made it possible for Rice to establish an Office of Minority Affairs, and Catherine was hired as its inaugural Director. In 1993, she earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Houston, Clear Lake, while still serving as Director of what is now known as the Office of Multicultural Affairs. She currently serves as Associate Dean of Undergraduates with
supervisory responsibility for the Offices of Student Success Initiatives & First Year Programs, Student Publications and University Bands, all while still serving as Director of Multicultural Affairs, where she works tirelessly to improve the Universities efforts at diversity, equity, and inclusion for historically underrepresented communities. Her students call her “Lady Catherine” or “Lady C.”
Dorothy is a High-Energy Executive Leader with multi-faceted and diverse background working with small-to-large companies, budgets, and teams. Proven business and analytical acumen for outperforming goals by establishing standards of operational excellence while applying sound judgment for strong decision making and accountability management. Accomplished in identifying untapped business opportunities, leading transformative change, and monetizing breakthrough insights. She is a recipient of ‘The Women of Visionary Influence’ Mentor of the Year, ‘Grand Ogilvy’ Outstanding Ad Research, ‘Silver Reggie’ Lay’s Playmaker/Subway Combo Challenge, ‘Silver Effie’ Ad Effectiveness, Cheetos, and the ‘PepsiCo Chairman’s Award.” Dorothy holds a BS in Finance from The American University in Washington, D.C., and an MBA from Haslam College of Business at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Lanier Robertson is a Human Resources Executive with 20+ years of people leadership experience in the chemicals industry. Since joining SABIC in 2019 as the Human Resources Leader of the Americas Region, her responsibilities have most recently grown to include global leadership of Future of Work and New Norm! Lanier is also proud to list among her accomplishments having survived 2 Pittsburgh, PA winters prior to joining SABIC. It was there she served as Vice President of Human Resources at Covestro, LLC where she was primarily responsible for the successful development and integration of the North American regional Human Resources function to support the success of the employees and the business following the carve-out from Bayer. She is regarded as a trusted advisor, business partner, coach and mentor to emerging HR professionals and executives across the globe. A true “Texan” born and raised, Lanier holds a BBA with honors, from Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas. The people function is her career passion, she is especially zealous about all things
The public outcry after the murder of George Floyd was a pivotal moment in history. In Houston, where Floyd was raised, the spotlight on culture also served as an opportunity for a new voice to emerge. JoySewing, a longtime Houston Chronicle lifestyle writer, became the paper’s first culture columnist, writing personal stories that reflect the mood and character of one the nation’s most ethnically diverse cities. The Houston native has earned her first Pulitzer Prize nomination for commentary for her heartfelt columns. The Houston native is the author of “Ava and the Prince: The Adventures of Two Rescue Pups,” a picture book about her own rescue boxer dogs. She is also the founder of Year of Joy, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, to spread joy to children from underserved communities Her Year of Joy Figure Skating Scholar program was launched in 2021 and provides free ice skating lessons to children. A former competitive ice skater, Joy became Houston’s first African American figure skating coach while in college. Joy is also an adjunct journalism professor at University of Houston and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
VeroniQue was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and traveled extensively with her family and a Father that served in the Air Force. She ultimately found her roots in Houston, TX and went on to dance professionally for the Houston Oilers as a Derrick Doll (5-Years) and the Houston Rockets as a Power Dancer (8-Years)~ VeroniQue held the Title of Miss Black Houston and Miss Southeast Texas and continues to work with contestants within the Miss America local pageant system. VeroniQue has worked in Commercial Real Estate for 11 years and has now taken the leap to start her own Real Estate business, VJS Holdings, LLC. With her experience and certification, VeroniQue is able to offer her clients both Commercial and Residential Real Estate services and expertise. Adding to that unique combination is her experience as a project manager enabling her to take her client from land purchase, through build, to sale. As she says, “You dream it. I bring it!”
Cheryl Vienna is an actress, model, and business executive Act I -An Executive leader in the Aerospace industry for Rolls Royce, Lockeed Martin Aeronautics and Pratt and Whitney (in Singapore) Act II – Sought after Commercial Actress, print model, Jazz saxophone player, and 12 year breast cancer survivor. Recent National commercials include Paychex and Floor and Decor. She also is the executive producer of an award-winning documentary Sunshine, Noodles and Me, which was filmed in Malaysia and Singapore as well as domestically.
About the Host:
Laurel Rutledge’s human-centered approach, empathy, and understanding of individual needs make her a top-notch personal advisor and women’s leadership coach.
Her care and compassion have made her an indispensable guide for countless women navigating the next phases of their lives and careers. Add to that her intimate knowledge of the HR landscape, and it becomes clear why her HR clients have had such transformative experiences. Just as Rutledge has helped countless others get out of their rut and off of the ledge, so too can she help you.
After receiving her MBA, Laurel moved from accounting and consulting to human resources, driven by a desire to do good in a business environment. It quickly became apparent that the switch had been a good choice — she flourished professionally and became happier, satisfied with the difference she could make through her work.
After a 30-year career, she left the corporate world, but her passion for HR and helping others has only grown. Now, she works one-on-one with clients, leveraging her experience in leadership and personal development to help them get the most of out their lives and careers.
From her beginnings as a consultant at Deloitte to her time as VP of HR at Covestro, Laurel has seen more sides of the business world than most. She’s achieved technical mastery of HR, with a deep knowledge of the rules and regulations that must be followed.
She’s also a people person, perceptive and outgoing, with a sixth sense for helping others to see the difference between what they want and what they need. The culmination of this is in her personal philosophy: “lead with your heart, act with your head.”
Find out more at: https://laurelrutledge.com
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