Does your relationship have a 48-hour rule? Los Angeles enjoys talk on dual career insights with moderator Denise Winner (W’83, PAR’21) and speakers Ilene Gordon (MIT’75) and Bram Bluestein (Lafayette ’69)

by Michal Clements W’84, WG’89

On September 15, 2020, Penn, Wharton, MIT and Harvard alumni in the greater Los Angeles area explored the topic of dual careers, in a conversation expertly moderated by Denise Winner W’83, PAR’21 with speakers Ilene Gordon (MIT ‘75) and Bram Bluestein (Lafayette ’69). 

The “Doubling Down: Secrets of Dual Career Success” program was jointly led by three alumni groups: The Penn Club of LA, The Wharton Club of Southern California and The MIT Club of Southern California.  Approximately ninety people registered and more than thirty in attendance.  A private question and answer session for alumni club members followed the main event. 

Audience feedback received:

“Love the 48-hour rule.”

“It really was a fantastic conversation and event. I planned to only pop in for a few minutes (work project deadline) but ended up being drawn in by Bram & Ilene! Their candor, storytelling, substantive and meaningful insights & takeaways, warm spirits etc. “

“Great advice early in relationship/marriage.” 

As background, Ilene is retired chairman, president and CEO of Ingredion Incorporated. Currently she is presiding director of International Paper and a director of Lockheed Martin. She is a vice chair of the board of trustees of The Conference Board; a member of the MIT Corporation board of trustees; and on the executive committee of The Economic Club of Chicago.   

Bram has been helping companies build transformative brands for his entire career. Prior to Bluestein & Associates, Bram worked as a Senior Advisor at McNally Capital, enabling family offices to capitalize on opportunities in the private equity space. This followed a 35+ year career as a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton™, A.T. Kearney, and The Boston Consulting Group, serving clients across industries and geographies.

Denise Winner has over three decades of experience in financial services and consulting. Her significant involvement with start-ups and financial service firms provided her with the background to successfully launch Winner Squared, a consulting firm focused on business analysis and financial engineering. Denise is also a dual career partner.

Time flew by in this rich conversation, and the recording of the event is available to all active members of the Penn Club of LA, The Wharton Club of Southern California and the MIT Club of Southern California. 

Ilene and Bram are currently working on a book about the dual career journey, and are supplementing their own experience with new research on how dual career couples are navigating COVID. 

If Penn dual career alumni are interested to participate, please email


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Filed under Michal Clements, Penn Club of LA, Penn Clubs

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