Mission: WE Lead seeks to engage Williams women equally in Alumni Fund leadership
Suzy Akin ‘84
Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications
The Park School
It took Suzy 20 years after graduating in 1984 to re-engage with Williams. After over a decade working in PR and marketing for Ralph Lauren, she ditched the fashion scene for the world of independent school education, working communications, alumni relations, and fundraising. She became a Williams associate agent after the class’s 20th reunion, and Head Agent after the 25th, but did little to change the Class of ’84’s habitually sleepy approach to Alumni Fund.
Then an anonymous classmate offered a $100K bonus to the class fund if the class reached 60% participation, and it changed everything. The clarity of the goal and the extraordinary gift at stake upon achieving energized and engaged the entire class. Suzy says, “There was no way we were going to leave that gift on the table. It’s a powerful thing to call a classmate and say, really, whatever amount you give, you’ll be helping us earn $100K for the college. We did this great thing together, and we were proud.” The Class of ’84’s Alumni Fund cycle has transformed, as the Class regularly surpasses its own participation goals and is among the top dollar raising classes at the college. “Once we did this together, it changed our whole sense of the impact we could have. It also changed our sense of connection to the college, and to each other.”
Suzy continues to support the class as an associate agent and Leadership Giving agent. She served on the Vice Chair committee for three years, and as Co-Chair of the Alumni Fund for two, work that provided many excuses to return to Williamstown without being accused of stalking her sons, Classes of ’16 and ’18. She’s excited to be part of the women’s leadership initiative, knowing that deepening leadership engagement among Williams women will bring as much personal value to the women involved as it brings to the students and the community.
Martha Coakley ‘75 - Former member
Martha served as the first female Attorney General of Massachusetts from 2007-2015. Her prior experience includes District Attorney of Middlesex County; Special Attorney, Boston Organized Crime Strike Force; and Resident Fellow, Harvard Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government. Martha has been a national leader in consumer protection and civil rights, among other areas. As an active member and then President of the Women’s Bar Association, Martha supported and participated in the §12S petition panel for young women needing counsel in Court.
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) recognized her outstanding accomplishments in 2014 when she received the Kelley-Wyman Award, given annually to the AG who has done the most to achieve NAAG objectives. Martha graduated from Williams College and the Boston University School of Law. She is a Partner in Foley Hoag’s Administrative Department where she focuses on government and internal investigations, litigation, data privacy and security, and healthcare.
Susan Costanzo ‘97
Strategy and Marketing Executive
Susan majored in English and Psychology at Williams, conducting her honors thesis on the topic of Gender and Identity Development under the guidance of Professor Phebe Cramer, who holds the distinction of being the first woman promoted to Full Professor. After graduating from Williams, Susan took a job at a small consulting firm specializing in loyalty marketing and thus began a 20 year marketing career. She graduated from the Yale School of Management in 2006 and has since worked across a number of industries for companies including Best Buy, FICO, United Health Group, and Coloplast.
After taking a sabbatical to make her dream trip to New Zealand at the beginning of 2018, she is now working on identifying her next career step. She still strongly gravitates toward the psychological side of any area of study and in business this translates to behavioral finance, behavioral economics, consumer behavior and insights and organizational behavior and leadership. Susan currently lives in Minneapolis.
Constance Rudnick Grayson '73
Connie graduated from Williams in 1973, after participating in the 12 college exchange and transferring from Mt. Holyoke. She says she is proudly one of 55 women to earn a Williams degree that year. She decided to exchange at Williams because she had both a relative and a family friend who were alums, and her father’s family was from the area. The transfer came with a marked change in focus, from pre-med to pre-law. Connie graduated cum laude with Honors in American Civilization and went immediately to Case Western Reserve School of Law, graduating in 1976 as a member of the academic honor society Order of the Coif, and the honorary oral advocacy society Order of Barristers.
Following a year as a law clerk in the Massachusetts Trial Court, Connie joined a boutique litigation firm in downtown Boston, originally specializing in criminal defense trials and appeals, later moving on to complex civil litigation. She then spent 25 years as a full-time faculty member at a non-traditional law school, teaching among other courses, Constitutional Law and Legal Ethics, while continuing her litigation practice. During her stint as a professor, she was appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to the Board of Bar Overseers which assists the Court in disciplining attorneys, and the Standing Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct, which advises the Court on the rules governing lawyer conduct.
Connie was an assistant class agent before retiring with her husband, an accomplished writer of marine and nautical history books and articles, to spend winters in Sanibel FL. After retiring, she began volunteering at and joined the Board of a non-profit based in Salem Massachusetts which serves urban public school students in middle school through high school and even into college. Connie is deeply involved in the group’s development efforts and volunteers with high school seniors, assisting them in preparing college applications, writing essays, and completing documents necessary for financial assistance.
