Women of their Word

October 24, 2019  | 3 min read

Among the thousands of faculty, staff, and students across Pepperdine’s five schools, women leaders—including several of the University’s key decision-makers, renowned scholars in a vast array of disciplines, and aspiring trailblazers—serve as mentors who demonstrate the University’s mission in their daily lives.

Among the thousands of faculty, staff, and students across Pepperdine’s five schools, women leaders—including several of the University’s key decision-makers, renowned scholars in a vast array of disciplines, and aspiring trailblazers—serve as mentors who demonstrate the University’s mission in their daily lives.


Janet Kerr - Pepperdine Magazine“The secret to my leadership success is being able to inspire others. At the end of the day, it’s not about me.”

Janet Kerr (’75, JD ’78)
Vice Chancellor and Professor Emerita


Stella Erbes - Pepperdine Magazine“My professional and spiritual mentors have had the biggest impact on my leadership over the years. They have inspired me to grow and to lead, and they have sustained me through prayer and encouraging words. Because of their examples, I press on so that I can be a similar role model for the next generation of women leaders.”

Stella Erbes (’91)
Divisional Dean, Humanities and Teacher Education Division, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Seaver College


Meredith McCune - Pepperdine Magazine“As I work with the rest of the SGA executive board, the secrets to my leadership success are time management, cooperation, communication, patience, and understanding. Working as a team is always the best way to achieve things, especially with multiple people working toward a common goal. My leadership success is attributed to remembering that I have a team behind me that supports me and shares a common goal with me.”

Meredith McCune 
President, Student Government Association, Seaver College


Ashley Jones - Pepperdine Magazine“Because we live in a male-dominated society, and because men are more likely to be given leadership roles, there is so much untapped potential being passed over. As more women and people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds—like first- generation college students and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, different religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and rural areas of the nation—start to become leaders, we will see more economic and thought growth within our organizations and businesses.”

Ashley Jones
President, Black Law Students Association, School of Law


Sheryl Covey - Pepperdine Magazine“We can be our own worst critics: stepping back and letting others take the lead, unnecessarily apologizing to move an agenda along, and not speaking up when we see injustice for fear of being labeled difficult or bossy. We must remind ourselves that we not only have a right to sit at the table, but we also have a right to sit at the head of the table.”

Sheryl Covey
Assistant Dean for Administration, School of Public Policy


Karina Herold - Pepperdine Magazine“Beyond the critical importance of diverse perspectives in the holistic decision-making process, the most important reason to place women—or any underrepresented population— in leadership positions is to model the way for those who come after us. Seeing is believing, and representation matters.

Karina Herold
Deputy Director of Athletics, Pepperdine Athletics


Nicolle Taylor - Pepperdine Magazine“I walked into my first board meeting with a company president at 19 years old. I was the youngest in the room by probably 20 years and perhaps the only woman in the building, let alone the room. The board members looked at me dismissively. I probably didn’t know much in those first days, but I knew I hated that feeling. I remember thinking, ‘No matter how hard I have to work, I am going to make sure you just wildly underestimated the contribution I can make to this organization.’ To this day, I would rather do almost anything than walk into a presentation unprepared. My path forward has been laid by the generous hands of many, supported by even more, and shaped with a good bit of luck. But at every turn, hard work and preparation have carried the day.”

Nicolle Taylor (’98, JD ’02)
Vice President and Chief Business Officer