Liberal Arts alumnae to return for women’s leadership, networking events

October 11, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of the Liberal Arts will hold its third annual "Penn State Women: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow" panel and networking reception on Nov. 8 and one-on-one meetings with alumnae the following morning. Students of all majors are invited to attend.

Focused on the theme of empowering young women to aspire to leadership roles, the event gives current students a unique opportunity to network with successful Penn State alumnae and other student attendees.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, the six alumnae will hold a panel presentation and question-and-answer session in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium. They will discuss their successes in their respective fields and the challenges they have faced along the way. The women come from a variety of fields and provide a broad perspective of leadership. Nancy Tuana, DuPont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies and founding director of the Rock Ethics Institute, will moderate the discussion, which is free and open to the public.

Following the panel will be a networking reception in the Mann Assembly Room (103 Paterno Library) where students will get to mingle with alumnae while enjoying refreshments.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, students who signed up in advance will have the chance to meet individually with a specific alumna. These meetings will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Bank of America Career Services Center. During these meetings, students will be able to share their career and leadership aspirations and get résumé suggestions and interview tips.

The following Liberal Arts alumnae are scheduled to participate in the events.

— Angela Guy (’78, psychology), is the senior vice president for diversity and inclusion at L’Oreal USA. She is responsible for shaping the diversity efforts for the world’s leading beauty company as a business imperative that highlights the value of all forms of beauty while respecting and reflecting the differences of our rapidly changing marketplace. When asked why she volunteered to be on the panel, Guy cited the importance of student interaction with alumni. She hopes that students gain insights into how Penn State influenced and supported alumni in their life and career experiences but also recognizes that alumni can gain a “new and relevant perspective” from the students.

— Karen Hershenson (’93, speech communication), is the Innovation Leader for the clay street project at Procter & Gamble. She is responsible for the management of this project, a human innovation lab where teams and leaders learn how to deliver innovative solutions grounded in deep human insights, and to unleash the potential of their teams. When asked about the importance of coming back to campus to speak, Hershenson stated a need for students to see that there are different ways to define success and many paths to achieve that success. She hopes that hearing the alumnae’s stories encourages students to try things they haven’t yet considered.

— Sandra Hillman (’63, arts and letters) is president of Sandy Hillman Communications. She is a hands-on manager of her own communications firm, where she is responsible for maintaining high-level client service and for motivating her team to perform at their best. When asked about the significance of the panel, Hillman stated that “there is no substitute for the voice of experience,” and cited the obligation of those who enjoy richly rewarding careers to pass on their knowledge and inspirations. She also noted a personal commitment to supporting women in the workplace, as a first-generation college student who wants to pass on the message of empowerment that she was raised with.

— Debbie Montick (’80, political science), is the managing director of Patomak Global Partners. As a consultant in a securities regulatory advisory firm, she focuses on governance and compliance for global financial services companies. She leads project teams in conducting reviews and making recommendations for policies and procedures that prevent and detect violations of laws, regulations and codes of conduct. Montick emphasizes networking and the skills that it can provide female students who seek leadership. She says that any female student who aspires to hold a leadership role should “speak to other successful women to discern what skills those women used to advance in their roles and ultimately to lead.”

— Mary Beth Spang (’15, English, Spanish and linguistics), is an assistant director of development for the College of Education at Penn State. She works with alumni and friends of the college to strengthen their relationship to Penn State, while securing significant philanthropic support for students and faculty. When asked about her choice to participate in the panel, Spang said it’s important to see what success looks like at different stages of one’s life and career and that it’s good to recognize that it’s not the same for everyone. Her message to students: “You’re in the best place possible (Penn State) to make decisions about what success may look like to you in your lifetime and how to achieve that desired success.

— Binney Wietlisbach (’85, psychology), is president of The Haverford Trust. She is responsible for the day-to-day management and strategic growth of a $7+ billion wealth advisory business. When asked why she agreed to play such an integral part in this event, Wietlisbach recognized the importance of giving students the opportunity to see successful women and be able to connect some core elements of the panelists’ journeys with their own.

Additional details, including alumnae bios and registration information, can be found at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 12, 2017