Board of Directors Candidates

The CWA welcomes its 2015 National Board of Directors! Presented are the abridged bios pulled directly from the Nomination Form. The 14 candidates are confirmed to the Board and they will, in turn, elect your Officers and Chairs.

Below you will find the candidate's name, degree/year, metro city, headshot, and response to the following two questions:

  1. Summary: Briefly (150 words or less) describe any involvement as a volunteer or leader in any UChicago
    alumni activity, including CWA, OR other volunteer or related work experience.
  2. If elected: What can you contribute to the CWA; and what do you expect to achieve by serving on the Board? Please answer in 150 words or less.

Barbara Andrews

Summary: From 2004 to 2010 I served on the Alumni Club of Chicago Board and presided as President for two years. During my tenure on the Club Board I worked on several programing events (that were always sell outs) and help reshape the mission and goals of the club. I have attending regularly Alumni Weekends and the Humanities Day on the UC Campus. My years as a graduate student at UC were a memorable experience and I continue to support and advertise the values of the University.
I believe that I can bring fresh ideas based upon a history of volunteering for the University and my personal dedication to the alumni community. As a professional in the financial services industry I also bring many years of management experience.
If elected: First, I bring to the CWA commitment to the University and its Alumni community. As a Board Member I am interested in two primary areas. The first is to have engaging programing that addresses the needs of a large and diverse University community. The CWA has done an excellent job and now is the time to take it to a new level. Secondly, to continue to engage younger Alumni and make strong connections with older Alumni. Is there common ground so that the generations lead and teach each other? What are the differences between the generations of Alumni? Can the CWA strengthen and promote the University and if so, how? These are just a few of the questions I believe we should be addressing.

Marissa Blank
New York City

Summary: As a graduate student I served as a representative to the Biological Sciences Division Alumni Association from approximately 2007-2009 (quarterly meetings). I also represented my department on the BSD Dean's Council from 2006-2008. I am currently a member of Weill Cornell Medical College Postdoctoral Association where I help to organize activities and academic/career networking events for WCMC postdocs. I am also a founding member of the New York City Postdoc Council and a board member of New York Postdocs.
If elected: I have had numerous and varied experiences with event organizing and networking events, mainly within the scientific community as a PhD student and as a postdoctoral fellow. I look forward to brining my experience and energy to the CWA because it would allow me to interact with a more diverse group of people and make connections that will further my career goals.

Desiree Dickerson
Washington, D.C.

Summary: I currently serve as the chair of the CWA-DC chapter. We have had great attendance at our recent events. We are currently planning several future events including an encore career event and a trip to the Pope-Leighey house. The past few years I have also volunteered for the university by conducting interviews for the College. Outside of volunteering for the University, I am involved with Playworks in DC, creating all graphic elements for events. Through Booz Allen Hamilton, I volunteer by consulting for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) and am also intimately involved with the Emerging Health Technologies Community of Practice dedicated to emerging innovation in health technologies. I hope to continue giving back to the university and the CWA by serving on the CWA board.
If elected: I genuinely believe in the CWA’s mission to provide a forum for UofC women to connect over common intellectual nterests and facilitate new relationships. Creating a nationwide community of women with common intellectual pursuits will continue the aim of the university in developing individuals academically and professionally. By serving on the board I will further the goals of the CWA, by working to encourage regional chapters to engage more with one another. Forming a nationally cohesive affinity group while permitting autonomy to regions will ensure the mission of the group is met, furthering investment in the university’s women. I also intend to make region specific events, such as lectures, accessible to all members via webinar, enhancing the cohesiveness of the group.


Shermica Farquhar
Washington, D.C. 

