Conference speakers, from left, top row: Valerie Jarrett, Jeannine LaRue, Mary E. Marchetta O’Dowd ’99, Amy B. Mansue, Pamela Brug ’84; center, Elizabeth Ryan, Sheila Y. Oliver, Kim Guadagno, Beth Lawlor, Julie Maloney; bottom, Ferris Olin ‘70, Michele Hudgins Ozumba ‘73, Lora L. Fong ‘79, Debra Grey White, Stefanie Lachenauer ’06.

Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

Hilton East Brunswick Hotel & Executive Meeting Center | 3 Tower Center Blvd, East Brunswick, NJ

Choose from a variety of inspiring breakout workshop sessions presented by outstanding speakers throughout the day. Explore mindfulness, tips about how to take time for reflection, plus networking with presenters and participants. Special thanks our conference benefactor the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Inc.

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Conference Program

Keynote Speaker: “Finding My Voice”
Valerie Jarrett, Chief Executive Officer, the Obama Foundation

Moderator Jennifer Lewis-Hall ’85
Early in her career, Valerie Jarrett was painfully shy and intent on following her “plan.” In this conversation, Valerie will discuss how she found her voice, leaned into life’s “zig-zags,” and became the longest serving advisor to President Obama. Jarrett’s work included promoting equality for women and girls, advancing civil rights, reforming the criminal justice system, and improving the lives of working families. Jarrett uses her voice in her forthright, optimistic perspective on the importance of leadership and the responsibilities of citizenship in the twenty-first century, inspiring the audience to lift their own voices.

Special Guest Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway
Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway, who will be attending together with his wife Aisling Colón, will deliver remarks at the conference. Dr. Holloway was appointed the 21st president of Rutgers in 2020 and is an eminent historian specializing in post-emancipation United States history with a focus on social and intellectual history. He is the author of several books, most recently The Cause of Freedom: A Concise History of African Americans, published in 2021.

We Won’t Go Back: Better Healthcare After the Lockdown
Jeannine LaRue, Moderator; Panelists Mary E. Marchetta O’Dowd ‘99, Amy B. Mansue, Dr. Pamela Brug ’84, Elizabeth Ryan
Our panelists will discuss: How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we view mental health, telemedicine and the use of healthcare apps? How do we leverage these changes in a positive way to get better access to health care services? How do we self-advocate and get taken seriously in health care?

Fireside Chat with New Jersey Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver and Former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno with Moderator Ashley C. Sawyer ’10, Esq.
Sharing the stage for the first time, New Jersey’s only two Lieutenant Governors share a look at how women have progressed – or not – in the political arena. They will provide insights and perspective about barriers that still exist for women in politics and share how they overcame challenges on their political path.

Women and Wealth
Session One (morning): Invest in You: Grow Your Future
Session Two (afternoon): Are You Ready?: It’s Never Too Late
Presented by Beth Lawlor

Session one and session two span empower women, from new careers to experienced, and to those approaching or in retirement, to be engaged in your finances. We will discuss how to make the most of what you earn, spend, and save and how to be  independent.

Writing As A Life Tool
Presented by Julie Maloney
Women need an opportunity to express themselves and writing can be a powerful tool. Writing helps us define, clarify, and demystify what we didn’t know we knew, and build confidence. This workshop will emphasize the power of each person’s distinct voice through writing. Whether interested in writing for an audience or for one’s personal exploration, we will explore the validity in both and why using writing as a life tool makes sense.

Thawing the “Chilly Climate:” The Female Presence in the Visual Arts
Presented by Dr. Ferris Olin ‘70
This illustrated presentation will introduce contemporary women artists and discuss women’s leadership in the arts as collectors and museum directors, providing evidence that women are active participants in all aspects of the art world.

The Journey Matters More Than the Destination
Presented by Michele Hudgins Ozumba ’73
Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments, Rose Kennedy once said. When we think of life’s destination, it is often seen as an endpoint. However, the many things we do and experience along the way shows us what kind of person we become. Engage in our conversation about life’s journey and the ways in which it defines who we are, rather than what we are.

Beyond the Buzzwords – Demystifying Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Featuring Lora L. Fong ‘79
This session provides a judgement-free safe space and is aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of how we can all benefit from DEI initiatives, and how to incorporate those lessons into our personal experiences.

“The Personal is Political: We’re Not in South Carolina Anymore, Toto”
Presented by Dr. Deborah Gray White
The speaker’s grandmother, Lillie Hines, was born around 1899 to a cotton sharecropping family in rural South Carolina. She never went to school, married when she was only 14 years old, and had ten pregnancies. Born in 1918, the speaker’s mother, Florence, Lillie’s oldest surviving daughter, graduated from the Colored High School of McColl, SC, migrated to New York City where she became a domestic worker, and had eight fewer pregnancies than her mother. Two generations removed from cotton picking and illiteracy, our speaker holds a PhD and chaired professorship at Rutgers University. While she notes that her family history is unique in many respects, it nevertheless charts the progress and history of most American women during the twentieth century. Our presenter will share her personal history as she tells a story about American women’s education, career opportunities, and personal autonomy during the twentieth century.

Mindful Moment Breaks
Presented by Stefanie Lachenauer ‘06
Enjoy the journey of taking time for yourself, living in the moment, and reflecting on the experience. Embrace these mindful moment breaks throughout the day so you can be the best you!

AADC 100th Anniversary
Women’s Conference Planning Committee
Amanda A. Hugelmeyer ’04, Chair; Stephanie Cayne ’89, Beverly McCummings Canady ’81, Coretta Graham ’93, Sheridan Quarless Kingsberry ’79, Sheryl Krongold ’89, Alexcia Mikell ’90, Justine Reuben Luque ’03, Leigh Brodsky-Schubert ’04, Tiffany E.M. Toliver ’04; Karen Lynch ’89, Alumnae Engagement Chair; Lizethe Martinez ’13, Staff Liaison; Jeanne Fox ’75, AADC President; Valerie L. Anderson ’81, AADC Executive Director
To get involved, please contact Lizethe Martinez ’13 at lmartinez@douglassalumnae.org