Sarah Wakefield Adhya ’03 MEM shares her experience
On Sunday, November 10th, nearly 30 YaleWomen Connecticut alums, family and friends visited the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. The visit included stops at the “Ancient Mesopotamia Speaks” exhibit, the entomology archives with Nicole Palffy-Muhoray '16 PhD (who is Assistant Director of Student Programs at the Museum), the Ladies First exhibit, which was mounted in conjunction with 50WomenAtYale150 to showcase women in STEM, and the Great Hall. We spoke with Sarah Wakefield Adhya '03 MEM, who joined the tour with her husband, Nilanjan Adhya '05 MBA, and their two children, aged 6 and 9.
(Yale Peabody Museum will soon undergo a comprehensive renovation. The Fossil Halls will close December 31, 2019 and the Museum will be closed to the public beginning July 1, 2020. Plan your visit soon!)Read more
Our Mission: “To create a vibrant, engaged community of alums, drawn together by the common thread of our Yale experiences, that is committed to advancing women's voices and perspectives and to enriching and inspiring one another, Yale, and the world."
As YaleWomen approaches its first decade (a noteworthy milestone for an all-volunteer organization!) its leadership body, the YaleWomen Council, is seeking strong, energetic leaders committed to helping us sustain our progress and support our important mission. Please consider joining us! Read more here about how to apply to the YaleWomen Council.
Applications are due March 15, 2020.
Left to right, Susan Lennon ’85 MPPM, Secretary and Immediate Past Chair; Jennifer Ebisemiju ’88, Chair; and Susan Pepin ’87 Vice Chair
The YAA Board of Governors Excellence Awards recognize alumni organizations that make a deep and lasting impact on the Yale alumni community. In November, YaleWomen received this coveted honor in recognition of the program we developed and hosted in March 2019 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Awards for Excellence: Working Toward Gender Equity, which attracted over 170 attendees, featured the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards to Anita Hill '80 JD, Catherine Lhamon '96 JD, and Ann Olivarius '77, '86 MBA, '86 JD, and Impact Awards to Araceli Campos '99, C'Ardiss Gardner Gleser '08, Kamala Lopez, Rebecca Reichman Tavares '78, and Vera Wells '71. The celebration shined a light on Yale women alums who make a difference in their many different walks of life, as well as on issues that affect women. It also featured a panel discussion with the Lifetime Achievement honorees moderated by Joanne Lipman '83. (More information about YaleWomen’s Award for Excellence is here.
The YAA Award serves as a broader Yale recognition of the impact of the YaleWomen event—an impact that was clearly felt by the many of the celebration’s attendees. Former YaleWomen Council member, Erin Endean ’80, ’82 MA, described the evening as “a really remarkable occasion!” Lisa Beth “LB” Friedman Savitz '88, who joined the Council in July, experienced the celebration through an intergenerational lens informed by her mother, Barbara Lander Friedman '65 MAT, and her son, Samuel Friedman Savitz '17. “My mother's experience at Yale colored the way I viewed my own relationship with the school. She and I both thought the '60s were the bad old days and the '80s promised a different experience. What was unexpected for us was how much about Yale and the world had not changed. The YaleWomen Award ceremony was a moment of acknowledging both progress and the lack thereof for women, and the significant role Yale women play in pushing that progress forward.” LB’s son, who was surprised and gratified to see attendees from his generation of Yalies at the celebration, added, “This speaks to how YaleWomen has been able to create an inclusive community where multiple generations of Yale women want to be a part of it and can bond over shared experiences.”
More information on the YAA award is here.
YaleWomen Global Newsletter | Fall 2019
In Conversation with Ann Miura-Ko ’98, the Newest Member of the Yale Corporation and a Modern-Day “Wonder Woman”
Ann Miura-Ko ’98 is essentially a modern-day “Wonder Woman.” She is the newest member of the Yale Corporation, a Silicon Valley pioneer investor, a co-founding partner at Floodgate (a seed-stage venture capital firm), a wife, and a mother of three children.
