During my tenure as director of alumni relations I’ve had the honor of working with five graduates who have served as president of the Society of Alumni. They each brought their professional expertise, individual personalities and perspectives to their service to you and the college. And like all those in the long line of Society of Alumni presidents before them, they’ve each been remarkably successful in their own rights.
Leila Jere ’91 is the most recent. She was appointed president at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Alumni on the Saturday of Reunion Weekend. Take a moment to read her thoughts on the inside front cover—and let me tell you a little bit about Leila and her new leadership role.
Leila arrived at Williams from her native Zambia via a boarding school in southern England, having never set foot on campus. A political science major, she spent time on the track and rugby teams and served as a JA and for two terms on the JA Selection Committee. After Williams, Leila moved to San Francisco, where she has maternal family roots, with thoughts of law school on the horizon. Instead, with the technology juggernaut revving up in the mid-‘90s, it seemed like a good idea to climb aboard. She worked in project management and operations at a variety of technology firms and, along the way, developed an interest and expertise in cloud computing. She founded Baobab Consulting and has built a thriving practice, working with companies to build and optimize their sales and operations on salesforce.com.
Leila’s volunteer service to Williams kicked into high gear in 2002, when she assumed leadership of the NorCal (Bay Area) Regional Association. This was followed by a productive three-year term on the Executive Committee of the Society of Alumni from 2004-07; she stepped into the role of VP two years ago.
Only those who have served as president of the Society of Alumni can fully appreciate the commitment it entails. Beyond oversight of the Executive Committee, which encompasses three meetings annually and significant accompanying work, Leila will serve ex officio on the Board of Trustees and attend all meetings. Let’s just say Leila is going to be racking up the frequent-flyer miles for trips from San Francisco to Williamstown over the next two years.
Beyond the broad-based work of keeping you connected to each other and the college, Leila and the EC will be particularly focused on the issue of sexual assault this academic year and beyond. The country is in a national conversation about sexual assault prevention and response on college and university campuses. In addition to the EC’s ongoing involvement with these issues, Leila will lead a newly formed liaison group to facilitate communication between alumni and the college as Williams works to continually improve both our sexual assault prevention and response. There’s no issue of greater importance to us, and you’ll be hearing more about it.
Leila will be hard at work on this issue and many others over the next two years. She’s doing it all for you and the college she loves. Wish her well on the journey.
With best wishes from Williamstown,
Brooks Foehl ’88
Director of Alumni Relations