New symposium to explore leadership across private, public and nonprofit sectors

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A flag with College of Professional Advancement is printed in while letters on black background with blue strips on either side.

Two community leaders will discuss their personal leadership journeys at Mercer University’s first Leader to Leader Symposium.

Attorney Ceasar C. Mitchell Jr., past president of the Atlanta City Council and partner at Dentons US LLP, and Dierdre “Dee” Dixon, CEO of the American Red Cross of Georgia, will talk about leading during a transition period, responding to COVID-19 and dealing with day-to-day leadership responsibilities.

The symposium, scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 16 on Zoom, is hosted by the College of Professional Advancement and the Department of Leadership Studies. Faculty members will introduce the speakers and lead the discussion. The event is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Mitchell and Dixon were chosen as speakers because of their ability to lead across the business, nonprofit and government sectors, said Dr. John Carroll, associate professor of organizational development and leadership.

“We thought to get that mix of folks that have private sector, public and nonprofit, bring them in to the mix and then have them talk about not only how they tie those things together but how they transition between roles, and on top of that you’re dealing with COVID, and on top of that, you’ve still got to run your operations day-to-day,” he said. “How does a leader pull those things together in realistic terms?”

Mitchell is a member of the public policy team at Dentons and heads the firm’s interdisciplinary local government solutions practice, which bridges the public and private sectors, according to his biography on the Dentons website. He served as president of Atlanta City Council from 2010-2018 and has been recognized for his work by several publications, including the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Georgia Trend and Atlanta Magazine.

Dixon was named CEO of the American Red Cross of Georgia in June, after serving three years as its chief development officer. As chief development officer, she oversaw a fundraising team that raised over $81 million for the Red Cross mission and supported local and national relief operations for disasters, according to an American Red Cross news release. In her new role, she looks forward to developing new partnerships for the American Red Cross of Georgia, one of the busiest Red Cross regions in the country.

Dr. Carroll said he hopes participants come away with understanding that leadership is complex and layered.

“There’s not one way to do it,” he said.

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Jennifer Falk is the director of digital communications at Mercer University and editor-in-chief of The Den. She creates and supervises the development of written and multimedia content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters, including The Den and This Week @ Mercer. In addition, she collaborates with schools and offices to maintain web content and examines data and analytics to drive content creation decisions. She also serves as a member of the University's social media committee.