What We’re Hearing

From a 1993 Yale College (BA) alum about the YaleWomen webinar with Women's Health Research at Yale: “This was my first time signing up for a YaleWomen webinar. The topic was not related to my professional field, but that is what made it interesting for me. It felt like dropping into a guest speaker talk back on campus. I was exposed to information that expanded my understanding of important issues.  Carolyn Mazure was great and Elisa Spungen Bildner, who facilitated the discussion, raised good questions.”

From a 1988 Yale College (BA) alum about the YaleWomen LA Holiday Party Potluck: “Thank you, YaleWomen LA, for another incredible holiday party. I'm always awed by the brilliant, dynamic, accomplished women who inhabit our community. I look forward to seeing everyone at future YWLA events!”

From a 2000 School of Medicine (MMedSci) alum about the YaleWomen Connecticut Holiday Potluck Dinner: “Thank you for a fantastic evening and dinner.  For years I have sought a connection like I had during my time at Yale.  I wish I knew that all I needed to do was come to a YaleWomen event.  My heart is content knowing I have found Yalies again.  Looking forward to much more in the future!”

From a 1996 Yale College (BA) alum about the YaleWomen Houston Holiday Cookie Exchange: “I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations and the chance to connect with a few new Yale women! It’s so exciting to know our community continues to grow! It’s a fantastic new YaleWomen tradition!”

 

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YaleWomen Chapter Spotlight: YaleWomen DC Hosts Salons

Ellen Fox ’81 had an idea. She wanted to create a forum or activity that would enable intellectually curious people to cut through superficial small talk to a deeper level of dialogue and relationship-building. Inspired by Enlightenment Salons of the 18th century, Ellen – with the help of her friend Lynn Borton ’83 – developed a unique model that includes short readings and a structured interactive group process designed for each topic. Ellen, who is also a Harvard Medical School grad, proposed the Salon series as a joint venture between the Alumni Network of Harvard Women and YaleWomen.

The inaugural salon – the theme of which was “Why Women Bully Other Women” – was held in September at Ellen’s home. The event was so successful (registrations sold out in hours!) that Ellen worked with chapter heads Juliet Drake ’86 and Sara Romeyn ’91 to add a second Salon that followed the same “script” as the original Salon at Ellen’s house, but took place simultaneously at another Yale (or Harvard) alum’s home in the DC area. The topics of the Salons held in November and December were “Authenticity” and “Are You Lucky?”  The Salons clearly have struck a chord with alums!

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If you are interested in starting your own Salon series based on the Harvard/YaleWomen’s Salon model (spoiler alert: the theme for the January Salon will be “Mansplaining”) contact ellenfoxmd@gmail.com. For more information about other YaleWomen DC events, contact the chapter heads at dc@yalewomen.org and check the calendar on the YaleWomen website.

Photo courtesy of YaleWomen DC Facebook.

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Anita Hill: A Hero for Our Times

On October 30th Anita Hill ’80 JD returned to the Yale campus to join President Peter Salovey for the third event in the President’s Women of Yale Lecture Series.  More recently, in December, Hill was named to lead a commission that has been formed to help combat sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. Coverage of the discussion between Professor Hill and President Salovey included a Yale News piece, “The fight against sexual harassment isn’t nearly over, says Anita Hill” and the Yale Women Faculty Forum’s “Anita Hill Returns to Campus, Revisiting Sexual Misconduct Policies.”  Their discussion can be viewed in its entirety on Yale's YouTube channel.

The discussion was the third event in the President’s Women of Yale Lecture Series. In anticipation of 2019, which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of coeducation in Yale College and more than 150 years of women in Yale’s graduate and professional schools, the series celebrates outstanding Yale alumnae.  Past speakers have included Vera Wells ’71 and Maya Lin ’81 and ’86 MArch.

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YaleWomen Global Newsletter | September 2017

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A Word of Thanks!

YaleWomen received tremendous financial support during the past fiscal year, especially in response to our annual appeal.  We are thrilled to acknowledge the generosity of women alums across Yale College and the Graduate & Professional Schools --many of whom were first time donors-- gifts totaled $16,825.  We are deeply grateful for each and every gift.  Together these donations enable YaleWomen – an all-volunteer, non-dues paying organization – to bring our bold mission to life.

