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Women's History Month

Profiles in Leadership

vanessa brooks

Vanessa Brooks Herd, Ed.D.

Associate Professor of Social Work


1. What is your name and profession?

Vanessa Brooks Herd, Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Social Work

2. What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Recognition of women and how women have contributed to the making of the world. Their contributions to science, politics, art, and music are outstanding and the foundation of greatness.

3. As a woman, in what ways have you struggled to get to where you are today and how did you overcome those struggles?

Life balance is an inherent struggle. Holding multiple life roles and striving for success in all areas has stress front loaded but creates stiletto focus.

4. What advice do you have for young women who are aspiring to follow their dreams?

Be strong, be confident, stand tall. Listen to your intuition and honor your values.

5. As a woman in your position, how have you fought for equity in the workplace and for other women?

I believe as a woman, I should not make myself small so that men in the workplace can be big.  I come well prepared for the job, maintain a standard of excellence, attend to detail, engage in self-reflection, and work well with others.

6. Who was your role model and how did they change your life?

I grew up with my mom and her five sisters. Each in her own way revealed life lessons and I benefited from them all.  Only one woman in that siblingship remains, my aunt who is 95 years old. She is healthy, eats an almost vegetarian diet, spends hours studying the Bible, walks in her cul de sac three times a week, and fills her days with laughter and joy.

7. If you could have dinner with any woman figure dead or alive who would you choose and why?  

Zora Neale Hurston, writer, anthropologist, and civil right activists was an intriguing story teller with much life experience.  I believe her training as an anthropologist enriched her view of life and her relationship with the folk she encountered.

8. What is your hope for the next generation of women and girls?

I expect women to assume their privilege place in government, academe, the arts, and science.