We continued the celebration of our 100th anniversary and honored National Women’s History Month, as our AADC community gathered for a full program of powerful and inspiring presenters at our Women Moving Forward conference hosted in person at the Hilton East Brunswick Hotel & Executive Meeting Center on March 18, 2023. Special thanks to conference benefactor the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Inc. and Laura Zagoren Baron ’70.

On behalf of the entire AADC 100th Anniversary Women’s Conference Planning Committee, Chair Amanda Hugelmeyer ’04 welcomed nearly 250 alumnae, friends, community partners, the Rutgers community and the public. We proudly featured keynote Valerie Jarrett , the dynamic and influential Chief Executive Officer of the Obama Foundation. Thank you to Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway, who attended together with his wife Aisling Colón, for sharing remarks at the conference. We also thank all of the presenters and panelists, who shared their time, talents and inspired us!

Enjoy our photo album from the conference at Douglass Alumnae on Flickr, click here.

Schedule at a Glance, click here.

Speaker Bios, click here

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 (Session is full)
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 (Session is full)
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
Presented by 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.

Cybersecurity and Digital Trust in 2023
Presented by Charlene Brown ’73, Bindu Sundaresan and Catherine Watson

The desired outcome of cybersecurity is trust in the business and its brand. Since all businesses today are digital, organizations must focus on establishing and maintaining digital trust—ensuring that customers, employees, citizens (or governments), and investors trust the business and all related products and digital services. When digital trust is lost (say, due to a data breach), many consumers and constituents will lose faith and may think twice about conducting business. Digital trust in humans and machines is the ultimate goal of any corporate leader to ensure the business and its services are trusted. In this panel, we will discuss the escalating threat landscape in the cyberspace and some of the easy wins we can help accomplish as a community when we equate cybersecurity to safety and digital trust.

“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 ’79, 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