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 info@yalewomen.org.

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Call for Nominations for the YaleWomen Award of Excellence

Do you know of an individual (or individuals) who has been an exceptional advocate for justice, equality, and access for women?  If so, we encourage you to submit your nomination(s) for the YaleWomen Award for Excellence

Inaugurated in 2016, the YaleWomen Award for Excellence is the highest award bestowed by YaleWomen.  It “recognizes a particularly outstanding individual or individuals for either a singular contribution, or for contributions made over many years, to the goals and aspirations for which YaleWomen was founded. The YaleWomen Award for Excellence shall be given to an individual (or individuals) who has been an exceptional advocate for justice, equality, and access for women.”

YaleWomen may bestow two kinds of awards: the YaleWomen Award for Excellence for Lifetime Achievement and the YaleWomen Impact Award.  You will find award descriptions and nomination criteria on the online nomination form.

We will celebrate the YaleWomen Award for Excellence again in the fall of 2018.  With this issue of the enewsletter, we open the call for online nominationsWhile nominations are solicited and can be submitted year-round, the deadline for nominations to be considered for the 2018 award is Monday, January 15, 2018.  You can submit multiple nominations!  Please note that YaleWomen will maintain all nominations that are submitted and that nominees who may not be selected in one year may be eligible again in the future.

The YaleWomen Award for Excellence offers a distinctive and compelling opportunity to recognize individual(s) who have been advocates for justice, equality, and access for women in many different ways and walks of life.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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What’s in YaleWomen for me? One Alum Shares Her Story.

Yale women alums in Connecticut love to hear from other Yale women alums! One of YaleWomen Connecticut’s signature events is the Museum Trail.  During the past few years, we have visited 10 museums around the state.  These are exclusive tours, led by Yale women alums. They offer unexpected, unusual, and rich insights into the exhibits. I am a regular at these events not only because of the opportunity to go to museums I might not otherwise visit, but also because of the opportunity to meet and talk with Yale College and Graduate & Professional School alums I probably would not otherwise meet and get to know.   

Yale College alum Elysa Engelman, PhD (’94 Berkeley), Director of Exhibits at Mystic Seaport: the Museum of America and the Sea is transforming the learning experience for Seaport visitors. This past July, Elysa took a group of alums, family, and friends on a journey of interpretation as she juxtaposed two very different exhibits. SeaChange, which is housed in a new showpiece building with dramatic architecture and natural materials (designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, the architectural firm that also designed Kroon Hall at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), creatively speaks to the transformations and connections in technology and American maritime culture. The exhibit features seemingly unlikely artifacts through interpretive tools, including video, audio, photography, visual activities, and even smell (yes, guano!). We slowed the pace for a contrasting exploration of Rosenfeld: On Land and On Sea – A Century of Women – a “flat” exhibit of forty 20th century black and white photographs.  Elysa’s curiosity about the different ways that people learn and engage, her interdisciplinary approach, and her enthusiasm for her work are infectious. 

During the past several years, I have participated in many YaleWomen Connecticut events, from the Museum Trail, to Curiosity and Conversation, to potluck dinners.  For me, the opportunity to come together with alums from throughout the state at these unique events is not only compelling, but it’s nearly irresistible!

To see if there is a chapter where you live or work, click here. To see the kinds of events chapters host, click here.   

Karen Warner ’06 PhD

(Photo: Elysa Engelman, PhD [’94 Berkeley]; courtesy of Mystic Seaport)

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YaleWomen Salary Negotiation Webinar Connects Yale friends around the World

Just a quick note to say hi and provide you with an example of how YaleWomen is influencing lives… Katie Ellias, my good friend from Yale, lives in Paris and we were able to sneak away from work and family for a day by ourselves in Barcelona (I was in Spain/France for a couple weeks… I know, sometimes everything just falls into place!).  Katie and I were both in the midst of considering new job opportunities (Katie in private equity and myself in law) so we were chatting about the YaleWomen webinar on negotiating salary.  It was a good program and prompted us to talk very pointedly about negotiating our own salaries as job situations change - what we can do, encouraging each other, etc.

