WWU president selected as ‘Gutsy Gal’

83327e8d1d7a8762be7fa2d1834f55b7_f168First publicly acclaimed as a gutsy gal by William Shatner when she opened the American Royal in 1993, the president of William Woods University now has been recognized officially as a “Gutsy Gal.”

Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett has been acknowledged by Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® as a strong female role model.

Barnett is in her 25th year as president of William Woods, an institution to which she has devoted most of her life, having previously spent 17 years in the roles of professor, department chair and vice president.

Under her leadership, the school has evolved from a small, single-campus, rural women’s college with about 500 students into a statewide, co-ed university with four permanent sites serving more than 3,000 students, including many from other countries.

While other awards recognize primarily financial achievements of women in business, the Gutsy Gal Award measures courage, risk-taking, persistence in the face

Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett
Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett

of obstacles, strong personal character—in short: Gutsy-ness.

Deborah Hutchison, founder and president of Gutsy Gals Inspire Me ®, knows about Barnett’s accomplishments first-hand. A 1974 William Woods graduate, she has served on the WWU Board of Trustees since 1997 and currently is a member-at-large of the executive committee.

She explained that since its inception, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® has honored strong female role models with the goal of inspiring women and girls, in ways large or small, to work toward their dreams.

“The Gutsy Gal Award honors women of courage and vision,” said Hutchison. “Authentic women who have taken risks, understanding the odds, undaunted by challenge and setback. Women who are determined and passionate — who know how to laugh. They are Gutsy and they inspire us!”

Gutsy Gals Inspire MeHutchison herself is a self-proclaimed risk taker and problem solver. She is a published author, award-winning filmmaker, speaker and out-of-the-box thinker. Starting not one, but two businesses during the financial crisis of the late 2000s, she continues to fulfill her life’s journey driven by inspiration, commitment and the tenacity to succeed in empowering others.

Today she directs her attention to Gutsy Gals Inspire Me ®, a company she founded that focuses on recognizing positive female role models. Since 2008, Gutsy Gals has been giving out the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me awards to forward-thinking women in education, charitable work, film and entertainment and business who challenge the status quo.