Women's Leadership Council newsletter


For more information on Conference speakers, please visit the Conference website!

Jill T. Furman ’90 Theatrical producer of Hamilton

Senator Maggie Hassan ’80, P’15 Senator from New Hampshire, United States Senate

Lynn Nottage ’86,
DFA’11 hon.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter

Perri A. Peltz ’82, P’19 Documentary filmmaker and public health advocate

Governor Gina M. Raimondo 75th Governor, and first female governor, of Rhode Island

Cecile Richards ’80
LHD’10 hon.
President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Diane von Furstenberg P’91, P’92 World-renowned fashion designer

Janet L. Yellen ’68
LLD’98 hon.
Chair of the Federal Reserve


View the Conference schedule for more information about our exciting panel offerings!

From Brown Women to Business Women: GPS or Random Walk? Moderated by Sarah Francois-Poncet ’80, P’10, Chief Legal Officer, Chanel

Women for a Change: Brown Women in Grant Making and Beyond Moderated by Dana Zucker ’90, P’21, Executive Director, The Gray Foundation

What’s New at Brown in Educational Innovation Moderated by Dean of the College Maud Mandel, Ph.D. ADE’06 hon.

Work and Life: How Working Women Manage Demands on Their Time in a 24/7 World Moderated by Pamela Lenehan ’74 AM’74, P’03, P’06, Board Director, Monotype, Civitas Solutions, American Superconductor

Social Enterprise: Brown Women Using Innovative and Entrepreneurial Approaches to Effect Social Change Moderated by Diana Wells ’88, President, Ashoka

Changing Faces and Facing Change: Diversifying Higher Education in America Moderated by Tanya Hernandez ’86, P’20, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law

Influence: Arts & Media Moderated by Lauren Zalaznick ’84, P’17, P’19, Media Consultant, The LZ Sunday Paper

The Value of Gender Diversity in STEM Fields Moderated by Sangeeta Bhatia, M.D. Ph.D. ’90, Director, Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, MIT

Write Through This: Authors in the New Normal Moderated by Lisa R. Birnbach ’78, P’20, Author, The Official Preppy Handbook

Ventures in Entrepreneurship Moderated by Marcia J. Hooper ’77, P’09, P’11, Venture Capitalist

Perfecting Your Pitch: Brown Student Entrepreneurship Showcase Moderated by Theresia Gouw ’90, Co-founder, Aspect Ventures

Celebrating Brown’s Female Athletes Moderator to be announced

Continue to check the Conference website for updates!


  • Tour: Explore the Brown Campus
  • Exhibit Tour: The Lamphere Case - The Sex Discrimination Lawsuit that Changed Brown
  • Tour: Brown’s Public Art
  • “Attend a Class” with Brown Faculty
  • The Brown Get Down! (Community Flashmob)
  • Community Service Project: Saving Mothers
  • A performance from singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter ’81 DMUS’96 hon.
  • Work it Out with ((305)) Fitness!


The WLC thanks members and volunteers for hosting
pre-Conference events!

April 25
Palo Alto, CA

WLC Regional event hosted by WLC members Holly Hagens ’93 and Libby Heimark ’76, P’11, P’14, P’17 with guest speaker and Founding Director of ICERM Jill Pipher.

April 6
New York, NY

Pre-Conference event hosted by WLC members Meredith Berkman ’86 and Amy Reiss ’85 with guest speaker and WLC member Dr. Tara Shirazian ’99 MD’03.

March 23
Irvine, CA

Pre-Conference event hosted by WLC member Andra Greene Ellingson ’78.

March 12
Scottsdale, AZ

Pre-Conference event hosted by friend of the WLC Kathe Anderson ’72.

March 7
Los Angeles, CA

WLC Regional event hosted by WLC members Natalie Edmonds ’86, P’15 and Donna McGraw Weiss ’89 with friends of the WLC Sarah Bremner ’07, Tamara Horwich, M.D. ’94, and Niija Kuykendall ’01.

March 2
Chicago, IL

Pre-Conference event hosted by WLC and Steering Committee member Sara Dioguardi ’83, P’20.

February 23
New York, NY

Pre-Conference event hosted by friend of the WLC Irene Buchman ’67 with guest speaker Kate Ascher ’80.

February 19
Brooklyn, NY

Pre-Conference event hosted by friend of the WLC Lynne Sachs ’83.

February 8
New York, NY

Pre-Conference event hosted by WLC and Steering Committee member Dana Zucker ’90, P’21 with co-host and speaker Sharon Fay ’82.

