The Member Spotlight: Interviews with Members of the Council
Joelle Murchison ’95, Mandy Tachiki ’95, and Liz Munves Sherman ’77, P’06, P’09
WLC members Joelle Murchison ’95, Mandy Tachiki ’95, and outgoing WLC co-chair Liz Munves Sherman ’77, P’06, P’09 all share a unique and life-altering experience: each woman is a Brown alumna who, as a student, realized a passion for educational diversity and equity. Each woman has made a difference to individuals and their communities, and each woman practices inclusion in their professional lives. Joelle is the Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Connecticut. Mandy, having previously practiced corporate law for 18 years, is the Director of Admissions at Mark Day School in San Francisco. Liz, former chair of the Pembroke Center Associates Council and a founding member of the WLC, is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Breakthrough New York. Interviewed by WLC member Stephanie Morimoto ’99, Joelle, Mandy, and Liz share their journeys from childhood to their current roles, pushing their communities towards leadership, diversity, and opportunity. Read on to learn more about their efforts.
Haseena Enu '90
Haseena Enu is an alumna from the Class of 1990. She's the managing partner of the Dallas office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, an AMLAW 100 law firm, and the world's leading provider of corporate immigration legal services. Before moving to Texas in 2005, she was the managing partner of the firm's Washington, D.C. office and was responsible for overseeing a special practice of the New York office for small and emerging companies, as well as investors, entrepreneurs and other individual clients. Haseena provides pro bono immigration representation to non-citizen and non-resident students participating in the New York-based Prep for Prep program, which identifies and supports exceptional minority students as potential leaders by preparing them for private secondary and post-secondary education. Haseena is married and has two children.
"I loved my Brown experience and recognize the importance of alumni staying engaged after graduation, and not just financially," Haseena said about why she gives back to Brown. "I particularly appreciate the work of the Women's Leadership Council (WLC) in creating and overseeing the Women's Launch Pad. I could have benefitted from a mentor to guide me during my senior year at Brown — someone with whom I could discuss the benefits of taking a few years before going to graduate school and who could help me figure out what to expect during my first weeks in law school."
Haseena noted that participating in the WLC gives her something too: "I always come back from a WLC meeting learning something about myself, and with new insights from the other WLC members that I use in my own life."
Caitie Whelan '07.5
Caitie Whelan is a Brown alumna from the Class of 2007.5. She is the Founder/Noter-in-Chief of The Lightning Notes, a short daily post to help us move the world forward. Prior to The Lightning Notes, Caitie was a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor in Congress, co-founded a school in India with a community of lower caste musicians, and raised pigs in Italy. Caitie is an alumna of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, serves on the board of the Treehouse Institute, and is a Truman Scholar from Maine. Caitie gives back to Brown through the Women’s Leadership Council because she’s been given so much, she wants to pass it down the line. She’s had amazing mentees through the Swearer Center and Women's Launch Pad and offered workshops on campus. As Caitie said, “It's massively exciting to see the beautiful ways that Brown students are shaping the future and shaking the world.”
Marcy A. Sandler '86, P'15, P'18
When Marcy A. Sandler ’86, P’15, P’18 passed through the Van Wickle Gates and became a part of the Brown alumni community, it felt natural to stay connected to Brown. A self-proclaimed cheerleader for Brown since her days on campus as a tour guide, Marcy has explored all avenues of the Brown volunteer experience, and has found ways for her engagement with Brown to evolve and grow in the 30-plus years since her graduation. She has always made Brown a volunteer priority, and enjoys giving back to a place that has impacted her life in so many ways. As a Brown volunteer, Marcy has delighted in reconnecting with former classmates and making connections across classes in her various roles. In addition, Marcy has valued the relationships she has developed with Brown staff, and says she has been “lucky to get to know well so many of the wonderful people who work so hard on behalf of Brown.” For Marcy, Brown remains a special community that embraces connections, provides opportunities, and feels like family.
Marcia J. 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 also 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
Nancy Fuld Neff ‘76, P’06, P’14 cannot 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 since 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.
Sandee Ting Simshauser '84, P'18, P'20, P'21
The Women's Leadership Council welcomed Sandee Ting Simshauser '84, P'18, P'20, P'21 as WLC Co-Chair on July 1, 2016. Sandee has been on the WLC for five years and previously served as the WLC Membership Committee Co-Chair, as well as Co-President of the Board of the Brown Club of Boston. Sandee says Brown has impacted her life in so many ways that it remains a priority for her to be involved as much as she can as an alumna. As Co-Chair of the Council, Sandee hopes to maintain and build upon the momentum of the Council's presence on campus and the many initiatives it has successfully completed. Looking ahead, Sandee sees the opportuntiy for the Council to extend its national reach through mentoring, alumnae-focused events, and promoting the importance of philanthropy. If there is one thing Sandee has learned from being a Brown student and now an alumna, it is that we are encouraged to lead and create positive change, and have the confidence to forge our own path.
Alexandra E. Mandis '95
As an international student, Alexandra E. Mandis was President of the Brown International Organization, Photo Editor of the Brown Daily Herald, and Co-Chair of her Annual Fund Senior Class Gift Campaign, among other activities. Though Alexandra departed Brown through the Van Wickle Gates in 1995, she has remained ever true as an active alumna leader in the Brown community, which has remained an integral part of her life. Alexandra is on the Women's Leadership Council Executive Committee and serves as the Communications Co-Chair. She is also a member of the 125 Years of Women at Brown Conference Steering Committee, a member of the University's Advisory Council for the College, a member of the Brown Annual Fund Leadership Council, Vice President of the Class of 1995, and a member of the Alumni Interviewing Program. Alexandra is also delighted to have accepted the invitation to join the University's Advisory Council for the College, which launches in the fall of 2016. Alexandra has made a tremendous impact as an alumna. Read on to learn more about how she has proven time and again what it means, and what it takes, to be a leader.
