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Presidential Search

Presidential Search Committee

Kaye Foster

Kaye Foster, Trustee, Chair-Presidential Search Committee

Kaye Foster is a senior advisor and executive coach at the Boston Consulting Group. She is an adviser, philanthropist, and former senior vice president for Global Human Resources at Onyx Pharmaceuticals. She works with CEOs, leaders and teams to help ensure an organization's long-term success by defining the values behind its culture, and then incorporating them in systems and practices to reinforce individual and collective behaviors. Previously, she was chief human resources officer and an executive committee member at Johnson & Johnson. Earlier in her career, she was a Human Resources business partner at Pfizer Inc., and led the integration of both the Warner-Lambert and Pharmacia mergers for multiple countries. Foster is a Spelman College Trustee and serves on the academic affairs & student success and board affairs committees.

Spelman AlumnaGena Ashe, C'83, Trustee, Co-Chair-Presidential Search Committee

Gena Ashe is currently the chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Anterix Inc. a publicly traded wireless spectrum holding company, and the country’s largest holder of 900 MHz spectrum, where she leads the Company’s legal strategy and corporate governance, and supports the Company’s Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors. Prior to Anterix Ashe served as Chief Legal Officer for companies, both public and private equity backed, including Adtalem Global Education and former KKR portfolio Company, BrightView Solutions and held other senior executive roles at companies including IBM, AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Darden Restaurants, and PBS, after initially beginning her career with IBM as a microcomputer-based design Electrical Engineer & Scientist.  In addition to her Chief Legal Officer role, Ashe currently serves as an Independent Board Director of both GXO Logistics, Inc. a leading global transportation technology company, and Cold Bore Capital Management portfolio company, ALP Partners, LLP., a national B2B exterior services company. In addition to Spelman, Ashe’s current non-profit Board Directorships include, the Executive Leadership Council (“ELC”), where she also chairs the Private Company segment of ELC’s Corporate Board Initiative, and the Law Advisory Board of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. 

Theodore AronsonTed Aronson, Trustee

Ted Aronson, is founder of Aronson+Johnson+Ortiz, an institutional investment advisor with $20 billion under management. Aronson joined Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1974 while still a graduate student. He was a member of the Quantitative Equities Group, which provided innovative practical applications of modern portfolio theory and quantitative portfolio management. His group managed the Revere Fund, the first actively managed fund registered with the SEC to employ modern portfolio theory. Prior to forming AJO, Aronson founded Addison Capital Management. He is past chair of the CFA Institute (formerly AIMR) and is a CFA charter holder. Aronson chaired AIMR's Trade Management Guidelines Task Force. He was a lecturer in finance at University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, and is a frequent speaker on Wall Street issues, especially innovations in trading methods to minimize transaction costs. He is on the Board of Directors of WXPN-FM (University of Pennsylvania's radio station) and LINC (Leveraged Investment In Creativity). Aronson is a Spelman College Trustee where he serves as chair of the Finance and Administration Committee and is on the Audit, Compliance, and Risk Committee.

Mentewab AyalewMentewab Ayalew, Faculty

Mentewab Ayalew is an associate professor of biology at Spelman College. Since joining the faculty ranks at Spelman, she has put considerable emphasis on the integration of research, teaching and student development. More recently, Ayalew has led efforts to infuse quantitative and computational thinking in research and education in biology. She has been engaged in building the department’s strategic partnership with the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University as well as providing faculty development and support through a series of National Science Foundation-funded grants in the area of biological big data. In addition to teaching, she uses modeling tools as well as metagenomics and metatranscriptomic analysis in her quest to understand antibiotic resistance in plants. Ayalew is also the co-director of the Living and Learning Community of STEM Scholars, a program initiated in fall 2015 to foster the intellectual engagement and provide mentoring and development opportunities to Spelman students aspiring to pursue a STEM Ph.D. or an M.D./Ph.D.

Karen BrakkeKaren Brakke, Faculty Trustee

Karen Brakke is a professor of psychology at Spelman College. She joined the Spelman faculty in 1999 and subsequently served as psychology department chair from 2008-2014 and Special Assistant to the Provost in 2014-2015. Dr. Brakke is trained as a developmental psychologist, with research interests in early childhood development, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and narrative identity in emerging adulthood. She has authored over twenty peer-reviewed articles, a peer-reviewed monograph, and several other publications relevant to these areas of inquiry. In addition to teaching a variety of psychology courses at Spelman, she has mentored approximately 100 students on thesis, research, or independent study projects and has worked with multiple federally-funded undergraduate research training programs. Dr. Brakke is active in the national psychology and developmental science teaching and research communities. A former president of the Southeastern Psychological Association, she currently serves on the American Psychological Association's Committee on Associate and Baccalaureate Education and the editorial board of the journal Teaching of Psychology. She regularly participates in scientific and institutional review activities, which keep her abreast of issues facing higher education. 

Rosalind Gates Brewer, C’84 – Ex-Officio, Chair of the Spelman College Board of Trustees

Walgreen Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) named Brewer CEO, effective as of March 15, 2021, at which time she also joined the company's board of directors. This is an historic appointment as Brewer became only the second Black female CEO to head a Fortune 500 company on a permanent basis. WBA is a merger of an American company that operates as the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States and Switzerland-based Alliance Boots, a multinational pharmacy-led health and beauty group. Formerly chief operating officer and group president for Starbucks, Brewer lead the company’s operating businesses across the Americas (Canada, U.S. and Latin America), Starbucks license stores and the global functions of marketing, technology, supply chain, product innovation, and store development organizations. Brewer was also a member of the Starbucks board of directors. Prior to Starbucks, she was president and CEO of Sam’s Club, the members-only warehouse channel of Walmart Inc., and made history by becoming the first woman and first African American to lead a Walmart division. In 2013, 2014 and 2020, she was named one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes Magazine.

