DeRetta Cole Rhodes helps women get to the C-Suite
This post was contributed by Bridgette Burton (ABJ ’11, AB ’11), marketing and communications chair for the Black Alumni Leadership Council.
DeRetta Cole Rhodes (BS ’92, PHD ’10), who is past president of the College of Family & Consumer Sciences Alumni Association, delivered a talk at the TEDxUGA event on March 22. Rhodes, who is the chief human resource officer for YMCA of Metro Atlanta, gave a talk titled “From Survive to Thrive: Women of Color in Corporate Leadership.” Prior to joining the YMCA, she held leadership positions at FirstData, Turner Broadcasting, Ernst & Young and ADP.
Rhodes spoke about her experience navigating the corporate ranks as a woman of color. Only 4 percent of C-Suite positions are held by women of color, and Rhodes has dedicated her work to increasing that number. In her TEDx Talk, which is linked below, she talks about giving a voice to underrepresented groups, the importance of mentorship and fighting for equity–from earning her Ph.D. to rising to her current position.
We caught up with Rhodes and asked her a few questions about her favorite things about the University of Georgia.
What made you decide to come to school at the University of Georgia?
I was excited about UGA and the opportunities. UGA was my first choice.
What was your favorite class at Georgia?
Business Law taught by President Morehead
How did you get involved with the Alumni Association?
I have always wanted to be connected to UGA, even after graduation and the best way for me to stay connected was to be a part of the Alumni Association.
Describe Athens in three words.
Quaint, fun, great restaurants (perfect for a foodie)
Describe UGA in three words.
Inspiring, Insightful, education – continuous learning
What was your most memorable college experience?
The friendship and relationships that I made while I was there
What do you know for sure?
I know for sure I don’t know everything.
What will you never understand?
So many things I am still trying to understand, hence the importance of education and what you continue to gain from UGA – continuous learning.
What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?
Don’t quit and persevere.