What does Hillary losing mean for women leaders?

Back in 2008 a relatively unknown woman took the national political stage as the chosen vice presidential candidate. The world waited with baited breath to find out who she was. She appeared on that stage calm and collected—an everyday woman in a well-tailored skirt suit—unabashedly feminine. She was immediately labeled a soccer mom, but she was in the position of a leader. In that moment, I remember thinking how much more appealing she was than Hillary Clinton. I admired how she embraced her femininity and didn’t apologize for it. She sounded intelligent and relatable, that was until she opened her mouth without a teleprompter… By the end of that election cycle, I did not find her to be a compelling politician, but that one speech gave me a glimmer of what leadership could look like in a skirt. Fast forward eight years and America was given the choice to elect a female leader—not just as vice president, but as president. While it is difficult to flesh out a political resume for Sarah Palin, the opposite is the case for Hillary Clinton. She has been called the most qualified person to ever win a major political party’s nomination in the US. Hillary was prepared. She had binders full of policies and plans to execute, and she lost. Fast forward eight years and my appreciation for Hillary as a leader has grown. This election has brought her supporters out of the woodwork to applaud her relational leadership style and call attention to her approval ratings when she is doing a job as opposed to asking for a raise. I’ve now had...

My Long, Wonderful Life

by Margaret Strong At age ninety-four as the future shrinks and I contemplate my long, wonderful life I am struck by how completely Stanford has been woven into the fabric of that existence.  My father was one of Jane Stanford’s “poor boys” who graduated from Stanford in 1914.  He attended Stanford because his high school English teacher, Miss Post, who was among the first women to graduate from Stanford, recognized in him a keen intelligence and love of learning.  She also knew that he, like most young men then, assumed he would go to work and be self-supporting when he graduated from high school.  She convinced him that attending college was possible, particularly at Stanford. Armed with his Stanford degree my father found work opportunities that would not have been open to him without it.  Inspired by the efforts of Miss Post on his behalf, she became the role model he held up to his two daughters.  At a time when high school graduation marked the end of most girls’ formal education, my sister and I grew up knowing from the time we could remember that we were going to Stanford. Living in first Gilroy, and then Palo Alto, made frequent visits to the campus possible, including going to all the major football games; we had a sense of belonging long before we actually enrolled.  This feeling was reinforced by the Stanford Alumni Club’s frequent, family oriented social functions. My sister graduated before me and I saw her obtain a prized teaching position at the height of the depression because of her Stanford degrees.  Being selected to be a...

Searching for the Next President of Stanford: A Conversation with Kathy Chou

by Erica Toews When John Hennessy announced that he would step down as the president of Stanford after sixteen years, Kathy Chou and eighteen others on the Presidential Search Committee were tasked with selecting the eleventh president of the university. The Committee ultimately chose Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University and former Stanford faculty member, to become Hennessy’s successor. Kathy called serving on the Committee “a once-in-a-lifetime experience” and emphasized “how rare of an opportunity it is and also how rare to have someone from Cap and Gown be able to do that.” The amount of time and work required of the members amounted to “a full time job”. Fortunately, Kathy had just stepped down as senior vice president of sales strategy and operations at Informatica to take a role at VMware and hadn’t started her new job yet. The Committee consisted of eleven men and eight women. There were eight Stanford Trustees, seven faculty members, one staff member, one undergraduate, one graduate student, and Kathy representing the alumni. They met almost every weekend for five months, from September through February. To gather initial data, the Committee conducted informational interviews with over 130 people at high-level educational institutions, including Stanford faculty members and presidents of other universities. They asked “three very simple questions: one, what was their understanding of Stanford’s challenges and opportunities? Two, what were the characteristics of what they would look for in the next president of Stanford? Three, who do they suggest?” Next, they engaged “a search firm, but not in the traditional way at all. In fact, we really were the search firm, the...

Cap and Gown in Los Angeles

Our LA 110 Celebration gathering was held on March 26th, 2016, hostessed by Sheenie Ambardar, ’99, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in Beverly Hills and Malibu with a boutique private practice called ‘The Happiness Psychiatrist’. She combines Eastern and Western philosophies in the treatment of mood disorders. In addition to medication management, she incorporates meditation, kundalini yoga, and walking therapy into her sessions. Sheenie opened her beautiful apartment in Century City for our pot luck luncheon. We shared time, stories, and the opportunity to enjoy the cherished Cap and Gown membership.  Ten women joined us with several others offering to host additional meetings in and around the LA area. The women came from classes in the 1960s (2), 70s (1), 90s (2), 00’s (3), and 10s (4).  Celebrating Cap and Gown’s 110 years at Stanford, our across decade conversations were richly marked by laughter and connecting one another to new resources such as Boysen PoChan’s (’63) knitting sock pattern, and Isabella Tang’s (’11) website with her newest songs as writer and performer. Old interests were enlivened and new interests shared, the    across generation support, as always, brings a foundation to our Cap and Gown community that can’t be duplicated. We are all grateful to be Cap and Gown women.  (P.S.  Sheenie’s mirrored wall even captured our photographer,...

A Sweeping Liberal Arts Education

By Marcia Cohn Growdon, ’67 PhD’76 I particularly like the question, how did you find your way into your field.  There is a slightly worn saying, life is what happens while you are making other plans.  A child of Sputnik, I, like so many others, began to focus on the sciences in high school.  I loved biology, which in the early 1960s was still botany and zoology.  I came to Stanford as a biology major.  But I was also really eager to go to Stanford-in-France.  My father, class of ’25, only made one suggestion about my education, which was that to prepare for Europe, I should take the art history survey courses – the same ones he had taken forty years before!  So I did that at the beginning of my Sophomore year.  I was stunned at how the sweep of visual history appealed to me, and I was equally thrilled at how well I did in the classes.  There was a dramatic contrast between how natural the visual arts felt, compared to how I was struggling in organic chemistry and the brand new human biology series.  A three-quarter break, with almost eight months in Europe made it clear to me that art history was my future.  Three degrees later, I did, suddenly, have to pause again.  After helping my husband start a retail computer business, I welcomed an opportunity to be part of the institution that became the Nevada Museum of Art.  As a curator, as a director, I had come home.  I later taught the “pyramids to Picasso” survey courses at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Throughout...

The Science and Art

by Mercedes Gail Gutierrez I started as a scientist and graduated a scientist and an artist. After sophomore quarters in Stanford in France, Group VIII, on the advice of my advisor, I switched majors from Pre-Med to Studio Art. The switch from the sciences to the Humanities had begun in France where I had to prove theories personally than on laboratory observation, chemical laws and proven formulae. Studio Art may sound like fun and play, but making art is agonizingly challenging. It utilizes both sides of my brain, scientific and aesthetic. It is a full- time job, filled with painful moments and days perfecting techniques, planning and some days looking and questioning, but when it is right it is glorious. Before I was twenty-seven, I spent a year on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship in Madrid, completed a Masters in Sculpture at U. C. Berkeley in 1971, and showed in Bay Area museums and galleries. I have continued making and showing art in a series of solo shows all over the United States and the world. Opportunities just open up. After an intense creative period a hiatus occurs when I have used up what I need to say. There may be years of smaller works, projects, teaching, and learning to maintain a visual edge, until the next burst of creative focus occurs usually in a new medium or genre. I stayed married to my Stanford beau, raised three outstanding children, taught Western Civilization and World History at local colleges and at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and volunteered doing social action programs in the communities where I lived. After 20 years as the Arts Program Administrator for the statewide multi-disciplinary Fine Arts program in adult prisons, Arts-in-Corrections, California Department of Corrections...