January 31
Washington, DC

Pre-Conference event hosted by WLC members Swathi Bojedla ’07, Shelley Fidler ’68, P’09, and Aleta Margolis ’89, P’20 with friends of the WLC Parinaz Ziai Bahadori ’86 and Gabriela Duran ’06, featuring guest speakers Elissa Silverman ’95 and Karen Dunn ’97.

January 10
Wellesley, MA

Pre-Conference event hosted by WLC members Marcia Walley Blenko ’83 and (Steering Committee member) Pamela Farrell Lenehan ’74 AM’74, P’03, P’06 with guest speaker and panelist Marcia J. Hooper ’77, P’09, P’11.

October 13
New York, NY

Pre-Conference event hosted by WLC and Steering Committee member Adina Young ’82, P’20 with guest speaker and University architect Collette Creppell.

October 13
San Francisco, CA

WLC Regional event hosted by WLC members Holly Hagens ’93, Adrienne Morphy Ladd ’79, and Mandy Tachiki ’95, and friend of the WLC Maryam Mohit ’89 with guest speaker Dr. Nancy L. Cohen ’85.

Join the WLC on



Meet the Conference Leadership

Planning for the Conference started nearly two years ago. Members of the Women’s Leadership Council came together to form the 125 Years of Women at Brown Steering Committee and have worked diligently to create what is sure to be a historic celebration in honor of Brown’s alumnae. At the helm of the Steering Committee are co-chairs Marcia Dunn, M.D. ’82 and Nancy Fuld Neff ’76, P’06, P’14.

Marcia Dunn, M.D. '82 When Marcia Dunn, M.D. ’82 was a student at Brown, the majority of her professors were male. As a semiotics concentrator and pre-med student, Dr. Dunn sought mentors to guide her experience at Brown, from advisors to fellow students to her mother. Since graduating, Dr. Dunn has recognized a strong advocacy of women through President Christina Paxson’s leadership, whom she credits as the “quintessential leader.” The University, she believes, continues to encourage women to excel in all aspects in life. Dr. Dunn has given back to Brown in several ways. As an active University volunteer, Dr. Dunn is a member of the Women’s Leadership Council, the President’s Advisory Council on Internships, and the Women’s Launch Pad mentoring program, a community she views as unique, special, and unparalleled. Dr. Dunn hopes that the Conference is a celebration of past and present women at Brown, one that is equal parts unforgettable and inspiring. “I hope the Conference will motivate women to be leaders,” she says. “I know the Conference will inspire conversation, interaction, and lead to a more connected community of Brown women.”

Nancy Fuld Neff '76, P'06, P'14

Similarly, when asked to reflect on her time as a student at Brown, Nancy Fuld Neff ’76, P’06, P’14 could not remember having one single female professor. While she found acceptance and encouragement from then-Director of Women’s Athletics Arlene Gordon, Ms. Neff still wishes she’d had a true female mentor at Brown, one who could have helped guide her post-collegiate plans. Since departing the Van Wickle Gates, Ms. Neff has remained active in many parts of University life, and has had the pleasure of working with both President Ruth Simmons and President Christina Paxson. She served as a member of Brown’s Corporation from 2008–2016, was a Co-Chair of the WLC, as well as a Co-Chair of the Brown Annual Fund, and on the Sports Foundation. Ms. Neff is also a member of the Brown Hall of Fame for Tennis. In addition to co-chairing the 125 Years of Women at Brown Conference and being a member of the WLC, Ms. Neff also co-chairs the President’s Advisory Council on the College and is a member of the University’s Advisory Council on Athletics. “The WLC would not exist without President Simmons,” Ms. Neff says, “and the Council continues to thrive today because of the enormous support we receive from President Paxson.” It was five years ago that the Women’s Leadership Council welcomed President Paxson to the community at the 120 Years of Women at Brown Conference. Now, at the 125 Years of Women at Brown Conference, Ms. Neff encourages members of the community to reconnect with Brown and to further engage with the University.

Dr. Dunn and Ms. Neff hope “that the community will build on its momentum and continue the conversations.” Ultimately, though, the goal is to instill a certain pride in Brown’s alumnae for all of the amazing achievements they have accomplished, and for all those yet to be discovered.


Celebrating 10 Years of Mentoring

Mentor Group Join the WLC’s Women’s Launch Pad (WLP) mentoring program on Saturday, May 6 for a 10th anniversary celebration of the program. Current and former mentors and mentees will gather to recognize the impact of mentoring on Brown alumnae. The WLP has grown from 33 mentee-mentor pairs to 185 pairs since its inception in 2007, serving nearly 1,200 mentees in the last 10 years. The celebration will take place at the Closing Reception of the Conference, and will feature President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards ’80 LHD’10 hon. The Women’s Leadership Council thanks all mentors and mentees for their contribution to the alumnae community and for making the WLP a sustainable, successful organization!

