After a speech that had the audience laughing, clapping and yelling out their dream jobs, Judge Glenda Hatchett, the first African-American chief presiding judge of a Georgia state court, left the audience at the University of North Georgia with a challenge on Wednesday.
"Before the end of the week, I want you to find a quiet place and I want you to really think about the answer to this question: What is it that you've always wanted to do – that one thing that's been super important to you?" Hatchett said. "And the second part to this – and here's where it gets tough – is why haven't you done it? And I want you to be honest."
Perhaps best-known nationally as Judge Hatchett from her Emmy-nominated reality court show by the same name, Hatchett served many years as a lawyer and judge. She also has penned two national best-selling novels, "Dare To Take Charge" and "Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say." Hatchett currently is working with Million Women Mentors, a national initiative seeking volunteers to encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Hatchett's visit was sponsored by the university's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and UNG Nighthawks Entertainment. Held in Hoag Auditorium on the Dahlonega Campus, the speech was telecast live to all UNG campuses.
Speaking candidly and vowing to "keep it real," Hatchett shared her personal story and the challenges she faced during her life and career, including remaining motivated while attending Emory University School of Law and working full time. After finishing law school as an Earl Warren Scholar, Hatchett was a clerk for Judge Horace Ward, joining colleagues, friends and family in watching as he took the oath as the first African-American federal judge in Georgia.
Hatchett then spent 10 years working in litigation and marketing for Delta Airlines, and was the company's highest-ranking African-American woman, earning recognition from Ebony Magazine as one of the "100 Best and Brightest Women in Corporate America." When asked in 1990 to lead Georgia's Juvenile Court division, she initially was uninterested, but saw it as an opportunity to help young people and be a leader.
Hatchett shared her tips for effective leadership, what she called Glenda's Three Golden Rules: Be authentic, make people believe in you and be a leader.
"You can't lead where you aren't willing to go. True leaders don't point, they lead by example," she said. "And true leaders are really servant leaders. You've got to be willing to serve. You've got to be willing to invest. You've got to be willing to put an anchor in the ground if you're going to be a successful leader."
Robert Robinson, director of multicultural student affairs, ended the program by reinforcing Hatchett's message.
"The story today was reflective of overcoming issues of race and gender, but it's also about how each of us has something inside of us that can overcome any obstacle," he said. "When we learn from each other how to overcome things, we become a greater society and a better nation."
After the speech, Hatchett attended a reception to meet leaders of various UNG student organizations.
Hatchett has been recognized as an Emory Law Outstanding Alumna, NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award winner, Emory Medal Award winner, Mount Holyoke Distinguished Alumna, and Roscoe Pound Award winner. Her show also won a Prism Award for Best Unscripted Non-Fiction Series of Special for Television.
Upcoming Women's History Month events include:
- March 26: UNG's Oconee Campus wraps up a speaker series with "The Marriage Merry-Go-Round: Marriage and Court Politics in Early Modern England." Beginning at noon, UNG professor Johanna Luthman will discuss the story of a very contentious marriage of a young English noblewoman in the 1610s, involving kidnappings, fraud, and royal commands.
- March 26: The Women's History Month Committee and the Office of Multicultural Services will honor Dr. Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, associate dean of students and special assistant to the president on diversity at Agnes Scott College, as an outstanding female leader. Sanders-McMurtry will speak at the Women's History Month Breakfast, planned for 9 a.m. on the Gainesville Campus, Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building, Room 3110AB.
- March 27: The film "Miss Representation" will be shown 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Nesbitt Room 3110AB. Food served.