By Ali Cudby C’91 WG’97
The Trustees Council of Penn Women (TCPW) held the Chicago summer women’s career networking event on June 14th. Approximately twenty-five Penn alumnae and guests gathered at the Morgan Lewis offices downtown to hear speaker Nan Alexander Doyle discuss her award-winning book, Dig Where You Are. Event sponsorship by consulting firm BCG enabled all attendees to receive signed copies of the book.
In 2008 Nan Doyal left her corporate career to spend time with ordinary men and women who have solved some of the biggest challenges facing our societies today. She wanted to understand how they had succeeded where so many more qualified than they had failed. What she learned surprised her, and was the inspiration for her award-winning book.
One story that hit close to home was that of Lily Yeh, is an American artist who was born in China and raised in Taiwan. Lily helped to heal residents in the inner city of Philadelphia through her art. She worked with children and adults to create meaningful urban art that helped rebuild a formerly blighted community.
From the slums of Mumbai, the villages of Tibet and northeast Thailand, the inner cities of Philadelphia and San Francisco, and a ghetto outside Stockholm Nan shared how a psychologist, a heart surgeon, a school teacher, an artist, and an economist applied what they knew how to do in order to help make a meaningful and sustainable change for good in the world.
In our conversation, attendees learned how believing in the potential of others, a passion to change things for the better; and a healthy dose of grit and commitment can help turn what you already how to do into an opportunity to make things better. The group also discussed the importance of listening to the people you’re trying to help, instead of coming into a situation with a preconceived notion of what will be valuable.
Nan was introduced by Ali Cudby, TCPW Executive Committee member and President of the Indiana Penn Club. Additional TCPW members attending included event co-chair Tonia Arrington, Penn Trustee Lynn Jerath, Margie Schaye, and Robin Simon.