YaleWomen Council member, Rose Jia ’07, spoke with Ann about being a woman at Yale and in her career; how she got to be a “Wonder Woman”; and her advice to women everywhere.
Ann grew up in Palo Alto, California, surrounded by technology. And yet, she never imagined she would end up in a world that would eventually fund the next generation of tech companies like Twitter, Twitch, Refinery29, and Okta. Her passion at the time lay with music, especially piano. When she chose to attend college, she decided on Yale because she knew she would be at an institution that would allow her to pursue her musical interests while getting a strong education.
At Yale, Ann’s interest in music opened a door to finding a sisterhood outside of her main course of study — electrical engineering — a major without many female students. She quickly found herself singing with Proof of the Pudding (an acapella group on campus), where she met an “incredibly dynamic group of diverse interests and backgrounds brought together by a common love for singing.” These women went on to become some of her closest friends and the women she most admired.
When Ann first began her career, she could not imagine she would one day be a repeat member of the Forbes Midas List and The New York Times Top 20 Venture Capitalists Worldwide. At that point in time, there just weren’t that many women in the field she could have looked up to. In almost every industry she was a part of — from electrical engineering at Yale to consulting to investing to getting her PhD at Stanford in mathematical modeling of computer security — women were far and few between. When she first approached the investing world, she asked one partner, “Do you know any female general partners in venture capital?” Their response: none on the East Coast and only a handful on the West Coast. In a February 2018 CNBC interview, Ann remarked: “There isn’t a multitude of people where you could just point to that person and say, ‘That’s the person I am going to be in 10, 20, 30 years.’ And I think that’s what’s tough.” Even today, women hold only 10 percent of all senior positions in private equity and venture capital firms globally (according to IFC paper).
Despite all these challenges, Ann made her way to the top. She didn’t see her future through gender-biased glasses; instead, she cared about being different. “It’s important to be different, not just better,” she emphasized. “Different is memorable, and different sticks.” She credited her technical PhD in venture capital as what differentiated her from her peers. “Being a woman can be different, but I don’t see it as a disadvantage or an advantage.” In venture capital, her successes were based on what companies she invested in and how well those companies performed. Being a woman didn’t change those factors. However, it did allow her to see and invest in companies that might have gone unnoticed and tap into new investment opportunities with female-led companies.
Ann has made it, but it wasn’t without some pitfalls. For women early in their careers, she has these words of wisdom:
Be self aware and train yourself to have a stronger and more professional presence.
“Earlier in my career, I was told I sounded really young,” Ann explained. “I remember replying, ‘Well, I’m 21, that’ll solve itself.’ My manager was a serious woman and said, ‘I’m not kidding. You need to listen.’ And so, she stuck me in a theater program, where we had to record voicemails and listen to the recordings. I was mortified when I heard my voice. I sounded like a 10-year-old. The theater director said, ‘Now, imagine if you were the CEO of a company and you got this voicemail. What do you think your reputation would be afterwards?’” After that, Ann modified her tone and ensured she presented herself professionally each time. According to Ann, “Presence is not just about how you are in person, but it’s also about what you represent. So listen to your voice, hear your speech patterns, watch your body language, and be aware of how you come off in all aspects of communication.”
Use the tool of interruption.
Ann encourages women to interrupt to get their points across. “Notice when others are interrupting and how effective they are in getting their points across,” she says. “As women, we’re told not to interrupt, but in many meetings, there are people who continue to speak and make their points many, many times. If you notice, it’s usually a guy who interrupts. It’s okay for us to interrupt so we can make our points. If interrupting still makes you uncomfortable, try saying something in the first ten minutes of a meeting (before things feel more intimidating) and prepare all the smart things you want to bring up in the meeting because you’ll feel more prepared and confident when speaking up.”
Remember that people say a lot of stupid things and most people don’t notice.
Ann emphasized how the consequence of saying something stupid is not as large as we think it is, so it’s oftentimes about getting over the hurdle of speaking up. And, we, as women, must learn to speak up.