Connie comes by her fundraising and philanthropy interests honestly. Her mother was a long-time member of the Board of Trustees of Skidmore College, her alma mater, where she spent years working with the Alumni Fund. When not on Sanibel, Connie and her husband, Stan, live in Marblehead Mass, where they sail a 21’ Pisces.
Tracy Heilman ‘88
Experienced Product & Strategy Executive
A true Midwesterner, Tracy came to Williams from Holland, Michigan, and has been in the Chicago area since graduating in 1988. She currently lives in Wilmette, Illinois with her husband, Ray, and two boys, Boden (13) and Luka (11), and Pismo, their Black Lab. They all try to spend as much time as possible on Thompson Lake in Maine.
Much of Tracy’s professional experience has involved growing small organizations and startups in the health technology industry. She has a history of designing and launching successful products with compelling user experiences, as well as creating effective consumer-facing, information-rich, interactive applications. Currently on hiatus, Tracy most recently served as VP of Product Innovation at Connecture, a health insurance and benefits platform company that acquired ConnectedHealth, where she spent 7 years helping to build the company and its products from the ground up. Prior to that, she co-founded Subimo, a start-up that developed a suite of healthcare transparency tools and was acquired by WebMD in 2006. Tracy’s experience also includes strategic planning and marketing consulting for health systems and providers. She holds a BA in Economics and Psychology from Williams, and an MBA in Finance, Marketing, and Health Services Management from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She would really like to be an artist when she grows up.
Tracy recently served as co-chair for the Williams College Alumni Fund, prior to which she served a three-year term as a vice chair. She is also a headagent for her class, and she has been active with various entrepreneurship activities at Williams. Tracy’s other volunteer passions include the Northwestern Settlement in Chicago and the BARKA Foundation, an NGO doing work in Burkina Faso and founded by a fellow Williams classmate.
Sheryl Bréa Lowenthal ’07
Sr. Director, Operational Economics, Digital Sales
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Sheryl graduated from Williams College in 2007 with a double major in Art History and Mathematics. While at Williams she was a member of the Women’s Varsity Swimming team and the Water Polo tea
Sheryl currently works at Liberty Mutual Insurance focused on improving the online sales customer experiences. By utilizing data driven insights, she works to help prioritize the technology and data investments, driving better decision making and operational effectiveness to create a best in class experience. Sheryl also helped develop the strategy and built an internal agency for Liberty Mutual, focused on helping meet customers needs when Liberty Mutual’s products were not able to. Previously, Sheryl worked for Mullen Lowe Advertising, providing media spend recommendations for companies across multiple industries including retail and financial
Sheryl resides in Somerville MA with her husband, Simon, and daughters, Emmaline and Madeleine. She is an active volunteer in both the work place and her community, recently joining the school PTA as Vice President. For Williams, Sheryl has volunteered as a Class Agent and has held multiple class officer positions, including most recently Class President.
Leigh Winter Martin ‘99
Head of Sales & Marketing
At Williams, Leigh was a member of the Gargoyle Society, a Junior Advisor, Mills House President, and Co-Chair of the Housing Committee. After stints on the JV soccer and novice crew teams, Leigh switched to and fell in love with rugby, serving as a two-year officer of the Williams Women’s Rugby Football Club. Since graduating, Leigh has served Williams as 15th Reunion Chair, Class President, Class Vice-President, a long-time Associate Class Agent, on Regional Alumni Associations in Boston and Chicago, the Nominating Committee for the Society of Alumni, and on the Executive Committee of the Society of Alumni. Most recently, Leigh served as co-chair of the Archival Subcommittee for the Society of Alumni Bicentennial, and fell deeply in love with archival research and storytelling.
Leigh met her husband Justin (Hamilton ’00) while getting her MBA at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and they live in Los Altos, CA with their three boys, Burke (10) and twins Keane and Trevor (8), and their dog Ace (1). Leigh is the Head of Sales & Marketing at Verdigris, helping to make buildings more energy efficient using AI and automation. Before that, Leigh led marketing teams at Liquid Robotics, Cisco, and AI/search startup Intellext, and spent several years at Mullen Lowe managing advertising campaigns for Nextel Communications.
Anne Melvin ‘85 - former member
Director of Training and Education, Alumni Affairs & Development, Harvard University
Principal, ATM Consulting
Anne has worked as both a volunteer and a professional in the field of development for over two decades, holding positions of increasing responsibility at various schools at Harvard University, including Harvard College, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard’s central University Development Office. In eight different positions at Harvard, her experience has run the gamut of development’s major functions, having career stops in the annual fund, major gifts, stewardship, gift planning, and operations. For the past four years, Anne has directed the fundraiser training and overall development education program at Harvard’s central development office.
