This 125th Anniversary feature on local alumnae highlights a few members of our sisterhood who re-entered the workforce in an era where it required creativity and reinvention. During the 1970s and 80s, women seeking employment after a period focused on motherhood, marriage, and managing households were known as “displaced homemakers”. This was a time when working mothers were less common than today. It was not the norm to grow families and return to the professional world after they were grown. However, these northwest Wellesley women were in the forefront of changing that, entering the workforce as professional authors, educators, and seekers of training and continuing education.
|Pictured: Meredith Easton Brown ’88 and Marcia Joslyn Sill ’65 in Seattle, 2017|
|Pictured: Pamela Jones '83, courtesy of The Meridian School|
One such example is Peg (Reider) Shoosmith, class of ’62 who returned to college in her 30s. Peg remembers an accounting teacher at Bellevue Community College asking her, “What’s a Bellevue housewife doing reading Barron’s?” to which she replied, “It’s better than reading cereal boxes!” Peg enrolled in business school at the University of Washington and was one of three women who earned an MBA in the class of 1975. She went on to be a CPA with a 25-year career in accounting firms including Price Waterhouse and Sweeney Conrad.
Another example is Judith “Judy” Herstin Wearn, class of ’67. Judy raised two children with her husband Dick, and then researched and wrote about the workforce in Part-Time Careers in Seattle, in 1976. Judy was active in the Wellesley club often involving her children to volunteer assembling bulk mailings to Washington area Wellesley alumnae. We have missed Judy’s involvement in the club since she died of cancer in 1990.
Marcia Joslyn Sill ’65, MBA, CFA, Marcia, a self-described “Bellevue housewife” with two children, who had an interest in finance, also decided to return to school when they were grown. She studied at Bellevue Community College (now Bellevue College), earning her MBA and CFA. Marcia created her own investment, philanthropy, and financial advising consulting practice in Seattle. She has been an influential volunteer leader and supporter of many organizations including Wellesley College Fundraising and Interfaith Center, Eastside Unitarian Church, the Women’s University Club, WA CASH (an incubator for small businesses), and the League of Women Voters. Marcia and Meredith Easton Brown connected through Wellesley fundraising when Meredith was a student Phonathon caller and later a member of the Office for Resources staff. Marcia encouraged Meredith to move to Seattle as a newlywed in 1991.
In more recent decades, many women were single Moms and needed to be creative about balancing work and family at the same time. Raising a family alone requires multitasking and careful financial planning.
In more recent decades, many women were single Moms and needed to be creative about balancing work and family at the same time. Raising a family alone requires multitasking and careful financial planning. One example is Pamela Jones, class of ’83. After Wellesley, Pam earned an MBA from Yale, then moved to Seattle to work for Weyerhaeuser, and later, Microsoft Corporation. Despite working part-time and raising 3 children, Pam found time to volunteer on several nonprofit boards and stays involved in the local Wellesley club. As her children have become more independent and older, Pam has returned to full-time work and is currently the Chief Financial Officer for The Meridian School in Seattle.
Stay tuned for the next 125th Anniversary featurette!!