Alums Leading the Way

Mount Holyoke alums have been opening doors, breaking barriers and launching into the world as leaders since the founding of the College. Our graduates are leading the way — in the boardroom and in the classroom, in the lab and in public service, in the field and on the runway. Every day alums are lifting up others, calling out injustices and advocating for change.

Launching leadership

In celebration of the achievements of our alums and to highlight the many ways Mount Holyoke prepares its graduates to lead in the world, we present a conversation series between interim President Beverly Daniel Tatum and a diverse group of graduates. These alums exemplify an intellectually adventurous Mount Holyoke education in action. Their interviews will be posted to this page as soon as they are available.

Aimée Eubanks Davis ’95

Aimée Eubanks Davis ’95 is the founder of Braven, a startup that works to ensure underrepresented college students develop the life skills, confidence, experiences and networks that enable them to get strong first jobs after graduation. Named as one of America’s Best Startup Employers of 2022 by Forbes magazine, Braven is now operating in five cities and working with more than 3,300 students.

Read Aimée’s story

Suzan-Lori Parks ’85 and Debra Martin Chase ’77

Suzan-Lori Parks ’85 is the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an award she received in 2002 for “TOPDOG/UNDERDOG.” In 2018, the play was named “The Greatest American Play of the Past 25 Years” by The New York Times. This unprecedented distinction was awarded unanimously by a special panel of critics convened to examine and rank the most important plays written and produced in the previous 25 years. Parks is also a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.

Tony Award-winning producer Debra Martin Chase ’77 is an entertainment industry trailblazer. She was the first Black woman to have a producing deal at a major movie studio, and her films have grossed more than a half billion dollars. She has a deal at Universal Television and executive produces CBS’ “The Equalizer.” Her numerous credits include “Harriet,” “The Princess Diaries” and “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” In partnership with Marc Platt, she won a 2022 Tony for Best Musical for “A Strange Loop.”

Read about Suzan-Lori and Debra

Addison Beaux ’99

Addison Beaux serves as an executive leadership, strategic communication and management consulting asset. Before becoming a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, he served as a staffer to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, speechwriter to the President and Board of Trustees at Stanford University, congressional liaison and speechwriter at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and lead researcher at the Center for Economic Integrity. Addison is trained as a child and family therapist and is also a celebrated storyteller and public speaker.

Read Addison's story
Charisse Pickron ’08 and Kira Banks ’00

Charisse Pickron ’08 and Kira Banks ’00

Charisse Pickron ’08 is an assistant professor at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota Twin Cities. As the director of the Child Brain and Perception Lab, Charisse and her team examine the ways in which social experiences shape how infants and children perceive and represent people in their environment to better understand the way early experiences influence face perception and how young children begin to respond to and understand social constructs such as gender and race.

Kira Banks ’00 is co-founder of the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity at Saint Louis University, where she is a professor in the Department of Psychology. She also served as a racial equity consultant for the Ferguson Commission and continued as the Racial Equity Catalyst for Forward Through Ferguson. Her research, teaching and facilitation around equity, diversity and inclusion have helped frame racial equity in the St. Louis region and beyond.

Lessons in leadership

Mount Holyoke alums are leading in varied and nuanced ways and using their spheres of influence for good — through professional achievements, volunteer experiences, advocacy work, special passions/projects, and more. We want our community to hear these important stories.

Please use this form to share your story or to recommend a friend, classmate or colleague.

Alums in the News

Demonstrating leadership

The final Launching Leadership conversation for 2022 was with Addison Beaux ’99, the founder and CEO of Beaux & Arrow. The wide-ranging conversation touched on student activism, gender affirmations and self-love.

Love, work and the importance of connection were the overarching themes of a Launching Leadership discussion with Mount Holyoke alums Suzan-Lori Parks ’85 and Debra Martin Chase ’77 after an electrifying performance of Parks’ play “Topdog/Underdog.”

The Speaking, Arguing and Writing (SAW) Program is a critical component of the Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College.

How will you make your mark?

Mount Holyoke alums have always blazed trails and challenged the status quo. Scientists. CEOs. Politicians. Entrepreneurs. Pulitzer-Prize winners. Oscar winners. And everything in between.

Umama Zillur

Umama Zillur

Class of 2018

Co-founder and leader of Kotha, an organization dedicated to ending the culture of gender-based violence in Bangladesh

Read Umama’s story

Kaneka Turner ”16

Kaneka Turner

Class of 2016

Founder of educational consulting company ReImage

Read Kaneka’s story

Veronika Kivenson

Veronika Kivenson

Class of 2013

Postdoctoral fellow at Oregon State University and recipient of the Tory Burch Fellowship from the Innovative Genomics Institute

Read Veronika's story

Gabi Gregg

Gabi Gregg

Class of 2008

Fashion blogger and designer and advocate for the representation of plus-size Black women in fashion spaces

Read Gabi's story

Chloé Zhao

Chloé Zhao

Class of 2005

The first woman of color to win an Academy Award for best director

Read Chloé’s story

Natasha Mohanty ’03

Natasha Mohanty

Class of 2003

Head of engineering for checkout experiences at Stripe, a financial infrastructure platform

Read Natasha’s story

Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello

Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello

Class of 1994

The first woman of color to serve as president of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants

Read Rumbi's story

Sheila Lirio Marcelo

Sheila Lirio Marcelo

Class of 1993

Entrepreneur and founder of

Read Sheila's story

Tara Roberts ’91

Tara Roberts

Class of 1991

2022 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year

Read Tara's story

Mona Sutphen ’89

Mona Sutphen

Class of 1989

Partner and Head of Investment Strategies, The Vistria Group

Read Mona's story

Deborah Harkness photo by Scarlett Freund

Deborah Harkness, Ph.D.

Class of 1986

Best-selling fiction author, TV producer and professor of history

Read Deborah's story

Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks

Class of 1985

First Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Read Suzan-Lori's story

Holly Metcalf ’81

Holly Metcalf

Class of 1981

Top crew coach and champion in expanding access to the sport of rowing

Read Holly's story

Susan Kare

Susan Kare

Class of 1975

Pioneer of pixel art and graphical computer interface

Read Susan's story

Wendy Wasserstein

Wendy Wasserstein

Class of 1971

Tony-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner

Read Wendy's story

Barbara Smith, class of 1969

Barbara Smith

Class of 1969

Co-founder of the Combahee River Collective and co-author of the Combahee River Collective Statement

Read Barbara's story

Janet Litster Rideout

Janet Litster Rideout

Class of 1961

Organic chemist and patent holder of AZT

Read Janet's story

Nita Lowey ’59

Nita Lowey

Class of 1959

U.S. Representative and the first woman to chair the House Appropriations Committee

Read Nita's story

Jean Sammet, class of 1948

Jean Sammet

Class of 1948

Co-developer of the computer programming language COBOL

Read Jean's story

Ella Grasso

Ella Grasso

Class of 1940

First woman elected U.S. state governor in her own right

Read Ella's story

Virginia Apgar

Virginia Apgar

Class of 1929

Inventor of the Apgar Score for newborns

Read Virginia's story

Frances Perkins, class of 1902

Frances Perkins

Class of 1902

First woman Cabinet member, U.S. Secretary of Labor and creator of Social Security

Read Frances' story

A photo of an Emily Dickinson U.S. Postal stamp

Emily Dickinson

Class of 1849

One of the greatest and most original poets of all time

Read Emily's story