Columbia College Alumni Association

Close Search
Illustration for Celebrating 30 Years of Columbia College Women all-day symposium

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Registration (Coffee and snacks will be available.)

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Welcome Remarks
Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Morning Keynote: Girls Who Thrive

Speakers:

  • Wanda M. Holland Greene CC’89 — Head of School, The Hamlin School; University Trustee
  • Claire Shipman CC’86 — Reporter, Author, University Trustee

“Be careful!” “Don’t get hurt!” “Be a good girl!” Girls have long been socialized to accept ways of being spoken to that can do considerable damage to their confidence and willingness to take risks, willingness to fail or fortitude to build grit — essential skills for success in the real world. This important discussion will consider alternative narratives we all can embrace that will encourage rule-breaking, imperfection and resilience in order to forge a new path forward.

Greene heads The Hamlin School, an all-girls independent school in San Francisco where students are taught to overcome inequities and challenge societal biases toward women. Shipman is a reporter and a co-author of The New York Times bestseller The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know, which observes the cultural norms and the science that affects how women behave differently than men and lays out an equation for confidence creation.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Morning Panel (Session A): Authenticity as Art

Speakers:

  • Lilly Burns CC’09 —Vice President and Head of Development, Jax Media
  • Selby Drummond CC’09 — Accessories Director, Vogue​
  • Tim Griffin CC’92 — Executive Director and Chief Curator, The Kitchen (moderator)

Women who display their true selves with confidence, brains and humor often exercise the most powerful form of feminism. The impeccable Anna Wintour, the incisively humorous Samantha Bee and the earthy but outspoken Oprah Winfrey are just a few examples of women who are singular in their professions yet altogether authentic. They advanced their point of view, putting forth a vision of a world that is more just and feminist. Their successes have made an indelible mark on the world. The panelists will discuss choices they've made that are authentic and have led to successful careers while advancing the work of feminism, as well as equality for all.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Morning Panel (Session B) : Women’s Rights are Just Right

Speakers:

  • Andrea Miller CC’89 — President, National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH)
  • Valerie Purdie-Vaughns CC’93 — Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia University
  • Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard CC’93 — Vice President, Associate General Counsel, BET
  • Mignon Moore CC'92 — Associate Professor, Sociology, Barnard College (moderator)

Many have contemplated whether the recent presidential election represented a rejection of women’s equality. Some argue that the election revealed the United States’ veiled misogyny while others believe the women’s movement simply needs to change its focus and messages to garner broader appeal. What is needed to inspire the groundswell support for a mainstream women’s movement? How can we encourage greater buy-in, as well as expose the misogyny that lurks in our society? How does linking women’s equality to racial equality strengthen both causes?

This provocative discussion will consider the ways to redefine and activate a women’s movement that will successfully advance the rights of women, an even more pressing issue today than ever before.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Morning Panel (Session C): The Many Choices Women Make

Please note, this morning session will conclude at 12:15pm.

Speakers:

  • Zila Acosta-Grimes CC’11 — Associate, Debevoise & Plimpton
  • Ellen Bossert CC’86 — Chief Marketing Officer, Cooledge Lighting
  • Joanne Kwong CC’97 — President, Pearl River Mart
  • Klancy Miller CC’96 — Author and Chef
  • Diane Orlinsky CC’88 — Partner at LadyDermDocs and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical School
  • Claire Shanley CC'92 — Associate Producer (moderator)

This interactive session will feature alumnae from different stages of life who’ve made varying personal and professional life choices. Many women wrestle with the tough choices between career and family, between passion and security, and even how to set their future on the right path early on. These successful panelists will share how the decisions they have made — deliberate and not — led them to lead complex and richly fulfilling lives.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Luncheon and Keynote: Why Coeducation Happened, and Why it Matters

Speakers:

  • Kyra Tirana Barry CC’87 — Chair and President Emerita of the Columbia College Alumni Association
  • Nancy Weiss Malkiel — Author of “Keep the Damned Women Out” and Professor of History, Emeritus, Princeton University
  • Linda Mischel Eisner CC’87 — Director of Special Projects, Columbia University
  • James J. Valentini — Dean of Columbia College, Vice President of Undergraduate Education

The prelude to coeducation at Columbia College was the flood of decisions regarding coeducation at other highly prestigious colleges and universities during 1969–74. The decision makers were not women, but rather, powerful men acting not out of altruism, not out of a moral commitment to educating women, but in what they perceived to be the strategic self-interest of their institutions. Why did this happen? What hurdles had to be overcome to open the doors of highly prestigious learning institutions to women? How well did coeducation work in its early years? And what can be learned from the fight for coeducation as we think about breaking through the barriers women continue to face in higher education, in their careers and in public life?

