WCLA Board Members for the 2019-2020 Academic Year
President: Lori Dreischmeier '86
Lori graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in English (including a year of study in Paris) and has an MFA in film from USC. She has incorporated her love for storytelling and media into her work as an executive assistant to entrepreneurs and CEOs in the tech and media industries. It’s an exciting space, and she enjoys being of service and using her skills for executive support, project management, planning events and arranging travel. She is presently actively looking for a new position as well as beginning to create her own vlog where she can discuss her favorite subjects: beauty, health, faith, relationships and entrepreneurship.
Lori previously served as the WCLA Vice President in 2003-2004 and as the Wellesley Class of 1986 Reunion Record Book Chair in 2010-2011. Her Wellesley community has been essential to establishing her home in LA; she is committed to encouraging connections between SoCal alumnae as well as between alumnae and the College, particularly in the areas of career growth and transition. A Midwestern native (born and raised in Wisconsin) who is comfortable on both the East and West Coasts and who has a deep affection for London and Paris, Lori loves living in Santa Monica. In her free time she enjoyed Bar Method classes, tennis, dancing, farmer's markets, cooking, entertaining and events (film, music, and sports).
Vice President: Brenna Vredeveld '05
Brenna majored in Environmental Studies at Wellesley. She has since earned her Masters in Environmental Science and worked in both the States and Latin America on integrated natural resources planning, conservation and development project design, and environmental regulatory compliance. She is currently a Senior Biologist at Rincon Consultants. A native of Georgia and Tennessee, Brenna relocated to southern California in 2010. She's excited to be a new member of the WCLA Board, having joined in 2017 upon moving to Los Angeles. You can often find her out hiking and camping in the local mountains, biking around the city, playing squash, or practicing her Spanish.
Secretary & Website Editor: Anneliese Klein '15
Co-Treasurer: Emily Peters '09
Co-Treasurer & Wellesley Circles Co-Chair: Jocelyn Williams '86
Website/IT Manager: Sessen Mengist '15
Sessen graduated with a major in Computer Science and a minor in English. While at Wellesley, she worked in the Wellesley Community Children's Center and served on the Slater International Board. Since graduating, she has worked as Tech Support for a software company based in Minnesota. She moved to Los Angeles in late 2018 in hopes of becoming a TV writer. You can usually find her streaming shows when she really should be writing.
Holiday Party Chair & Past Vice President: Erin Copenbarger '95
Erin graduated with a BA in History from Wellesley and went on to get her MPhil in Medieval History from Cambridge University in 1996. After a few years working in the finance sector, she became a teacher and is now an Instructional Coach to new teachers at a larger charter high school in Los Angeles. She served as WCLA's President for two years from 2011 to 2012 and is happy to have time to devote to the Club again.
Alumnae Admission Representative (AAR), LA: Belinda Tepper '71
Belinda graduated with a B.A. in Latin. She worked in I.T. until retirement in 2005 and earned an M.B.A. from Washington University (St. Louis). Belinda is part of the WCLA Book Group. She and Bruce (Dartmouth '71) have two children and four small grandsons they regularly visit in Astoria, Queens and San Francisco. She is also Class Secretary and her class will celebrate 50 years in 2021.
Alumnae Admission Representative (AAR), OC: Rachel Newman '08
Rachel majored in English and Art History while at Wellesley and is now a resident in Ob/Gyn at UC Irvine. She's been involved with Wellesley admissions since graduating and is looking forward to continuing to strengthen the community from the West Coast. In her time off, she enjoys taking her dog for hikes, skiing, and hosting dinner parties.
Book Award Chair: Alexandra Nagourney '13
Alex graduated with a major in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. She moved to New York to begin her career in Telecom, Media, and Tech Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank. After completing the analyst program, Alex moved Los Angeles to work as a Strategy Associate at Netflix, where she has been for two and a half years. In her free time, Alex enjoys cooking, working out, traveling, and exploring LA.
Newsletter Editor (Communications): Beth Schaaf '11
Beth was a double major in Economics and Cinema & Media studies. During a gap year following her third year at Wellesley, she worked as an intern on the Richard Linklater film Boyhood. While at Wellesley, she worked as a student assistant in the Economics Department and participated in the College's American Cities Program internship in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in Writing for the Screen & Stage from Northwestern University. When she's not writing, rewriting, or stressing about writing, Beth loves attending estate sales and working on her vintage Etsy store.
Communications Editor:Lisa Valera '12
Photographer & Photo Curator (Communications): Regina Hsu '09
Social Media Manager (Communications): Mai Perches '10
Young Alumnae Co-Representative: Rachel Thommen '17
Rachel is a biology major and a chemistry minor from Los Angeles, California. At Wellesley, she danced with Wellesley Freestyle and spent much of her free time in a ceramics studio. Currently a medical receptionist at the Conejo Free Clinic and a tutor, Rachel is pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. She is looking forward to serving as the Los Angeles Area Young Alumnae Coordinator in addition to her role as Alumnae President for the Class of 2017.
