Category Archives: TCPW

Dig Where You Are: Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW) Chicago Career Women’s Networking Event 2018

By Ali Cudby C’91 WG’97


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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.


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An Evening to Remember: Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW) Los Angeles Career Women’s Networking Event 2017 “Women in Entertainment”

By Michal Clements

Photo Credit: Moises Vazquez, Los Angeles. Instagram: @moisview  – Photo Gallery

The Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW) held the Los Angeles summer women’s career networking event in Santa Monica on Wednesday June 7, 2017.  Approximately seventy-five Penn alumnae and guests gathered among the fruit trees and jacarandas in the gardens of our hostess, Meredith Stiehm. The alumnae met with TCPW members during the opening speed-networking portion of the program, and to learn from the all-star entertainment panel as the centerpiece of the evening.

tcpw1Elizabeth Kopple (Wharton Club of So Cal board) and Rebecca Zavaleta (Penn Club of LA board) welcomed guests to the event.  Guests were directed to high top tables where TCPW Members led the lightning rounds of speed networking. Members present and leading the tables were TCPW Chair, Hildegard Toth, Meesh Pierce, Julie Platt, Melissa Weiler, Leanne Heubner, Denise Winner, Abby Feinman, and Donna Nadel.

tcpw1.2tcpw1.3The entertainment industry panel was expertly moderated by Fiedling Edlow (C’95). Panelists included Jennifer Gwartz (C’90), Meredith Stiehm (C’90) Alison Hoffman, Allison Schroeder and Veena Sud.  The discussion was lively, and there were a number of key takeaways that applied across industries, as well as some that were entertainment specific.  Some highlights include:

What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?

  • Explore non-linear paths
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember nothing is wasted, and you are exactly where you need to be
  • There are no wrong jobs and no wrong experiences
  • Avoid thinking and writing about “how I ruined my career”
  • Have a lot more fun!

What’s an appropriate way to approach a mentor?

  • Research the mentor in advance, and if you make the ask, be really prepared
  • Invite them to an event. Instead of saying, “What can you do for me?” show them what you can do for them. Example: One Penn alumni sent an email for two years with a critique of the show
  • Let them know if you win an award, such as the Stanford playwriting award
  • Time your approach right. For example, avoid the middle of pilot season

How should you go about smart and effective networking?

  • Keep it casual and really light
  • Take them out for coffee
  • If it doesn’t work, move on, not all networking will
  • Never walk up to someone and say why they should NOT hire you or why others are not hiring you, e.g., people find me abrasive. Don’t belittle yourself

tcpw1.4How can you get the first job in entertainment?

  • Take a job as a PA (Production Assistant), which means you start at a really low level and get coffee and lunch
  • Be nice to the people around you
  • Whatever job you have, do a really good job of it
  • Be appreciative
  • You will likely have to get a second job or live at home, etc. to make ends meet with this first job

How can you get an agency that works for you?

  • Seek a smaller agency with someone that’s starting out. Suggestion is to find your peer as an agent. For example, one panelist had a “big name” agency, but realized that their “reps are not working for you” which was a painful realization
  • Make sure the agency has the right expertise, e.g., one panelist was given bad advice from a literary agent in New York because they weren’t knowledgeable on LA TV market

How did you deal with sexism in the industry?

  • Make your skin really, really tough
  • Look to your allies and make them aware. They can’t help if they don’t know
  • For example, if I (a woman) say something and nobody hears it, then a man says it and everyone notices, you have to call people on this. It happens all the time. Make your allies aware
  • Report actual sexual harassment. Don’t tolerate things like the “Fuck, Marry, Kill” game which asks, “Which of these three things should happen to a female colleague?”

How can you get by financially when at a low starting salary?

  • Live at home, share space and drive dad’s car or a used car. Live in the valley.
  • Supplement your income in one of several ways, e.g., by tutoring, being a script reader or an Uber or Lyft driver

What’s the next career milestone for the panelists?

  • Being the President of the United States
  • Running a network
  • Going back to the Academy Awards
  • Writing a novel
  • Continue having fun and working with others I enjoy


As a follow up from the event, alumni and student attendees were encouraged to consider forming writer’s groups, and to continue their involvement with Penn through alumni interviewing, Penn Serves LA community service, Penn Club LA and the Wharton Club of So Cal.

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Los Angeles Penn Women Build Career Networking Connections and Reflect on “Women in the Holocaust”

By Michal Clements W’84

On Tuesday, August 9th, approximately 50 Penn alumnae and current students (including an incoming Penn freshman) gathered on Tuesday August 9th for Trustees’ Council of Penn Women TCPW Speed Career Networking and a “Women in the Holocaust” Panel Discussion at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) in Pan Pacific Park. Before our evening began, as an extra treat, LAMOTH Board Chair and TCPW Member Beth Kean led a private tour of the museum for interested alumni.

During the speed networking portion of the evening, Penn alumnae and students got to explore several rooms of the museum as the networking meeting locations were in different rooms.  Special highlights include the “Woman in Gold” room as well as the Tree of Testimony Room, among many others.

The speed networking table captains were TCPW’s Co Chair Lori Wachs, Christine Belgrad, Julie Platt and Beth Kean as well as several Los Angeles area Penn alumni: Elizabeth Kopple, Linda Rosenberg, and Lisa Niver.


Next, Penn alumni and documentary filmmaker Jon Kean (“Swimming in Auschwitz”) expertly moderated the “Women in the Holocaust” panel discussion to focus on womens’ experiences and to include a mix of academic historical realities, as well as personal narratives and reflections. The panelists were Professor Sharon Gillerman of Hebrew Union College, LAMOTH Director Samara Hutman and LAMOTH Board Member and Survivor Dana Schwartz.


The special evening was well summarized in a review that one of the attendees wrote”

“This was a lovely and inspiring place to hold an alumni event. Relatives of holocaust survivors and scholars spoke to our alumni group and provided heartfelt insight into one of the worst times in human history. The museum itself is deeply informative with photos and dialogue that capture pieces of the holocaust. The hors d’oeuvres and drinks was a nice addition to the event.

A heartfelt thank you to all who made a evening into a reality including the LAMOTH leadership and staff, especially Beth Kean and Lisa Barnet; Penn alumni relations, especially Molly Trimmer and Terri Welsh; Los Angeles area Penn women leaders, and our wonderful moderator and panelists, Jon Kean, Dana Schwartz, Sharon Gillerman and Samara Hutman.


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Women in Computer Science Day 2014

By: Terri W.

Each year, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science holds its Women in Computer Science High School Day for Girls. At this year’s event, 140 Philadelphia area high school girls visited Penn Engineering to learn about the various academic and career opportunities possible in this vital field.

Women are underrepresented in computer science and engineering majors. Research shows that if girls do not have a computer scientist or engineer in the family, they often have little access to information about careers in these fields. The goal of this annual event is to show girls interested in science or math what computer scientists and engineers do, and to encourage them to study these disciplines in college.

The students heard about faculty’s current research projects and women undergraduates’ personal stories about why they selected their engineering majors and their future career plans. The packed agenda included tours of world-class engineering labs, including the Sig Center for Computer Graphics, the GRASP Robotics lab, the Penn Complex Fluids lab, the Nanotribology lab and the Haptics lab.

The Trustees’ Council of Penn Women helps to sponsor Women in Computer Science initiatives.

Photos (c) Lamont Abrams

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