The keynote will be followed by brief remarks from two CC'87 leaders, Kyra Tirana Barry and Linda Mischel Eisner.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Afternoon Panel (Session A): Women in the News

Speakers:

  • Alexandra Wallace Creed CC’88 — Head of Video, Yahoo!
  • Lea Goldman CC’98 — Editor in Chief, Lifetime
  • Sara Just CC’88 — Executive Producer, PBS NewsHour, and Senior Vice President at WETA
  • Jodi Kantor CC’96 — Author and Journalist, The New York Times​
  • Leslie Gittess Brodsky CC’88 — CEO and Founder, Blue Sky Media (moderator)

Media plays a powerful role in shaping or reinforcing perceptions of women, their roles and their stories, something that was clearly revealed in the last year. These panelists — an investigative journalist, two news producers and an editor in chief — will discuss the ways that media influences how women are viewed, as well as how they, in their roles, take opportunities to redefine the stories being told so that everyone will look at women differently.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Afternoon Panel (Session B): The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Women

Speakers:

  • Francine Glick BC’77 — Owner, Water Journey Ltd. Hands2GO
  • Deborah Jackson BUS’80 — Founder, Entrepreneur and Investor, Plum Alley
  • Sara Sakowitz CC’18 — Founder and CEO, Blue Moon Box
  • Claire Theobald CC'88 — Co-Owner and Co-Founder, Beatrix New York
  • Sarah Holloway SIPA’03 — Director, Management & Lecturer in Discipline, SIPA (moderator)

Being a successful entrepreneur requires a certain mindset and determination to forge a path and create a disruptive venture. Four alumnae entrepreneurs from different generations, from varying walks of life and with various degrees discuss the spirit necessary to do what they do and the life lessons they learned.

This session is presented in partnership with the University-wide Columbia Alumni Association.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Afternoon Panel (Session C): Finding Success by Doing Good

Speakers:

  • Amy Brown CC’88 — Senior Program Officer, Ford Foundation
  • Margaret Traub CC’88 — Head of Global Initiatives, International Medical Corps
  • Sara Wolman CC’92 — Head of Partnerships, the LEGO Foundation
  • Shari Hyman CC’88 — President and Chief Operating Officer, Battery Park City Authority (moderator)

The focus on social responsibility in corporations and government is more pressing than ever and for these four alumnae, personal success means pursuing social impact through their day-to-day careers. By tying in their personal values, principles and beliefs into their daily work, this panel of inspiring alumnae is achieving real change as each shapes the world for the better. This engaging conversation will reveal their personal journeys into mission-based work and how they think about the many ways we can all create social change that really matters.

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM
Final Session: The Next 30 Years

Speakers:

  • Lisa Carnoy CC’89 — Division Executive, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management; University Trustee
  • Virginia Cornish CC’91 — Helena Rubinstein Professor of Chemistry (in Systems Biology), Columbia University Department of Chemistry
  • Marie Donoghue CC’87 — Executive Vice President, Global Business and Content Strategy, ESPN
  • James J. Valentini — Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education (moderator)

Admitting women to top institutions of higher education was a long and difficult struggle that now seems antiquated. Yet, outside of the academy, access for women to top levels of leadership continues to present hurdles for even the best and brightest women. These panelists have broken ground in their industries: finance, science and sports media. They will discuss their challenges and share their experiences as they worked to secure top positions, as well as will discuss what the next 30 years could look like. How will we — and Columbia — play a role in advancing change for ourselves and for successive generations of women to have an impact on our communities and on the world?

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Closing Cocktail Reception

Toast to the future of Columbia College Women!