Community Service Project: Saving Mothers

Saving Mothers Logo Women in developing nations are 43 times more likely to die during childbirth. 90% of women living in these environments give birth outside of a hospital, and 30% of this group deliver without the assistance of a health care professional. A tragic 343,000 newborns are left without a mother because of the complications women face during childbirth in unsanitary conditions. The Women’s Leadership Council and Women’s Launch Pad are honored to partner with Saving Mothers for a community service project on Friday, May 5. Founded by WLC Council member and WLP mentor Dr. Tara Shirazian ’99 MD’03, Saving Mothers is an organization dedicated to eradicating maternal deaths and birth-related complications in the developing world. Conference attendees, including current mentors and mentees, will assemble Safe Birth Kits, which will also include notes from participants written in Swahili, and baby hats knitted by women in the Brown community. The assembled kits will be immediately shipped to Kenya just in time for Mother’s Day, and will help ensure a safe delivery for mother and baby. The Women’s Leadership Council thanks its Mentoring Committee and the 125 Years of Women at Brown Conference Experiential Subcommittee for organizing and coordinating this service project, which is certain to be a significant highlight of the Conference!


Women Together: Alumnae Challenge

125 Years of Women at Brown Conference LogoIn celebration of 125 Years of Women at Brown, the Women’s Leadership Council has created a $1.25 million participation challenge exclusively for Brown alumnae!

When 7,125 alumnae donate to Brown through the Annual Fund by May 1, the WLC will contribute an additional $1.25 million to support current students and faculty on College Hill.

This challenge promises to leave a lasting impact on Brown. Make your contribution today and enhance the Brown experience for deserving students and faculty. We especially hope that mentors and mentees from the Women’s Launch Pad will make gifts in honor of each other in celebration of the WLP’s tenth anniversary.

The Women’s Leadership Council is depending on women in the Brown community to encourage fellow alumnae to join them in supporting this challenge.


The Women’s Leadership Council and 125 Years of Women at Brown Steering Committee thank our Honorary Chairs for their outstanding contributions to the Brown alumnae community.

Theresia Gouw '90 Theresia Gouw ’90 is a member of the Corporation. An entrepreneur and venture capital investor, Ms. Gouw will be moderating Perfecting Your Pitch: Brown Student Entrepreneurship Showcase.

Susan Adler Kaplan '58 Susan Adler Kaplan ’58 MAT’65 is a Trustee Emerita and former Chair of the Corporation Emeriti Executive Committee. She has served as Chair of the Corporation Emeriti Executive Committee for eight years, and chaired 100 Years of Women at Brown in 1991–1992.

Javette Pinkney Laremont '80 Javette Pinkney Laremont ’80 is a member of the Corporation Emeriti Executive Committee and Chair of the Advisory Council on Diversity. Ms. Laremont was the first woman to serve as President of the Alumni Association.

Joan Wernig Sorensen '72, P'06, P'06 Joan Wernig Sorensen ’72, P’06, P’06 is a member of the Corporation and former national co-chair of the Brown Annual Fund. She is currently national co-chair of BrownTogether and was formerly vice-chair of Boldly Brown.

Mary E. Vascellaro '74, P'07 Mary E. Vascellaro ’74, P’07 is a former Chair of the Pembroke Center Associates Council and is a former Women’s Leadership Council member. Ms. Vascellaro also served as chair of 120 Years of Women at Brown in 2012.

Register today for the 125 Years of Women at Brown Conference on May 5 – 6 in Providence. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus!

Are you on social media?
Use the tag #BROWNWOMENTOGETHER during the Conference!

Back on Campus

Campus in the Spring

Maddock Alumni Center will serve as our Conference headquarters during the 125 Years of Women at Brown Conference. We look forward to welcoming you there!

WLC Mission Statement

The Women’s Leadership Council consists of a group of Brown women appointed by the President of the University who, through their leadership, philanthropy, and volunteerism, work toward enhancing Brown by inspiring and engaging the alumnae community as active participants in the life of the University. The Council accomplishes this by demonstrating and encouraging a commitment to philanthropic and volunteer leadership at Brown; providing opportunities to connect Brown alumnae with students as mentors, role models, and advisors; and organizing events, activities, and initiatives that engage Brown alumnae with each other and with the intellectual excitement of the Brown community.