Anne is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (NACGP), and the NACGP Leadership Institute. She speaks regularly around the country to professional development organizations specializing in donor motivation, gift solicitation, and other topics critical for successful frontline work. She trains non-profit development staff nationwide through her private practice, ATM Consulting. Among various volunteer activities, Anne serves on the boards of the Columbus Beach Club and Ethiopia Education Initiatives, Inc. and she fundraises for her alma mater. Prior to joining Harvard, Anne practiced real estate law in the Boston area. She is a cum laude graduate of Williams College and holds a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.
Veronica Mendiola ‘05
Vice President, Investor Relations
Veronica works in Investor Relations at Ares Management, an alternative asset manager in New York City. She graduated from Williams College in 2005 with a double major in English and Political Science and has spent her career in finance, transitioning between roles in investment banking, private banking and now, investor relations. In 2012, she graduated with an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
While at Williams, Veronica was involved in student government, serving as the Co-President of College Council, Committee Chair for the student activities club, All-Campus Entertainment, and a member of the Gargoyle Society. She performed with the Dance Company and the hip-hop group, Nothin’ but Cuties (NBC). Veronica was also employed by the student activities office as the first “Calendar Girl in Training” and loved the opportunity to help other students organize their events.
Since graduation, Veronica has served as a member of the Executive Committee for the Society of Alumni, the Williams Women in Finance Steering Committee and the Co-President of the New York City regional association.
Veronica currently lives in New York City with her husband, Andrew and daughter Gabriella.
Sarah Barger Ranney '02
Vice President, Account Management
Epsilon, part of Publicis Groupe
Sarah graduated from Williams College in 2002 with a double major in American Studies and Geosciences, and a concentration in Environmental Studies. While at Williams she was active in college leadership, serving on the Gargoyles and as the College Council Co-President among other positions. She also served on the board of the Williams Outing Club, and cherished her time leading hiking and snowshoeing treks as an antidote to college stress. As an alum, I served as the Reunion chair for my 5 year reunion, and on the Executive Committee for the Society of Alumni from 2008-2011, and more recently I participated in working groups to advise the Alumni Fund on millennial giving. Sarah is excited to get more involved in alumni engagement and giving as she gets ready for her 25th reunion in 2027.
Sarah has spent most of her career working in advertising and marketing. She currently works for data management company Epsilon, managing a large team of client-facing account managers.
She remains passionate about the environment, and serves in several volunteer roles that focus on the intersection of climate change and education policy: As the chair of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter's Climate Literacy Committee, she leads a team of educators and volunteers to develop climate-minded policy and curriculum within school districts.And as a new member of the City of Berkeley's Environment and Climate Commission, she advises City staff and council on climate policy, outreach, and communication
Sarah lives in Berkeley with her husband Mike and two kids, Jack (10) and Sammy (8), and a menagerie of pets that includes a dog and backyard chickens. In her spare time she loves spending time with family and friends, reading, and running.
Michele Rogers ‘79 P‘04
Director, Chicago Partnerships & Clinical Assistant Professor
Kellogg School, Northwestern University
Michele earned her BA at Williams College and MBA at Harvard Business School (HBS). Her work experience includes a manufacturing startup, selection management, management consulting, teaching, and nonprofit management. She worked in labor relations at Cummins Engine Co (IN), later moving to a startup with Cummins and JI Case (Consolidated Diesel Co.) in North Carolina. After earning her MBA, she worked in admissions at HBS before moving to Chicago with a boutique consulting firm.
Michele joined Northwestern University’s Kellogg School to recruit the inaugural class of the Master in Management and Manufacturing (MMM). Afterwards, she directed graduate admissions and financial aid for Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism before returning to Kellogg as assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, then academic affairs, followed by development of Kellogg’s experiential learning program, and now in executive education as an assistant professor and liaison to Chicagoland nonprofit organizations.
Michele serves on school, community and youth-related boards, and on the advisory board of a chemical manufacturing plant. She enjoys theater, sporting events, movies, and reading. Michele has two “very cool” daughters – Akilah ’04 and Ariel.
Maggie Shilling '18
Student, Harvard Premedical Program
Clinical Assistant, Boston Children’s Hospital
Research Staff, NYU Infant Action Lab
Hailing from Lincoln, MA, Maggie moved just one hour west at each chance she had – first, attending Deerfield Academy, then moving another hour west to Williamstown. Maggie played field hockey at Williams and majored in Psychology. You could often find her studying at Tunnel City Coffee or hanging with Prof. Zimmerberg’s rats in the lab. She (reluctantly) left the Purple Valley in 2018, where she moved to NYC for two years. There, she had a brief stint as a market research consultant at HawkPartners before moving into developmental research at the NYU Infant Action Lab. While she continues to work on her research (ask her about infants’ movement in their homes!), she now attends a post-baccalaureate program, preparing for her Spring 2023 applications to medical school. She also works part-time as a clinical assistant in cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. As you can tell, babies and children are key figures in her life!