Summary: I have been an active member of the NYC CWA Steering committee until my recent DC relocation. In addition to participation in CWA, I have pursued my passion for people development through various mentoring programs focusing on youth professional development.
As an alumni ambassador for the Management Leadership For Tomorrow MBA Prep program, I have organized outings, sat on panels, provided interview prep and participated in round table discussions. I have also served as the corporate liaison to campus groups at Booth by coordinating sponsorship activities.
If elected: I can leverage my previous career and volunteer experiences to help the board become more effective.  My background in events, marketing and organization effectiveness would be an asset to the board. I hope to contribute these skills to benefit the board's  transition as the national alumni network is completing this remodeling time. As a student at Booth, my experience as a Class Agent solidified my desire to facilitate the relationships in the University of Chicago Community, specifically between alumni and students, a role on the CWA National Board will allow me to continue to do this work!


Carla Funk

Summary: I have been an active volunteer with the Chicago CWA group since 2010, beginning with organizing the refreshments for each program, then serving as Program Chair, and currently serving as President-Elect. I also serve on several other boards including the Friends of the National Library of Medicine, Dominican Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, and the San Jose State University Center for Information Research and Innovation. I am also Executive Director for an association.
If elected: I have a lot of experience working on and with Boards and also experience working cooperatively on joint projects with related groups, particularly in my job. I will bring those skills to bear in working on a smooth transition to the new Affinity Group model and strengthening relationships with the other CWA groups. I also hope that we can expand our membership working together to promote the group and exchanging ideas about programs and other activities that have worked.


Shannon Harmon

Summary: I have volunteered at Inspiration Corporation's Annual Auction and volunteered at the cafe as part of the Alumni Club of Chicago. I have also volunteered with the University's annual high school career day, helped edit resumes for high school students, and recently volunteered with Expanding Your Horizons, an event co-sponsored by the University that supports girls in STEM careers. I have also served as a panelist at events held by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Law School.
If elected: I am a creative, thoughtful professional who believes in the value of women in leadership and in building relationships with other women. As one of four daughters, I have always been surrounded by strong, insightful and fun women; and it would be wonderful to serve as part of the Board and continue contributing to that tradition. I can contribute new ideas and offer my commitment to ensure the Alliance continues its great work. Serving on the Board would provide me the opportunity to grow as a leader, work as part of a team, and support the growth of my fellow alums.


Karin Janowski

Summary: I am currently the Communications Director for the CWA-Metro Chicago.
On the Board of Directors of Graue Mill and Museum, Oak Brook, IL
On the Board of Directors of the Thomas Ford Library Friends, Western
Springs, IL, just stepped down as Treasurer after 6 years.
Member of the Endowment Committee of the UU Church, Hinsdale, IL
If elected: I would like to continue supporting the CWA in any way I can.

Mary Kupjack

Summary: A board member of CWA for the past seven years. As such I have identifies potential speakers, participated in hosting events, reached out to members and nonmembers to attend events, and have been the Controller for the past four years. Worked with the other board members to improve this evolving organization.
Founding member and active member of the University of Chicago Booth Business Book Roundtable from 2002-2012. Chaired this roundtable from 2006-2011 and co-chaired an additional 2 years. In these rolls, identified authors and reached out to them to present their work, arranged the events, published the news letter invitations and hosted the events. Worked with other Booth roundtables and the ULC Authors Group on joint events.
If elected: A knowledge of arranging and hosting 100 plus, break even or financially positive events. Past work on reaching out and building a core group of participants, attending events. Prior experience in identifying and reaching out to presenters with work of interest to CWA members.
Looking to build relationships with other board members, CWA members and event attendees. Identify and support highly talented women in presenting their work. Work with the other board members
in creating a highly respected brand.

Anne Li
New York City

Summary: I have attended numerous U of C alumni events, including those for many different groups. I also interview candidates for the University each year. I speak with many students about the University.
If elected: I have a lot of experience mobilizing women's initiatives at my law firm, both formally and informally, to provide networking opportunities, menotrship programs, etc. These initiatives have greatly improved the ability of women in the profession to connect with each other and benefit from the varied experience of the members.


