Andrea Terzi Baum '83, P'15, P'18
This interview is dated 11/21/2014.
Women's Leadership Council member Andrea Terzi Baum '83, P'15, P'18 embodies the Council's initiatives as a leader, mentor, and philanthropist. She is a current Trustee, member of the WLC Mentoring Committee, Co-Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on Internships, and former Co-Chair of the Brown Annual Fund. The WLC would like to thank Baum for sharing with us the impact Brown has had on her life.
This year marks the 250th Anniversary of Brown. What Brown hallmark moments or traditions have been significant in your life?
Brown has played a significant role in my life, and there are many moments of tradition that stand out for me. I distinctly remember walking out through the Van Wickle Gates for the first time during my Commencement. The procession was incredible as we marched down the hill to the beat of the Brown band and cheered together as a senior class as we passed, not once, but twice, the Corporation, faculty, staff, and those who had graduated before us, as they all applauded for our class of new graduates.
I have always looked forward to coming back to Brown for my reunions and reconnecting with those from the Class of 1983. I have attended all of my reunions, except for one when I was too pregnant to travel. Although the weather has been less than ideal for many, the time spent with fellow Brown classmates has been memorable.
I had the privilege of serving as a Class Marshall for my 25th Reunion. I was so excited to once again participate in the Brown Commencement procession, this time dressed in the traditional Brown regalia with a top hat and tails. Since joining the Corporation in 2010, I have participated in Reunion weekend each year, marching in the Commencement procession. I have been delighted to have the honor, as a Trustee, of handing out diplomas to students being awarded degrees in Computer Science, several decades after I received mine.
I was fortunate to be on the Corporation during the transition between two Brown Presidents. I participated in President Ruth Simmons' final Commencement and the many celebrations of her impressive presidency. In addition, as a Corporation member, I was invited to sit on the stage at the inauguration of President Christina Paxson and partake in the events celebrating the start of what is sure to be an inspiring presidency.
This spring my son will graduate and I'm looking forward to watching him walk through the Van Wickle Gates and don his cap alongside his classmates as he becomes a Brown graduate of the Class of 2015.
Aside from the Women's Leadership Council, what are some of your other passions at Brown?
Philanthropy, mentoring, and supporting the student experience are some of my passions at Brown.
For three years, I served as Co-Chair of the Brown Annual Fund. I developed a great appreciation for the significant time and extraordinary effort involved in raising current use funds for Brown each and every year. I continue to be impressed with the dedication of our staff in soliciting gifts and am overwhelmed by the generosity of our alumni, parents and friends, and their willingness to contribute to Brown each year.
Shortly after I joined the Women's Leadership Council, I became a mentor as part of the Women's Launch Pad. I really enjoyed the time I spent with my mentees, providing them with guidance to help navigate their senior year, the job search process, and life after Brown. As part of the Mentoring Committee, I continue to remain involved with this program and am delighted with the broad reach the WLP has within the senior class women each year. It is particularly rewarding to see over 700 graduate mentees who are now out in the working world, and the close connections that many maintain with Brown, attending our WLC alumnae events, giving back to the University, and some even now becoming mentors themselves through the WLP.
I have had an interest in supporting the student experience at Brown for many years. As Brown Annual Fund Scholarship donors, my family has had the opportunity to get to know our scholarship recipients and share in their progress through their four years at the University. As a Trustee, I look forward to our breakfast with undergraduate and graduate students as part of our Corporation meetings, and enjoy hearing the issues on their minds and their perspectives as to what we can do to continually enhance the student experience. Most recently, I have focused on improving summer internship opportunities and the ability for students to network with Brown alumni through a new initiative called BrownConnect.
In aligning with the goals of the strategic plan, Brown has launched a new program called BrownConnect. Given your involvement, what are your thoughts on this program and how do you think it will be received by alumni?