It also made me feel somehow especially connected: here we were, walking down a street in Spain, chatting about the same webinar that was reaching both Chicago and Paris and interested both of us… it is wonderful that we are still part of something that remains relevant to our lives.  We also spent a fair amount of time together discussing the tough parts of being a woman in professions that are increasingly male-dominated as we advance in our careers – it is also nice feeling that YaleWomen is on our side and kind of 'understands.'

Yay! to YaleWomen for reaching both of us on different continents and actually influencing us about negotiating salaries, etc. We'll bridge the pay gap eventually!

Tiffany Amlot ’00, President, Yale Club of Chicago

(Photo: Katie Ellias ’00 and Tiffany Amlot ’00; courtesy of Tiffany Amlot)

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Treasures in Yale’s Libraries on the Legacy of Women at Yale and Beyond

Across Yale’s library system are hidden archival treasures documenting the legacy of female students at Yale, the coeducation process, and celebrated women writers, artists and playwrights who have shaped their respective industries. “There is no special designation for women’s archives, but the library has a strong investment in women’s history,” said Melissa Barton ’02, one of seven Beinecke curators who oversee the American Literature holdings of the Beinecke Library.  

She pointed to the James Welden Johnson collection as one with “strong holdings relating to women.” The celebrated highlights of this collection include African American women artists and writers Augusta Savage and Gwendolyn Bennett, as well as photographs of Zora Hurston. She also pointed to the James Marshall Osborne collection of annotated manuscripts, illustrating the history of reading through a woman’s notes. Barton’s recent curatorial efforts over her four years working at the Beinecke include developing the collection of Pulitzer prizewinning playwright Paula Vogel, the first woman playwright held in the Beinecke’s collections. The Paula Vogel Papers, which are accessible to students, include drafts of most of Vogel’s dozen published plays, as well as teaching files, email correspondence with theater practitioners, photographs and drafts of work by students. Vogel served as adjunct professor and chairwoman of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama (2008-2012). 

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Mary Caldera, who has been working in the Manuscripts and Archives department for 16 years, pointed to a 1969 image of Amy Solomon — the first woman to register at Yale College — from the University Library Digital Archives, as one of her favorite documents related to women at Yale. In 1968, after former President of Yale University Kingman Brewster announced the coeducation of Yale College through the introduction of 500 women, he appointed Elga Wasserman as the chair of the University Committee on Coeducation. This collection in Yale’s Manuscripts and Archives department contains notes from committee meetings, administrative correspondence and details on the new service programs that were implemented as a result of women being welcomed to Yale, including gynecological services, sex counseling, the addition of women faculty and women’s studies. The majority of these records remain sealed for another few decades, in accordance with the policies of the Yale Corporation. Even before the coeducation of Yale College, library records in the Viola F. Barnes collection showcase images of life at Yale and female PhD candidate Viola Barnes, who graduated in 1919.

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Another significant set of library holdings document the 1976 Title IX protest by the Women’s Crew team, whom Caldera described as “protesting the lack of equal facilities in comparison to Men’s Crew.”

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Both librarians noted the University's historical interest in showcasing collections pertinent to women, both those celebrated within Yale and in the wider world.  

What struck me was the extraordinary span of collections related to women — both those celebrated within Yale and those who have made important strides in the wider world — across the library system. Between archives of New Haven based women's organizations to relics of the University's earliest students, the librarians interviewed noted the University's historical interest in showcasing its extensive collections pertinent to women.

Veena McCoole '19

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Newest Yale Corporation Member Kate Walsh ’77, ’79 MPH Gives Advice to Those Seeking to Become CEO

Kate Walsh is funny.

Yes, she’s the President and CEO of Boston Medical Center, the teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine, with an operating revenue of over $2.8 billion, which serves many low-income patients.

And yes, she was just voted by her peers to be the next Alumni Fellow of the Yale Corporation.

But, she has a great sense of humor, coupled with tremendous humility.

In Kate’s 2014 commencement address to Suffolk University College of Arts & Science grads, she said: “There are many uplifting and inspiring graduation speeches out there. This is not one of them. So, please Google one of them if you’re feeling the need for encouragement.” She then proceeded to say that she’s a practical sort, a mom (of two), and that she was going to tell the 1,100 assembled grads about how to keep a job, and balance work and family.