Maggie’s interest in philanthropy was fostered by her parents, particularly her mom, Kiki ’89, who spent her junior year of college at Williams and is a proud member of The W. Maggie’s work as a Head Agent and a Vice Chair member have only continued to inspire her
philanthropically. In fact, Maggie first heard about WE Lead and The W during Vice Chair meetings, and she loved the initiative so much that she got her mom Kiki, who attended Williams exactly 30 years prior to Maggie’s graduation, on board. They love supporting and encouraging women in philanthropy, particularly at Williams, as improving top notch and accessible education is a major philanthropic goal of theirs. And they love supporting Williams together – they both bleed purple and are die-hard Ephs!
Maggie currently lives in Boston with her pet bunny, Poppy (inquire within for the story behind her), just a couple floors below her brother Reid, Amherst ’21 (ick!). She loves skiing, playing tennis, needlepointing, hosting dinner parties, and watching reality tv – most happily beside her goldendoodles, Buster and Blue.
Lee Shackelford ‘80
Lee lives in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. She majored in Political Science and Biology while at Williams. She received her MD from the Ohio State University where she completed residencies in Adult and Child Psychiatry.
Lee started practicing yoga nine years ago and is now a certified yoga teacher. She is specifically interested in using yoga to benefit survivors of trauma and for the self-care of medical professionals. Lee enjoys attending the concerts of Promusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus. She regularly visits daughter Natalie ’14 and son Rob in the Bay Area and Ellie’s family in Philly, including granddaughter, Lucy.
Haley Tone ‘07
Haley graduated from Williams College in 2007 with a major in Art History and a concentration in Environmental Studies. While at Williams she was a leader of the Dance Company and was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship for Creative Achievement in Dance her senior year. Haley also worked as a teaching assistant and tour guide throughout her years on campus.
Haley currently works as a real estate agent in the exciting housing market that is the San Francisco Bay Area. Representing both buyers and sellers, Haley consistently ranks among the top producing agents in San Francisco, and was recognized as Luxe SF’s Bay Area Rising Star for 2019. Previously, Haley managed commercial office and retail leasing at the Ferry Building, a historic building on the San Francisco waterfront. The Ferry Building Marketplace is an artisan food destination that draws over six million visitors per year.
Haley volunteers extensively in non-profits focused on the arts and the environment. She recently served as the President of the Board of Trustees of Marin Ballet, a ballet school in Marin County of which she is an alumna, as well as the Vice-President of the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, a foundation focused on giving in the areas of environmental education, sustainability, and the arts. For Williams, Haley has volunteered as a Class Agent, Co-Chair of the Biggest Little Challenge, and currently serves as Co-Head Agent for the Class of 2007. As Co-Head Agent Haley increased class participation by over 25% and was awarded the Class of 1926 Trophy for most dollars raised by a young alumni class in 2017.
Haley lives in San Francisco with her husband, Riley Maddox ’08, and their two children.
Zhaoning (Nancy) Wang ‘11
Originally from Beijing, China, Zhaoning (Nancy) Wang graduated from Williams College with a bachelor’s degree with Highest Honors in Economics and Mathematics in 2011. She then obtained her Ph.D. degree in Economics from Harvard University in 2016 and currently works as a Senior Economist at one of the largest economic consulting firms in the world. Her professional expertise spans multiple practice areas, including antitrust matters, intellectual property, structured finance, healthcare litigation, commercial disputes, and regulatory investigations. She has also conducted research and written extensively on issues related to corporate finance and development economics.
Nancy’s Williams experience has shaped her life in tremendous ways. As the head agent for her class since graduation, Nancy has helped raise nearly $200,000 from 84 percent of her class in ten years. She also takes a particular interest in education-related topics. In 2014, she published a book (originally written in Chinese), The Ivy in the Mountains, where she discussed her thoughts and observations of the American liberal arts education through the lens of her Williams experience. Prefaced by former President of Williams, Morton Schapiro, this book has been well received by students, parents, and educators in China. In June 2019, Nancy established the Zhaoning Wang 2011 Scholarship as a way to “pay it back” and “pay it forward”—acknowledging the invaluable support she has received in her earlier years and providing continued financial assistance to future generations of Williams College.
In addition, Nancy enjoys playing the piano/guitar, listening to classical music, and practicing yoga. During non-COVID times, she is an avid international traveler and has set foot in more than ten countries across four continents.