IMG_3957 Just a few weeks ago, over 70 Wake Forest women of all ages and backgrounds gathered for “In the Wake of Success: A Women’s Guide to the Top,” an evening of discussion and networking in the new Charlotte Center. Patricia Zoder (’94, MBA ’03) kicked off the night of thoughtful dialogue, welcoming the alumnae (and a few students), and introducing each of the break-out session moderators.


The ladies, sipping wine and sampling hors d’oeuvres, then moved to their assigned rooms to discuss topics that includedbeing a woman in the workplace, passion vs. practicality, and the ever-sticky issue of work/life balance. Women attended two break-out sessions, and then took a few minutes to refresh their plates and beverages.

Next everyone gathered for a lively panel moderated by Maria Henson (’82), Associate VP and Editor-at-Large and legend among many of her classmates in attendance. (See here for more information on the moderators and panelists.) The panel of successful women covered many of the same issues discussed in the break-out sessions. However, it focused on a few questions relevant to many of the younger ladies in attendance, one of which included, “How long do you have to do what you have to do, before you are able to pursue what you want to do?” Perhaps the most humorous moment of the evening was Melenie Lankau’s “hamburger” analogy for taking on too many responsibilities. You’ll have to ask someone who was there for more details!


And did all the panelists agree on all of the questions? Not at all! For about 10 – 15 minutes , the panelists debated if and how a young woman should approach a professionally successful woman to mentor her. While Mary Tribble (’82) said she’d rather seek out her mentee, both Lisa Quisenberry (’81, MBA ’84) and Shannan Townsend (’87) seemed much more amenable to assisting aspiring career women. Their caveat? Make sure you’ve done your research, know what you are talking about, and already have some experience to back up your questions.

In the Wake of Success highlighted a particular need: a time and place for women to gather and openly discuss complex questions, and learn from one another what it means to be a woman, both personally and professionally. It’s clear that Wake Forest women have already charted the course and are well prepared to help younger Wake Forest ladies navigate their next steps.

(In the Wake of Success was also featured on the Schools of Business website.)

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