Class of 1998
Silver Spring, MD
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: My time at Wellesley was deeply shaped by my experience as a woman of African Descent. From the countless hours spent in Harambee House, at Ethos meetings, gatherings, celebrations, and organizing Ethos archives as the Ethos historian, to worshipping with my Wellesley sisters as a part of Ministry to Black Women, to stage managing Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls… a large part of what Wellesley means to me is a celebration of our connection, our sisterhood, our identity as siblings of African Descent. It would, therefore, be an honor to serve on the WAAD Governing Board as WAAD President. As President, I hope to work towards rejuvenating and celebrating that connection between alumnae of African descent, extending it past the Wellesley campus, and exploring ways to expand this vibrant network towards a more active existence. Possessing the personality trait of a “connector”, I hope to increase our connections with one another, and foster a deeper and sustained community of support. I look forward to working with the dynamic WAAD Governing Board to empower WAAD volunteers and members alike to increase engagement. Finally, with the support of the WAAD Governing Board, I look forward to acting as a liaison between WAAD and the Wellesley College Alumnae Association, and the College itself, facilitating meaningful dialogues and transfer of information between the entities. I believe that my experiences as a leader throughout the WCAA, my extensive relationships with women across geographic boundaries and decades within the WAAD community and my analytical mindset, in addition to my personal and professional experiences as a leader within diverse groups, will be assets, both to the Board and to the membership.
My work and interests: I am a PhD level neuroscientist, and am currently employed full-time as a Scientific Project Manager in Neuroscience at the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH), a 501(c)(3) not-for- profit that procures funding and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to my “day job”, I also am the co-founder of a local non-profit, NationOfMakers.org, and the co-producer of the National Maker Faire and the National Week of Making. My deepest passions are associated with broadening participation for underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), including (but not limited to) members of minority groups, women, first-generation students, and individuals from low SES backgrounds. I am also the proud mama of 7-year old Zuri, who keeps me busy with her individual blend of #blackgirlmagic, as a burgeoning entrepreneur, figure skater, and future Wellesley woman.
Wellesley Alumnae Service: Co-President, Wellesley Club of Northern California (2008-2012); Alumnae Admissions Co-Representative, Wellesley Club of Northern California (2008); Parade Chair, Wellesley College Class of 1998 10th Reunion (2008), Nominating Committee Co-Chair, Wellesley College Class of 1998 (2008); Class Secretary, Wellesley College Class of 1998 (2003-2008)
|Vice President, Communications
Cheryl A Seraile
Class of 1981
Fall City, WA
What I hope to contribute to WAAD:I am excited to be able to work with a team Wellesley alumnae to further the mission of WAAD – to connect alumnae of African descent with each other and the College community. I hope to bring insight from my involvement with the variety of alumnae communities – local clubs, WCAA, classes, and SIGs – to help foster an environment of shared learning and support. And I expect to bring my work experience developing and implementing a wide range of communications programs to this role with WAAD.
My work and interests: I work as a Brand Marketing Consultant, focusing on brand strategy and innovation. Clients include companies such as Church & Dwight, Modem Media, Pfizer and Bayer. I have more than 20 years in consumer marketing, with management assignments at Warner-Lambert, Seagram, Liberty Richter and Visa. Active supporter and volunteer for community performing arts and youth outreach programs.
Wellesley Alumnae Service: Board Member, Wellesley College Alumnae Association 2012 – 2015; Founding Committee, Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent; Past President, New York Wellesley Club
|Vice President, Programs
Class of 1995
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: I am truly honored to have the opportunity to continue working on behalf of Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent. As Regional Representative of the Mid-Atlantic Region on the inaugural board, I helped to establish our annual event, Worldwide WAAD Day, and began the foundation for event programming in the region. As VP of Programming, I hope to use my skills as a leader, strategic planner, relationship builder, and organizer to support regional representatives to maintain our current programming and create new initiatives to enhance our connections with the College and each other. I envision WAAD as a thriving network of alumnae where members are engaging with each other through diverse and vibrant programming and connecting to the College in impactful ways. In my tenure, I hope to accomplish this and create a foundation of programming that can endure.
My work and interests: In my early career, I worked in legal, public relations, and for-profit research organizations. For the past 16 years, I have worked as an education professional in K-12 settings. I have primarily worked in underserved rural and urban communities and have a special passion for students deemed at risk for academic failure. In addition to my classroom experience, I have trained and mentored new teachers and worked in college access. I have also served in a programming role on the alumni board of a large educational organization. I recently completed an M.Ed. in educational policy and leadership and hope to use my new skills and knowledge to make an impact outside of the classroom. My interests include educational equity for Black and Brown youth, harnessing the power of fellow educators to make significant change, spending time with my family—especially my 3 amazing sons, cooking, reading—especially biographies and memoirs, gardening, movies, and connecting with friends.