She describes her promotion to CEO of a major medical institution, after serving as Executive VP and COO of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as, “Not a meteoric rise to the top." 

Kate’s story of that rise, irrespective of speed, is inspiring. One of five kids, and the daughter of a Brookline, Massachusetts police officer, she was the first in her family to attend college. As Kate says, laughingly, “Irish from Boston, from central casting. I should have been a nun.”

Her parents valued education, moving to Brookline for better schools. When it came to college applications, Kate sent out four or five, and went to look at schools by herself. Being a first generation student at Yale today would be tougher than it was for her, she says. With the greater income gap now, there are more pressures on lower income students. Today, Kate says, “you need a cell phone, a data plan, more stuff.”

When she started at Yale, she recalls, with her usual humor, all she needed were good boxes for moving. As she puts it: “I worked at a grocery store and I was very proud of my boxes. I could choose really good ones.” More seriously, she says, “I can’t imagine asking my parents for the stuff we bought our kids when we moved them into their dorms.”

As humble as Kate is in conversation, what others say about her demonstrates her true regard in the field. A colleague of Walsh’s from her days at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Gary Gottlieb, CEO of Partners in Health, characterizes her in a Yale Daily News article as someone who makes quick decisions rather than “[wasting] time and sort of lumbering along.” (Walsh actually describes herself “as not belaboring issues that clearly fall into the ‘yes or no’ category.”) The same News piece also quoted Janet Eisner, President of Emmanuel College, where Walsh served as board vice chair, as saying how much she valued Kate’s advice on financial matters: “Fifteen minutes with Kate can be worth hours with others.” Kate herself took business courses at Columbia and encourages women, who often shy away from finance, to get an MBA.

She has more wisdom - this is a sample: 

  1. Apropos of her self-described, non-meteoric rise, Kate counsels patience to those expecting to be quickly crowned CEO: “I wasn’t thrilled 100 percent of the time in my jobs,” Kate says, but she always liked her field. Approach your career, she advises, as a lifelong learner, rather than worrying about how fast you can race to the top. And, in truth, she didn’t race.  She picked up essential experience after getting her MPH at Yale, working at a number of New York institutions, before moving back to Boston.

  2. The best mentor isn’t necessarily the person three rungs above you – often it’s the other people who are doing what you’re doing. “Look over the wall of your cubicle,” Kate says. She recalls one of her mentors, another Yalie, who had different strengths. “I would have paper all over, and I remember her helping me sort it out on a Friday so that I could better start work on Monday. She knew what I needed because we were doing the same job.”

  3. Kate says her career made the biggest jump when she took the greatest risk, in her case, moving from the hospital sector to work under Mark Fishman ‘72 as COO of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, which later set her up to be COO of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The last time I had worked for a taxable entity, I was a waitress,” Kate comments.

  4. On the importance of team building, Gottlieb calls Kate “probably the best team builder I’ve ever met.” Kate admits that she thinks women are better at this: “It’s how we manage our lives. Teams of moms who keep the family afloat.” It’s also a loss in a society where we think that “we can do everything by remote control.” Kate says she probably spends too much time in meetings because she chats with others about their lives and lets people wander until they get to their point. Why? When people feel they are being listened to, they are more creative and thoughtful, she says.

  5. You can’t predict how your career will unfold. For Kate, choosing hospital administration was “total dumb luck.” A grant from Yale to spend a summer in an urban agency of her choice led her to the Brookside Health Center in Jamaica Plain, MA. (“My dad didn’t want me hanging around the courts.”) Instantly, Kate knew she wanted to run a health center like that, falling in love with its offerings from daycare to medical services.

And finally, Kate’s wisdom on health care: She is an evangelist for the mantra that health shouldn’t be dependent on zip code or other social determinants. For example, the hospital sponsors a one-of-a-kind therapeutic food pantry where cancer patients can get prescriptions for protein-rich food or families can receive a 3-day food supply when benefits run out. Kids get jump ropes to take home because, as Kate says, where there’s urban violence, parents won’t send children out to play. “I care deeply about access to healthcare,” Kate says. “It’s a fundamental right, especially in the richest country in the world.”

Elisa Spungen Bildner ’75

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