WiD Luncheon: Women Who Lead

  • 22 Oct 2018
  • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  • Princeton Club
  • 0


Registration is closed


College Presidents in Conversation about 

Fundraising, Board Engagement, and Women’s Leadership


Sponsored by Koya Leadership Partners


October 22, 2018 (12-2 PM) 

Princeton Club

15 West 43rd Street

New York City


While over 56% of college graduates in the US are female, just 30% of universities and colleges are led by women. Women in Development, New York is proud to bring together dynamic women who are at the helm of some of New York City’s most important institutions of higher education for a conversation about fundraising, board engagement, and women’s leadership.


The luncheon, will take the form of a conversation among Serene Jones (President of Union Theological Seminary), Karol V. Mason (President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice), and Laura Sparks (President of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art), moderated by Women in Development President Brooke Bryant. 



A highly respected scholar and public intellectual, the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the 16th President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 182-year-old institution, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy. During her tenure, she has been instrumental in helping to secure a sustainable future for Union through fundraising and capital campaigns and an affiliation with the Episcopal Divinity School (Cambridge, MA).


She is the Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Religion, which annually hosts the world’s largest gathering of scholars of religion. Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and Chair of the University’s Program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The author of several books including Trauma and Grace, Jones, a popular public speaker, is sought by media to comment on major issues impacting society because of her deep grounding in theology, politics, women’s studies, economics, race studies, history, and ethics. Jones holds a B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma, a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Yale Divinity School. 


Over the course of her long career, John Jay College President Karol V. Mason has been a legal pioneer and an exceptional voice for equality, fairness, and criminal justice reform. She was a leader in the Obama Administration on juvenile justice issues, bail reform and re-entry for individuals leaving prison, and in her distinguished career at Alston & Bird LLP, she was the first African- American woman elected as chair of the management committee at any major national firm.

Previously, Mason served as Deputy Associate Attorney General from 2009 to 2012.  She led the Office of Justice Programs from June 2013 to January 2017 after being nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  As United States Assistant Attorney General and head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, Mason oversaw an annual budget of $4 billion to support an array of state and local criminal justice agencies, juvenile justice programs, and services for crime victims, and oversaw the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, among a wide range of other efforts.  Mason spent almost three decades at Alston & Bird, LLP, where she chaired the Public Finance Group. She was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina from 2001 to 2009 and Vice Chair of that Board from 2007 to 2009. Mason received an A.B. in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.


Laura Sparks is the 13th president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.  The Cooper Union is a highly selective private U.S. college offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture, art, and engineering in New York City. A leader in education, philanthropy and community-focused economic development, Laura assumed the role in January 2017 as the first woman to serve as president of The Cooper Union.  She is focused on improving the school’s financial outlook, building collaborative efforts across the community, ensuring that the school continues to provide students with an outstanding educational experience, and positioning the school for continued excellence in the decades ahead. Under Laura’s leadership, Cooper is now pursuing a comprehensive plan to achieve full-tuition scholarships for all students, returning Cooper to its roots of providing a free education for students of extraordinarily high potential from all walks of life.  The plan’s year-one results exceeded financial goals, including an operating cash surplus that reversed years of deficits, the result of rigorous expense management, planned increases in earned revenue, and a 7% increase in total fundraising, including an 88% increase in solicited gifts. Another key initiative in Laura’s early tenure at Cooper was to reawaken the school’s historic Great Hall as an iconic forum where people contest and shape the important issues of our day. Since her arrival, The Cooper Union has welcomed the likes of civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, iconic contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei, and renowned American writer Rebecca Solnit to the Great Hall stage.

Previously, Laura served as executive director of the William Penn Foundation, a $2 billion private foundation dedicated to improving the quality of Philadelphia, the fifth largest U.S. city, and the region that surrounds it. She earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and her B.A. in philosophy from Wellesley College.



Contact widny@widny.org with any questions.

Women in Development, New York (WiD) accepts refund requests made in writing at least five (5) business days prior to the event. Registration fees are not refundable after this date. Nonrefundable ticket purchases may not be used as credits towards future WiD events.

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