Wellesley Alumnae Service: Regional Representative & Admissions Representative--Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent; Book Award Committee & Admissions Committee--Washington Wellesley Club; Class Secretary—WCAA
|Vice President, Membership
Class of 1996
New York, NY
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: I am super excited for this opportunity to contribute back to the Wellesley community of alumnae of African Descent. I hope to contribute my creativity for developing unique and engaging programs and organizing business operations that would support the WAAD organization. I believe my extensive experience as a strategic planner, clear communicator and team member would be helpful to solidifying the future of WAAD. I have been an active volunteer throughout the NYC community since graduation. I believe my experience supporting internal membership programs with the New York Junior League as well as community based programs in Harlem will be of great contribution to the WAAD team.
My work and interests: Professionally I am a project manager specializing in software and digital operations management and product development. Additionally I have founded an organization for young women in the Harlem community. My interests have evolved over the years. I am currently very passionate about continuing to support the Black community by uplifting young girls and working to economically empower small business owners and families.
Wellesley Alumnae Service: Class of 1996 - Class Secretary, Class of 1996 - 10 Year Reunion Co-Chair, Member - New York Wellesley Club; volunteer.
Katrina D. Mitchell
Class of 1996
New York, NY
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: I am honored to have the opportunity to potentially support WAAD. My reach and scope is both regional and national and I bring a level of intellectual rigor; thought leadership; strategic vision; a commitment to giving the voiceless a voice; and a passion for bringing together diverse perspectives. With more than 15 years’ experience, I have also honed my skills as a strategic and innovative leader. I strongly believe that I would be a valuable asset to the WAAD Governing Board. I am confident that my experiences and my qualifications align with the roles and responsibilities outlined for the Secretary position.
My work and interests: I have served in numerous capacities in the philanthropic sector and have dedicated my life to promoting social justice and civic engagement. Since graduating from Wellesley College, I have gravitated towards opportunities to serve the most disenfranchised and be a part of the ecosystem of partners that weaves webs of support for families on a local and national level. Currently, I am working to develop partnerships between philanthropy and government that can work on behalf of our most vulnerable youth and their families as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services. I have also served as an advisory member of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom School Curriculum Committee for more than 10 years and currently serve as a board member for the Westside Atlanta Charter School.
Wellesley Alumnae Service: Admissions Volunteer – Wellesley Alumnae Chapter – NY & GA
Benita Harris Perkins
Class of 1980
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: Given the attention on Wellesley College these past two years, this organization is in a unique position to promote Wellesley and improve multi-cultural relations at the college. As treasurer I plan to bring my financial skills to the forefront in hopefully moving the organization to a place of strength in getting WAAD’s initiatives accomplished. As director of my company, I plan bring my array of business skills to the position including my strategic marketing and social media strengths. I look forward to working with other members of the board to increase WAAD’s presence and significance in the Wellesley community and beyond.
My work and interests: As director of Benniegirl Healthy Lifestyle Branding Events, I work with organizations and communities to provide wellness education in communities of color in the battle to reduce health disparities. Through my non-profit sponsor I produce Healthy Heritage Lifestyle Sisters’ Day of Wellness, a day focused on healthy lifestyle tips for women of African descent. My interests include improving career and educational opportunities for young people of color and dancing!
|Regional Representative, Mid-Atlantic
Lauren Young Durbin '99
Class of 1999
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: As Mid-Atlantic Representative, I'm looking forward to using my alumnae club experience to help deepen the connection between alums, their local clubs, WAAD, and the College. Given the intersectionality of many WAAD members' experiences. I'm also looking forward to building and deepening relationships with other local/regional SIGs.
My work and interests: My "day job" is working as a Project Attorney for an eDiscovery company. However, I'm following my passion of helping women live their best and fullest life through my work as a Career Transition Coach for my business, Tyche Career Coaching. There are few things that make me smile wider than seeing women live in their greatness.
Wellesley Alumnae Service: Alumnae Admission Representative (2011-2014); Vice President, Wellesley in Central and Coastal Virginia (2014); President, Wellesley in Central and Coastal Virginia (2014-2016); Presenter, Alumnae Leadership Conference (2016)
|Regional Representative, South
Marian Bonner, M.D.
Class of 1983
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: I look forward to serving as a regional representative to WAAD because I have already been very active in the Houston WAAD organization. Over the past few years, I have attended several WAAD sponsored events such as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater performance, the premiere of the movie, Selma, and the annual WAAD brunch. I will plan to attend the upcoming Houston WAAD sendoff celebration for the class of 2020, next weekend. On a national level, I have maintained lifelong friendships with my Wellesley sisters. I attended the 20th reunion for the class of 1983 and organized a 50th birthday party in Las Vegas with my Wellesley sisters in 2011. I will reconnect with my classmates again for the 55th birthday party in Boston, during the inaugural weekend for President Paula Johnson.
