Business dean enjoys helping students find their passions | Women Who Lead

Woman stands in front of building
Dr. Julie Petherbridge

This Women’s History Month, The Den is celebrating some of Mercer University‘s top leaders — our female deans. Eight of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges are led by women, and we are highlighting each of these deans on separate days throughout March. Today, we spotlight Dr. Julie Petherbridge, dean of the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business.

Dr. Julie Petherbridge

How long have you worked at Mercer?
I have worked at Mercer for 15 years.

What was your career path to become dean?
I started working as a Certified Public Accountant in 1993 and did that full time until 2001 when I decided to transition to academia while continuing to practice. I earned a Master of Professional Accountancy in 2002 and then a Ph.D. in Accounting in 2010, both from Georgia State University.

I came to Mercer in 2007, first working as a visiting assistant professor of accounting. In 2008, I became director of the Master of Accountancy program. Prior to my appointment as dean in 2021, I served as the School’s interim dean and associate dean of graduate programs.

What do you enjoy most about being dean?
I enjoy working directly with faculty and staff on an everyday basis to improve and grow our programs. I also love helping our students find their passions. I like when students stop by my office, and I have the chance to work with them on their job prospects, many times matching them with one of our School’s alumni. Our alumni love Mercer, so it has been very rewarding building relationships with many of them.

What in your academic field are you most passionate about?
This is easy because I try to convince every student to go into the field of accounting — you can just ask many of them! I have fully enjoyed my career as a public accountant because you can directly impact people in so many ways. I focused on nonprofit organizations and companies from when they start up to when they go public, which allows you to truly work together. Being a public accountant was also very flexible as I raised my children, allowing me to attend all their school parties and events but still have a professional career.

What advice would you give to future women leaders?
Do not limit yourself. Let others know what positions you aspire to in your career. Continue to be a lifelong learner by always seeking learning opportunities through workshops, books or programs and surround yourself with others to guide you to the next promotion or opportunity.


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