Suzanne Dickerson accepts inaugural Women in Leadership Award from Dean Bobby McCormick.

Suzanne Dickerson accepts inaugural Women in Leadership Award from Dean Bobby McCormick.

CLEMSON – Clemson’s College of Business and Behavioral Science honored Suzanne Dickerson with its inaugural Women in Leadership Award during a special dinner that kicked off the Women in Leadership Week celebration in observance of International Women’s Day March 8.

This year’s theme, “Make It Happen,” encourages effective action for advancing and recognizing women. The Women in Leadership Award was created to honor someone who has contributed to the advancement of women — either in the workplace or in society. The award is designated specifically for an employee or alumnus of Clemson University, male or female.

As the director for international business development and marketing at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Dickerson was instrumental in securing a $560,000 endowment to Clemson from the Bosch Community Fund to provide scholarships for young women and under-represented populations in the automotive engineering program. In addition, she founded an annual event held at CU-ICAR called Girls Auto Know that invites up to 300 middle school girls to learn more about STEM paths and careers in the automotive industry.

Dean's Leadership Speaker Rita Bolt Barker with Dean Bobby McCormick.

Dean’s Leadership Speaker Rita Bolt Barker with Dean Bobby McCormick.

Dickerson is a founding board member of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum and serves as vice president of alliances. This multi-state organization provides professional development opportunities for current and upcoming women in executive positions in the automotive industry, as well as scholarships for young women pursuing STEM and automotive careers. She is also a board member of the South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance, the South Carolina Automotive Council and the Greenville Professional Women’s Forum. Dickerson has a total of 19 years in the automotive industry, and holds both a Bachelor of Science in International Business and an Master of Arts in West European Studies from Indiana University.

Cheryl Holland, president and founder of Abacus Planning Group Inc., was the keynote speaker. Holland consistently appears on top adviser lists, such as Worth, Barron’s, Medical Economics and Wealth Manager. In 2013, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors recognized her as one of the “30 Most Influential People” in its 30-year history.

Additional Women in Leadership Week activities included Dean’s Leadership Speaker Series guest Rita Bolt Barker presenting “Finding Life’s Most Valuable Lessons in a Landfill.” A graduate of Clemson University and Harvard Law School, Barker is a member of Wyche PA, a commercial law firm where she works primarily in the area of environmental law advising clients on matters arising under federal and state environmental laws.

A donation drive was held to collect necessities for women in need and donated to The Family Effect, an Upstate nonprofit organization. A representative from The Family Effect was on hand to talk with students, faculty and staff about the organization and volunteer opportunities.

Photos from each event, can be viewed here: