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...

Introducing the Distinguished Service Award

Although Cap and Gown is almost 110 years old, we still create new traditions as we grow and change. As stated in our by-laws, “The purpose of this organization shall be to honor and bring together women who have been constructively active in student affairs and the community so that as a group they may meet to maintain and serve the ideals of Stanford University.” This purpose guides our Actives as they select new members from the junior and senior classes each year. And, we know that we are exceptionally good at finding women who are active in service to Stanford and its ideals. How? Because we find Cap and Gown women involved in all types of organizations at Stanford and they are frequently recognized for their ongoing service to the University. This year, the Nominating and Executive Committees created a new Cap and Gown Distinguished Service Award to recognize members of Cap and Gown whose service not only fulfills Cap and Gown’s purpose but whose service also sustains Cap and Gown’s penultimate function: “To provide desired continuity to Cap and Gown and Stanford traditions; and to act as a bond between the classes of the past and present, enabling each to share the ideas and Interests of the other and to cooperate to achieve common goals.” At our Spring Brunch this year, we were delighted to honor two amazing women and awarded the first two Distinguished Service Awards to Jean Coblentz ’47 and Ellie Mansfield ’58, ’60. Jean Galt Coblentz  Jean Coblentz has often referred to herself as a “little old lady in tennis shoes.” That speaks more...

Cap and Gown in Paris

Paris is always a good idea.” Having been to Paris before, I never doubted this line that Audrey Hepburn delivers in the movie, Sabrina. However, I didn’t fully appreciate it until through a twist of events I found myself buying a Eurostar ticket from London to Paris this past July. I had tacked on a business trip to London to a family vacation in Greece and Turkey after my boss returned from her holiday in Paris and told me that I just had to go see these art exhibits in Paris. I could work from the London office for a few days and then go to Paris for the weekend. That’s hard to turn down. So I reconfigured my travels plans and bought a ticket to Paris with no plans for what to do when I would get there besides see a couple art exhibits. I was a bit nervous about not knowing anyone in Paris and searched through my Facebook friends to see if someone I knew had by chance moved to Paris and set my status to “looking for anyone who knows anyone in Paris.” Then it occurred to me that there was a larger network I could tap into: Cap and Gown alumnae. I asked Michelle Galloway if there were any Cap and Gown members in Paris and she connected me with Deborah Rubenstein, Class of 1989. I was delighted and a bit surprised when Deborah responded to my out-of-the-blue request to meet in Paris. We arranged to meet near the Boston Consulting Group office where Deborah manages EMEA marketing. Working in marketing myself, we had...