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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

About Us

"All of our women are eager to learn in order to lead. That's why they came to Pepperdine."

Dr. Bernice Ledbetter

Director of the Center for Women in Leadership

External trends point to a need for more women in the workforce in positions of influence. The Pepperdine Graziadio Center for Women in Leadership has been established to educate and empower the women of our community through mentoring, skills development, research, and our contribution to an ongoing dialogue.

We continually develop programs that serve all of the women of Pepperdine—our students, our staff, and our faculty. As such, we are one of the few comprehensive centers that exists solely to serve women.

Our Mission

The mission of the Pepperdine Graziadio Center for Women in Leadership is to position Pepperdine as a university of choice for women students, staff, and faculty, while also continually engaging with our alumni and other external stakeholders. The Center for Women in Leadership will help Pepperdine women achieve this by educating and empowering them through key initiatives; mentoring programs, skills development, research studies, and an on-going dialogue. The foundation of the center is rooted in collaboration as these initiatives are carried out in partnership with career services, alumni relations, human resources, as well as external organizations to prepare women to succeed in their careers, helping them to feel competent, confident, and ready to lead.

Women in Leadership: A Pepperdine Story

Carmen Landra and First Pepperdine Graduates

Pepperdine has a long history of welcoming women, starting when we opened our doors with our very first graduating class of 1938, which included a woman—Carmen Landrum—in a cohort of four.

Supporting women is not only part of our history, it is integral to our values and our university mission to prepare all students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Today, at Seaver College, women comprise 60% of the student body, and we have over 4,300 women students across all five schools at Pepperdine University. In acknowledgment of and inspired by this robust population of bright and ambitious women, Bernice Ledbetter asked herself, "Are we doing enough?"

Dr. Ledbetter is a faculty member at the Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School. A significant part of her impetus to establish the Center for Women in Leadership is her students, many of whom come to Pepperdine from places like China, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and South America. So the center also seeks to address the types of questions that expand a broader conversation:

female student at Pepperdine University

  • How can we build leaders in our international women students who face unique challenges back home?
  • What research initiatives can we further among our female faculty?
  • How do we close the "confidence gap" and elevate the profile of women in the workplace and around the world?

The Center for Women in Leadership aims to unite and expand our community of women thought leaders through engagement, development, and participation in an important dialogue.

As Dr. Ledbetter says: "Now is the time. Tomorrow is too late."

Read a message from Dr. Bernice Ledbetter