My work and interests: I have been a physician specializing in breast imaging in Houston since 1999. I am currently a partner with Rose Imaging Specialists, P.A.. Outside of my medical profession, I serve as secretary on the board of the Ivy League Educational Charities Foundation and have been chairman of the Health Committee of Xi Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I was a grade group sponsor of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Houston Chapter, which gave me an opportunity to network with other Wellesley mothers. I am also a member of the Morehouse Parents Council.
Wellesley Alumnae Service: member of WAAD and Wellesley Club of Houston
|Regional Representative, Central|
|Regional Representative, West
Jacqueline Morrissette Olivier
Class of 1982, Philosophy
Santa Ana, CA
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: I am excited and grateful to have the opportunity to work with my alumnae sisters on behalf of the Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent. I believe that a reconnection with the Wellesley community through WAAD will allow me to expand my work as an organizer, leader and volunteer participant all while building relationships and strengthening the alumnae network.
As a member of the Board of Directors, I will bring to the table my experiences of leading a group of small business entrepreneurs to create a 501 c3 to promote black business development. I have also volunteered in various capacities with a non-profit organization that assists women in transition get back to work and regain their independence with dignity. Furthermore, I will utilize my skills in business development, marketing, team leadership and strategic planning.
My work and interests: My formal training is in architecture design and real estate development. Early in my career, I worked as a project manager and then, organization leader, involved in community development, housing design and strategic real estate planning. Over the past 15 years I have acquired and manage a family-owned engineering/manufacturing business - serving as the CFO and Strategic Planning Officer. More recently, I have developed a handcrafted cosmetic line and launched a start-up to manufacture and distribute natural ingredient bath and body products with a focus on mind+body wellness and self-care.
My interests, outside of family and business, include community economic development, causes which support the empowerment of women and young girls, health & wellness issues, perfumery, art and design.
|Regional Representative, New England
Azizah Yasin '94
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: Wellesley shaped my identity in many respects. It transformed me from a painfully shy girl into a strong and confident woman with a voice that I have used to advocate for others. It also molded me into a Pan-Africanist who admires, embraces and loves my sisters from the African Diaspora. Harambee House was my sacred home away from home and its essence propelled me to become involved in many leadership roles on campus such as the Chair of S.H.E. (Sisters Helping Each other); Member of Harambee House’s first Renovation Committee; Minority Student Admissions Committee Member; Dancer for Yanvalou and Harambee Dance; Model for the ETHOS Fashion Show; ETHOS Choir Member; and passim Contributor to Quintessence Black History Month celebrations all four years. Living in the spirit of our Wellesley motto Non Ministrari sed Ministrare, I have remained active with Wellesley as an alumnus.
In my appointed role as our New England Regional Representative, I hope to use my skills and passions to connect, reconnect and mobilize us so that we can bridge gaps that have naturally divided us by virtue of graduating and leaving campus to live our individual lives. I also hope to be a catalyst to help us build new relationships with members who came before or after us. My desires match the beauty of the purpose of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association and SIG, which is to keep us linked together in a very meaningful way that keeps the Wellesley Effect at the heart of our interactions.
My work and interests: I am licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and the United States Supreme Court. For nearly fourteen years I had a trial and appellate litigation practice in which I provided zealous advocacy for my clients, including some who are indigent. Using this experience and my dispute resolution skills, I now serve the Trial Court as the Assistant Clerk-Magistrate of the Holyoke District Court, where I make meaningful decisions in criminal and civil matters that impact people’s lives every single day. I also serve as the Dedicated Clerk of our Veterans Treatment Court Program, and I rove around the western region to handle conflict cases that are often very complex or highly contested. I love my job because it enables me to fulfill my own professional mission, working tirelessly to restore or build, as the case may be, public trust and confidence in the administration of justice.
Wellesley Alumnae Service:Alumnae Admissions Interviewer on and off campus since 2007; Alumnae Panelist for various campus Career Events; Making in-kind donations during a campus drive to support Hurricane Katrina victims; Prior Member of WCAB; Current Member of the Wellesley Club of Pioneer Valley; and WAAD Nominating Committee Member for the current leadership.
Regional Representative, Northeast
Doris Saintil-Phildor '97
What I hope to contribute to WAAD: : I have long been waiting for the stars to align and for me to be able to contribute the WAAD community and Wellesley at large. I am proud to now make the time and help reconnect Wellesley women to each other and continue our journey of discovery and empowerment throughout our paths in life.
My work and interests: There are numerous racial, economic, and societal factors that contribute to health disparities. Wellesley introduced me to the field of public health and I have held various positions over the years providing education, technical assistance, and policy guidance around topics including HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, reproductive rights, adolescent health, tobacco cessation, and cancer screening and treatment. I received my Masters in Public Health soon after graduation and am currently Site Director of a network of providers and community based organizations tasked to improve the health of the residents in the South Bronx. I am proud to be a voice in the room contributing to changes that will improve health outcomes for people of color. My biggest achievement comes from being a wife and mother to two wonderful kids that keep me happy, focused, and eager to come home every night.
Wellesley Alumnae Service:Wellesley Class of 1997 Co-Vice President