As Co-Chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on Internships (along with fellow WLC member Genine Fidler '77, P'04, P'12), I have spent a great deal of time over the past two years focusing on internships and the broader initiative known as BrownConnect. The mission of this program is to increase the number of summer internships available to Brown students, ensure that these opportunities are accessible–regardless of financial circumstances–and partner with CareerLAB to increase students' access to the global network of alumni, parents, and friends.
We ran a pilot program over the past year testing every aspect of this initiative, with real success. We added over 150 new internship opportunities sponsored by Brown alumni and parents, increased funding for LINK awards (for students who choose to accept low paying or unpaid internships) and UTRAs (summer research awards for students working alongside Brown faculty), hosted a student intern send-off event and ten student-alumni networking events during the summer, and began fundraising for this effort.
From the pilot phase, we have a good sense that this program appeals to students, parents, and alumni all for different reasons. Students have been asking for more internship and research experiences relevant to their education and for the chance to connect with Brown alumni for networking and career advice. Parents are excited at the prospect of their children having more robust internship opportunities and additional funding to support them, and are helping to contribute to BrownConnect by offering internship experiences and helping to fund the initiative. And our alumni are delighted to further their connections with Brown by hiring an intern for their company, attending networking events with students and helping them with career preparedness, and supporting the initiative financially.
BrownConnect officially launched November 13th. We are excited at the opportunities it will provide our students for more experiential learning during their summers, and are eager to see our alumni and parents further engaged with the University.
As a Brown alumna and a Brown parent what does giving back to the University mean to you?
I have been giving back to Brown since I graduated in 1983. Although my contributions at first were quite modest, I continued to increase my gifts to Brown as my financial situation improved. Even when I was in graduate school and very much in debt, I continued to contribute to the Brown Annual Fund each year.
You see, I went to a large public high school in the suburbs of Buffalo, where the majority of students who had the opportunity to go to college attended the New York State public schools, and few ventured beyond our state's borders. The decision to apply to and ultimately attend Brown was one of the best I've ever made. I had the most incredible experience at Brown, both in and out of the classroom. I got to interact with amazing students and faculty and was afforded substantive summer internships in computer science and an amazing job at Goldman Sachs upon graduation.
None of this would have been possible without the benefit of a Brown education. I wanted to do my part to give back to ensure that the University had the resources to grow and develop and provide other students with the same opportunities.
As I better understand how much the University relies upon the generosity of its alumni, parents, and friends to help sustain its operating budget and to embark upon exciting projects and programs, my giving has taken on an increased significance. I think that so many of us realize the impact a Brown education has had on our lives and for many, the lives of our children, that we are so willing to give back to ensure that other students can have a similar experience.
What has been the most rewarding part about being a WLC member?
The Women's Leadership Council has been one of my favorite groups to be a part of within the Brown community. I have enjoyed the camaraderie of Brown alumnae from many different decades. It has been great to reconnect with many of my classmates, and to discover a vibrant community of Brown women who I now have the privilege of working alongside.
I believe that the Women's Leadership Council empowers women to make an impact on the University. I feel that our new tag line, "Leaders, Mentors, Philanthropists," has defined my WLC experience. This council cultivates leadership among alumnae, both on campus and in the world outside the University. As part of the Women's Launch Pad, I have seen hundreds of senior women benefit from the guidance and advice of our mentors, helping these students make the transition from Brown to the real world. I am honored to be a part of this group that makes Brown a priority in our philanthropic pursuits. The Women's Leadership Council's $1 million Brown Annual Fund challenge – the largest Brown challenge funded entirely by women– helped increase the participation of GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) classes in fiscal year 2012 and, I believe, gave women philanthropists a larger voice at Brown.
I was so impressed with the programming and turnout at the Women's Leadership Conference: 120 Years of Women at Brown. It was wonderful to be in a tent overflowing with hundreds Brown alumnae, all of whom came back to reconnect. I was proud to be a part of an organization that has made such strides in connecting its alumnae with one another and the University, and look forward to celebrating 125 Years of Women at Brown in April of 2017.