Young Alumnae Co-Representative: Nicole Gebriel '12
Day to Make a Difference & Community Service Chair: Charlotte Kiang '13
Charlotte graduated from Wellesley with a degree in mathematics before receiving her master's degree in engineering from Cornell. Since then, she has been working as an aerospace engineer and recently moved to Los Angeles to work in Mission Management at SpaceX. She is looking forward to serving as the Board's Community Service Chair and to becoming more involved with the Wellesley community in Los Angeles.
Membership Co-Chair: Nisha Bedi Donley '10
Membership Co-Chair: Connie Su '09
Wellesley Circles Co-Chair: Ilene Tsui '10
Wellesley Circles Co-Chair - LA: Victoria George '05
Wellesley Circles Co-Chair - LA/South Bay: Lily Kim '06
Wellesley Circles Co-Chair - OC: Ashtyn Coleman '17
Ashtyn, a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, graduated from Wellesley in 2017 with a degree in economics. While at Wellesley, she was a member of the Softball team and worked in the Athletics department. After graduation, she stayed in Boston to work with Merrill Lynch's GWIM group and in 2018 she moved to Orange County after accepting a position with a private equity group. She looks forward to serving on the board and becoming more involved with the Wellesley community in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Wellesley Circles Co-Chair - OC: Kyhm Penfil '87
Kyhm graduated with a degree in Art History and worked as an art historian at Wildenstein in New York for several years before earning her JD from USC's Gould School of Law. Kyhm's legal career includes over a decade in private practice, culminating as a partner at Irell & Manella, and over a decade as Campus Counsel at the University of California, Irvine. At UCI, a public research univeristy with 36,000 students, 24,000 employees and a $2.7 billion annual budget, she serves as a business partner to senior leadership, a legal advisor, a problem solver, an honest broker and an inspector general. Her board service includes the Anti-Defamation League and the Orange County Bar Association.
------------------------- Shared Interest Groups (SIG) -------------------------
Wellesley in Entertainment (WIE) Representative: Kate Erickson '05
Wellesley Latina Alumae Network (WLAN) Co-Representative: Briana Calleros '12
Briana graduated from Wellesley with a major in Political Science and a Minor in Women and Gender Studies and has Masters of Public Policy from USC. She began her career in the Obama White House and the California State Senate and has since utilized her experience to advance the policy objectives of nonprofits. She credits her participation in Mezcla, the college's largest Latina student organization, for inspiring her love of advocacy.
Wellesley Latina Alumae Network (WLAN) Co-Representative: Mariaesther Moncada '12
Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent (WAAD) Representative: Jackie Olivier '82
Wellesley Alum Pride Alliance (WAPA) Representative: Malique Carr '05
Malique graduated with a double major in Psychology and Media Arts & Sciences with a concentration in Computer Science. She went on to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Palo Alto University. While she maintained diverse clinical experiences, her specialty was helping patients in the aftermath of trauma. Wanting to be more proactive and work to possibly prevent incidents of trauma, she pivoted her career to threat assessment and management. Malique is currently the Associate Director of Intelligence for TorchStone Global, a risk-mitigation and strategic security advisory firm. She travels the world, but considers Los Angeles home. She thoroughly enjoys the local theatre, arts, food, and outdoors. She is looking forward to future SoCal adventures with her fellow alums.
WCLA Book Club Representative: Ottavia Montingelli '06
Ottavia graduated from Wellesley with a double-major in Sociology and English, before pursuing a joint MA/MSc in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and USC Annenberg. She was born and raised in Milan, but has been living in LA since 2008. She currently works at Sony Pictures Entertainment in International TV Research and took over management of the WCLA Book Club from its original creator Susan Shapiro in Summer of 2017. Ottavia enjoys reading, yoga, meditation, volunteering for rabbit rescue organizations, and working on her book blog.
Wellesley Entrepreneurs Representative: Stephanie Sunwoo '97
Wellesley Friends of Art Representative: Melissa King '92
----------------------------------- Past Presidents ---------------------------------
Past President: Erika Spitzer '06
Erika graduated with a major in Economics. She has served as President of the WCLA since 2014. After living in NYC post-Wellesley, Erika moved back to LA in 2011 to become the head of investor relations and fund marketing for Leonard Green & Partners, a $25 billion private equity firm. She is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), a member of the Milken Young Leaders program, and serves on the education committee of 100 Women in Hedge Funds. Erika enjoys yoga, skiing, and travel in her free time. Her enthusiasm for Wellesley began with her mother, Rosalind Ritchie Spitzer '71, who served as WCLA President in the 1990s.