After her formative years at McKinsey, then Charles River Ventures, and then the PhD program at Stanford, Ann became a co-founding partner at Floodgate, where she leads and mentors many people. When pressed on her leadership style and how other female leaders could emulate her, Ann responded: “There is no cookie-cutter style. You need to figure out your own personal style. Be the leader you wish you had when you were younger. Women have to make it up. [...] So, be the change that you want to see.” But most importantly, she noted, “be visible in the choices you’re making.” She gave an example of a leader being visible in her decision-making: Ann had been a PhD student attending a talk by a female academic. In the talk, she noticed the academic had brought her baby, who was in an infant car seat, and she was rocking the seat with one foot while giving her talk in front of everyone. For Ann, it was inspirational to see, especially since she had been debating whether to have a child during her PhD program. Later on, when Ann had her own children, she decided to bring one of them to a conference she had to attend. Many years later, the chief marketing officer of one of the companies she had backed told Ann how she had debated whether to bring her own child to a conference when she remembered Ann doing just that. As a result, this CMO brought her child to the conference. “I just love that lineage of: I saw it once and decided to do it myself, and then she saw it and did it as well,” Ann said fondly. “I told her by her doing that, she probably inspired another woman to do the same.”
Near the end of our conversation, we had to bring up the topic most women love and hate simultaneously: work/life balance. Is it doable or just a myth? Here was a woman who has differentiated herself in her career and has a loving husband, three adoring kids, and one spoiled pet. Could work/life balance be real? The answer: not really. “You have to decide what you’re willing to give up and what you won’t,” she advised. “Trade-offs are really hard because work can creep into every element of your life.” She personally dealt with work/life balance by having a strong support system, specifically, a strong partnership with her husband and having her parents close by. “It really does take a village,” she noted with a laugh.
Still wondering what this Wonder Woman Ann Miura-Ko is like? Here are some answers to a series of rapid-fire questions:
- Favorite food: Japanese comfort food (ramen, tonkatsu, tempura), basically everything mom makes
- Currently reading: Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
- Currently listening to: Whatever the kids want, which is usually bad pop music
- Currently watching: A Handmaid’s Tale
- Last internet search: Map of Barcelona
- Personal mantra: “Greatness is a decision”
— Rose Jia ’07
YaleWomen received extraordinary financial support during the past fiscal year (7/1/18 – 6/30/19), especially in response to our annual appeal. We are thrilled to acknowledge the generosity of the following donors – alums from Yale College and the Graduate & Professional Schools – whose gifts totaled $17,300. We are deeply grateful for each and every gift. Together they enable YaleWomen – an all-volunteer organization – to act on our bold mission and vision.
We are also grateful for the generosity of sponsors and friends whose support helped make the Award for Excellence: Working Toward Gender Equity such an extraordinary success.
We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of our donor list. If we have made any errors, please accept our apologies and let us know by sending an email to email@example.com.