Irene Marquez
MBA'80, CER Graham School

Summary: I have more than 35 years of experience with University of Chicago alumni organizations, thirty-five years with the University of Chicago Women's Business Group and five with CWA. Combined I have about 20 years of board of director responsibilities. For both groups I have developed and supported websites, databases, reporting and communications.
If elected: I can contribute:
- website development and support
- communication standards, templates and calendars. This would include emails and social media.
- membership records and reporting where the database tools allow
- ideas for events that I think would appeal to our membership

Sabrina McCarthy
Washington, D.C.

Summary: - past co-chair, CWA-DC
- member, UChicago Alumni Schools Committee - interview applicants to the College and represent College at college fairs in D.C. area
- offered one Jeff Metcalf Internship to College student last summer and had three College students as volunteer interns last summer
- have offered three Jeff Metcalf Internships to College students for the coming summer
- offer ABG spring and winter externships to College students annually
- attend Programming Committee meetings of UChicago-DC Alumni Club
If elected: I'd like to bring alumnae together to continue lifelong learning with other women who share a common sensibility afforded by a UChicago education. I'd like to foster friendship and support among alumnae.


Adrienne Naumann

Summary: 1. Chair of University of Chicago Class Reunion Committee for 2011, University of Chicago, Member of class reunion committee for previous class reunion
2. Director on the Illinois Institute of Technology Alumni ASsocation board; was chairman of the committee that drafted the Asociatoni's by-laws; served on the Executive committee and as Chariman of the Governance Committee during my three-year term.
3. Judge for the Interprofessional Science Fair projects at Illinois Institute of Technology; author of reports to the University on selected projects.
If elected: 1. I was head of the committee that drafted the original CWA by-laws as well as other documents for the Chicago group.
2. I have drafted the minutes for the Chicago CWA Board for over four years.
3. I am an intellectual property attorney with over thirty years of writing experience. I author an on-line article series, along with a list of publications to my credit. I file patent documents one hundred pages in length, so I can handle anything that comes my way!
4. I have not missed a class reunion since they began 30 years ago. I continue to be happy to assist in planning events where everone can mingle! In particular, I have enjoyed the past few reunion weekends when I was honored to be the CWA representative to introduce speakers at the Uncommon Core series.

Susan Smoley

Summary: CWA: Steering committee member at CWA inception.
Represented CWA at UChicago International Forum, London, September, 2007.
Board member thereafter with responsibilities in different areas over the years:
Geo-Lunch Coordinator
Speakers for program -- suggested, coordinated, and introduced
Conceived and facilitated day- long CWA Board retreat
Contributed to marketing materials --newsletter, bookmark.
If elected: I have seen the power of connections and serendipity played out over and over again as UChicago women articulate their voice across disciplines, ages, and professions at CWA gatherings. Behind the scenes and at programs themselves, I am committed to facilitating a life of the mind in the lives of women. Necessarily, what this looks like is as varied as the multi-tasking, multi-faceted slice of the population that UChicago females are. Anne Doyle's book, "Powering Up! How America's Women Achiever's Become Leaders" explains a "diversity prediction theorem" (PDT) where it has been shown that "the diverse group almost always outperforms the homogenous group-by a substantial margin", especially when solving complex problems. CWA is a platform for such synergy; scaling it up is the next step.


Judith Witt

Summary: My name has been in an alumni resource directory available to college and graduate school alums. I've been contacted on a few occasions to give advice and provide guidance to individuals interested in pursing careers in the education field.
If elected: I believe that my University of Chicago education gave me the credentials to "land" my first teaching position during a very competitive time period in the late 1980s. Now that I am retired, I have the time to participate in activities that celebrate and promote the University in the Chicago Metro area. I once read an article that said the University is better known and respected outside of Chicago and often confused with the University of Illinois-Chicago by people who live in Chicago. My skill set lies in organizational and administrative areas. I believe that I can support the goals of the Women's Alliance and help the organization continue to meet the interests of the talented and vibrant women who have deep roots with the University.