Even After Wellesley, Alumnae Continue to Support and Mentor Each Other

June 12, 2018
Alumnae gather at a Career Ed event

In its first year, the Wellesley Hive has exceeded its goals in fostering professional and mentoring relationships among alumnae, said Christine Cruzvergara, associate provost and executive director for Career Education, during a June 8 networking session in the Knapp Atrium of Pendleton East. She reported that the Hive has so far registered 4,800 students and alumnae, resulting in more than 5,000 messages between students and alumnae and hundreds of lasting relationships.

A number of Wellesley alumnae are also focused on advising women after they have started their careers, providing encouragement and guidance as they move through transitions in their personal and professional lives. 

Bonnie Leonard ’59, a former dean of continuing education at Wellesley, runs a life coaching business with a focus on middle-aged women who are looking to make career and life transitions. After serving 20 years as dean, she retired from academia at age 65, but she decided she wasn’t ready to stop working; instead, she wrote a book, Midlife Magic: The 7 Day Self-Care Plan to Boost Your Energy and Make You Smile.

In a March 2, 2017, story in the New York Times, Leonard talked about women remaining in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age. “The fact is we’re living a lot longer, and we’re healthier,” she said. “So it makes total sense that people remain fully engaged.”

As an executive coach, Kristina Hallett ’84, author of Own Best Friend: Eight Steps to a Life of Purpose, Passion, and Ease, wants to inspire women to be more confident. “I have been working with women for over 25 years and the common theme of the critical internal voice getting in our way and sparking self-doubt is universal, which is also true for men, of course,” she said. “I wanted to do what I could to encourage women to recognize and use their true voice—to stop leaving themselves last on their list and to develop a strong sense of self-compassion. I believe that the changes we need in this world will be led by women, and this is how we start, one person at a time.”

Archana Ravichandran ’02 is working to encourage women to become senior leaders in their companies. She is the founder and host of the Unstoppable Women podcast, for which she interviews women about their career paths and leadership roles. “To me, it’s not about why, it’s why not,” she said. “Women make up 50 percent of the population and 50 percent of the entry-level work force—this ratio drops down to 30 percent at the VP level. Research indicates that women want to reach the ranks of senior leadership as much as men do. They do not opt out to have a family; they opt out because they don’t feel like they have an opportunity to progress. It’s about creating the same access to career success and economic opportunity for women.”