Andrea Terzi Baum '83, P'15, P'18
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. Learn more about how she continues to give back to the University.
Joan Weinberger Berman, Ph.D. '74, P'05, P'11
Dr. Joan W. Berman is a Professor of Pathology and of Microbiology & Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she manages a large research laboratory studying the mechanisms by which HIV enters the brain and causes neuron damage and cognitive impairment in a large number of infected individuals. Dr. Berman serves as Co-Chair of the Brown Women's Leadership Council Mentoring Committee and is also on the Pembroke Associates Council, serving as the Chair of Pembroke's Programming Committee. Read on to learn more about Dr. Berman's enthusiasm for mentorship.
Lauren A. Corrao '83, P'16
Women's Leadership Council member Lauren Corrao serves as Chief Creative Officer for Vuguru, a digital studio located in Los Angeles, CA. Previously Corrao was President of Original Programming at Comedy Central. Lauren is a leader, mentor, and philanthropist for Brown. Read on to learn how the University has impacted her life.
Sharon Curhan M.D. '83, P'10, P'20
Sharon Curhan '83 is an M.D. and clinical researcher at the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. After taking a career "pause," Sharon returned to school to pursue her dream of collaborating with her husband, Gary '81. They conduct research on chronic disease prevention with a focus on the prevention of hearing loss and tinnitus. Sharon is a member of the Women's Leadership Council and Women's Launch Pad, through which she has had the opportunity to mentor several Brown women. Read more about how Sharon's experiences have helped her guide mentees through the transition from Brown student to Brown alumna.
Genine M. Fidler '77, P '04, P '12
The Women's Leadership Council would like to thank Genine for providing this interview for the Member Spotlight. Genine has been an instrumental and inspiring leader for the WLC. She is former Co-Chair of the President's Women's Leadership Council, and was a Vice Chair for the Campaign for Academic Enrichment. She also serves on Brown's Creative Arts Advisory Council and is a member of the Brown/RISD Hillel Board. Genine graduated from Brown in 1977 with an AB in American Civilization. Read on to learn more about what motivates her service to the University.
Shelley N. Fidler '68, P'09
Ms. Fidler is a non-lawyer Principal and Managing Director of Environmental and Government Resources at Van Ness Feldman, a Washington, D.C. law firm. She supports Brown in many capacities, including as a Women's Launch Pad Mentor. We are honored to have Shelley serve the University as new Co-Chair of the Women's Leadership Council. Read on to learn more about why Shelley enjoys being connected to Brown's student and alumnae communities.
Susan Pilch Friedman '77, P'08
Ms. Friedman is a founding member and Chair Emerita of the Women's Leadership Council. Brown plays a major role in her family life. Her husband, Richard, graduated from the University in 1979 and is a member of the Brown Corporation. Their daughter, Jackie (pictured here on the left), graduated from Brown in 2008. Learn more about Susan's love for the University.
Nancy R. Kail '84
Nancy Kail '84 is a past president of Saving the Next Generation Foundation, a New York based organization promoting the values of life, liberty, peace and opportunity in a progressive, open-minded and inclusive Middle East. She previously helped to start and served as Founding Chair of the Greenwich Alliance for Education, a local education foundation that enables private sector support of public school education. Prior to her work with the Alliance, Nancy held several education-related positions in her town. She was a Vice President of Corporate Finance at Wertheim Schroder & Co., and also worked at Oxfam America. She received an MBA from Wharton in 1989. We would like to thank Nancy for her support as an active member of the Women's Leadership Council and as a Women's Launch Pad Mentor. Read on to learn more about what service to the University and its students means to Nancy.
Nancy Fuld Neff '76, P'06, P'14
Ms. Neff is a former principal in investment banking at Morgan Stanley & Co. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Randall's Island Sports Foundation board and is a board member of Ramapo for Children, a summer camp which serves special needs and high risk children. Nancy is a strong volunteer for Brown, having served on the Corporation since 2008. She is former WLC Co-Chair, a member of the Advisory Council on Athletics, and is currently Co-Chair of the Brown Annual Fund. Read on to learn why Nancy believes women's leadership is important for the University.
Leslie Rohrer '78, P'12
Leslie is a partner and marketing director at The COR Group, an advertising and marketing solutions company. Leslie is also the president of Houston Dressage Society, a non profit organization that furthers the art of dressage and through education allows members to conduct their own shows and reach their goals. Leslie is an active member in the equestrian community and constantly works towards developing the sport of equestrian both nationally and internationally. Leslie currently serves as an Executive Member of the Women's Leadership Council. Read Leslie's full interview to learn why she believes Brown formed her into the person she is today.
Mary Vascellaro '74, P'07
Mary Vascellaro is a Women's Leadership Council Executive Committee Member and Steering Committee Chair for the conference celebrating 120 years of women at Brown. Read Mary's full interview to learn about her enthusiasm for the history of women at Brown.
Donna C. E. Williamson '74
Donna C. E. Williamson '74 has been a key contributor to the advancement of the Brown Women's Leadership Council, serving as Co-Chair of the Communications Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. Donna has over twenty-five years of strategy, operating, and board experience in the healthcare industry and is currently a managing director for Ceres Venture Fund LP. Read on to learn more about Donna's role in building the WLC and what the success of the organization means to her.