Joan Abrahamson ’73
Amy Armitage ’86 MBA
Seyma Aslan ’12 PhD
Elizabeth Atlee ’87
Beth Axelrod ’89 MPPM
Lucy Austin ’69 MDiv
Chieko Barry ’84 JD
Anne Boucher ’80
Marie Colbert ’95
Nina Deutsch ’73 MMus
Jennifer DeVore ’87
Kirstin Dodge ’88
Ellen Estes ’63 JD
Akosua Barthwell Evans ’90 JD
Marilyn Richard Figueroa ’91
Shannon Foucault ’06
Elizabeth Gerard ’89
Lauren Graham ’13 MEM
Yvonne Green ’79 MSN
Laura Thompson Grondin ’85
Juliet Guichon ’81
Deirdre Hamaguchi ’87
Deborah Hill ’73 MFS, ’77 PhD
Patricia Huntington ’72
Kathryn Johanessen ’88
Beverly Jurenko ’86
Katherine Kincade ’85
Amy Levine Klein ’93, ’98 JD
Susanna Krentz ’80
Susan Lauritzen ’92 MBA
Elizabeth Le ’93 MD
Susan Lennon ’85 MPPM
Stephanie Yu Lim ’00
Jennifer Ebisemju Madar ’88
Ellen Gibson McGinnis ’82
Meryl Menon ’61 MAT
Danielle Morgan ’00 MSN
Deena Myers ’89 MPH
Jeanne Murphy-Stone ’94 MSN
Wendy Naratil ’83
Patricia Perry ’73
Eve Rice ’73
Toby Richard ’82
Anne Riney ’74
Diane Robins ’73
Susan Schorr ’87
Lisa Shell ’93 MAR
Denise Stevens ’95 PhD
Lydia Temoshok ’72
Stephanie Vardavas ’77
Karen Warner ’06 PhD
Susan Warren ‘73
Vera F. Wells ’71
Joan O’Meara Winant ’73
Suzanne Willis ’79 PhD
Mylinda Willsey ’90
Pearl Yuan-Garg ’03 JD
Platinum Sponsor: Haynes and Boone LLP
Silver Sponsor: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Blue Sponsor: Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
Charlotte Martin Foundation
The Barthwell Group
Yale Law School
Yale School of Management
Women Faculty Forum
Women’s Campaign School at Yale
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated
On Tuesday, June 18th, at the home of Sofia Milonas ’89, YaleWomen NYC hosted a very well-attended event on parental support for college admissions. Eva Ostrum ’86, former admissions officer, award-winning educator, and author, guided a thoughtful discussion on how to properly support our children through the process. It was one of YaleWomen NYC's most engaging and educational events, with a wait list to attend!
Thank you to Sterling Thomas ’08, Eva Ostrum ’86, and Sofia Milonas ’89, and all great Yale Women!
To learn more, contact the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sunday, July 21st, at the Chevy Chase home of Juliet Drake ’86, YaleWomen DC hosted its annual summer potluck brunch for alums of all decades and female undergraduates who were interning in Washington, DC. Always a highlight of the chapter's summer calendar, the brunch was a great networking opportunity.
To learn more, contact the chapter at email@example.com
YaleWomen Global Newsletter | Summer 2019
In 1969, women were first accepted to Yale as undergrads. What was it like for each of these extraordinary women as they entered those hallowed halls steeped in tradition? What circumstances led to their pursuing an undergraduate education at Yale? How did that education affect their lives after graduation?
Over the years, a small number of individuals have been interviewed about their experiences of the early years of coeducation at Yale; however, most women in the Classes of ’71, ’72, and ’73 have not had the opportunity to contribute to the history of this remarkable period. As we near the 50th anniversary, “getting the history right” is becoming more urgent than ever. Two companion projects – the Written History Project (WHP) and the Oral History Project (OHP) – are working in tandem to capture the voices of a comprehensive group of these women who were part of this extraordinary transformation.
The goal of the OHP and WHP is to preserve accounts of this time, traveling around North America, interviewing a broad cross-section of the women – with diverse backgrounds, interests, and life experiences. Interviewees are encouraged to tell their own stories – whatever they want future generations to know.
Filmed interviews have already taken place with shoots in New Haven, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Women in the first three classes will be contacted to schedule interviews as additional dates or cities are added.
Women alums can also submit their memories directly in the form of written recollections (and, eventually, via recordings on personal cameras or cell-phones once guidelines are created).
If time and resources allow, a further aspect of both of these projects will be to capture the stories of men from that time – those who were at Yale before coeducation and during the transition – and to interview male and female members of the faculty, staff, and the administration.
The collection of interviews will be archived in the Manuscripts and Archives division of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale, where they will be available to library users and researchers.
Information about the WHP and the OHP can be found on the 50 Women at Yale 150 website at celebratewomen.yale.edu.
Questions also may be directed to https://celebratewomen.yale.edu/contact.
- Ursula Burton ’88