Spelman Trustee Susan DunnSusan Dunn, Trustee

Susan Dunn is a retired elementary school teacher who has spent the past 15 years as an active volunteer and philanthropic supporter focused on educational opportunities for children in under-served communities. She volunteers twice a week in the KIPP schools in Newark, New Jersey with students in elementary and middle schools.  She is also a member of the national and Newark boards of BRAVEN, a program to empower college students with skills for strong first jobs. In New York City, where she now lives, Dunn serves on the board of Soho Rep., an innovative small theater. Dunn taught at Kent Place School and The Montclair Kimberley Academy in New Jersey. Prior to her career in education, she worked at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising in media planning on accounts like Mattel Toys, Kimberley Clark and American Express.

Elizabeth GowansElizabeth Gowans, C’2023, Student Trustee

Elizabeth Gowans is a junior at Spelman pursuing a degree in history with a minor in curatorial studies. She is a Presidential Scholar in the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program and a Social Justice Program Fellow She is a passionate learner of history, historical and cultural preservation, and archives, especially as they relate to women leaders of ancient civilizations. In 2021 Gowans has had the opportunity to intern at the African American Museum of Dallas and the Studio Museum in Harlem.  In the future, she plans to earn a Ph.D. and pursure a career I higher education as a professor and eventually the President of a college or university.  She also wants to aid in the diversification of the art world.Gowans is also a member of the History Club, Spelman Chapter of National Council of Negro Women, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the AUC Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective, and the Spelman Social Justice Program/Unlocked Minds book club. Gowans is UNCF Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow.

Carmen Harris C2002Carmen Harris, C’2002, Alumna Trustee

Harris has cultivated innovative strategies between individuals, organizations and campaigns to improve the lives of priority populations -- especially Black women and girls. She began her career as an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with an interest in improving health disparities among overweight youth. In 2014, Harris shifted to the nonprofit sector as the manager of Innovation and Partnerships for America’s Essential Hospitals -- the only association for America’s public hospitals and health systems. In keeping with this calling, Harris founded -- and maintains to date -- The Food & Move Group, which provides clients such as the American Cancer Society with strategic support to increase physical activity and healthy food access in local communities and priority populations. Harris joined GirlTrek in 2016  and has served in various positions including chief of social impact and strategic partnerships and, later, as acting director of development helping to exceed their $3M fundraising goal by 100%. Harris is co-founder and managing partner of Mangus on Water, a cocktail bar and restaurant just outside of Portland, Maine. As a NAASC member and Spelman Sister2Sister mentor, Harris planned and led (along with two classmates) the Class of 2002’s peer-to-peer campaign: “Guard Our Gates.”

Gwen NortonGwen Adams Norton, Ex-Officio, Secretary of the Spelman College Board of Trustees

Gwendolyn Adams Norton is a retired finance executive. She previously served as a Senior Vice President & Business Banking Executive for Wachovia Bank where she was responsible for tri-state business, banking operations and banking strategy. Prior to her work at Wachovia, Norton was Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, and Commissioner, of Finance for the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Norton is a member of the Board of Trustees for The Visiting Nurse Service of New York and Aid to Artisans. She is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University and is on the Advisory Board to the Dean of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Vicki R. Palmer, President of The Palmer Group LLC, Community Leader

Ms. Palmer is president of The Palmer Group, a general management consulting company which she started shortly after her retirement from Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc in 2009. Ms. Palmer’s career in the Coca-Cola system spanned more than 25 years. At the time of her retirement, she was Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration. She was responsible for overseeing the Treasury Department, which managed the company’s $10B multicurrency debt portfolio and its $4B pension plan and 401(k) plan investments, Internal Audit and Enterprise Risk Management. She was also a member of the Executive Leadership Team and liaison to the Board of Directors. Palmer has been a member of the Board of Directors of First Horizon National Corporation since 1993. Ms. Palmer is also a member of the Board of Directors of Haverty’s Furniture Company where she serves on the Audit and Corporate Governance Committees. She also serves on the boards of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Woodward Academy, the Joseph Lowery Institute and the Sophie’s Voice Foundation. Most recently, Ms. Palmer served as co-chair of the Transition Team for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Larry SchallLawrence Schall, Trustee

Lawrence M. Schall is president of the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The NECHE is the regional accrediting body for 222 institutions of higher education in the six New England states and 11 American-style institutions in other countries. Prior to NECHE, Schall served for 15 years as the 16th president of Oglethorpe University; at the time of his retirement he was the longest-serving sitting university president in Georgia. Schall has written for The Huffington Post and his personal blog. Featured in The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and on NPR, CNN, and Bloomberg News, he has received national attention for his leadership on issues affecting the lives of college students, perhaps most notably co-founding College Presidents for Gun Safety. Schall has also been a staunch advocate for DACA students -- “Dreamers.” In February 2019, Oglethorpe became the first college or university in Georgia to partner with TheDream.US to offer scholarships to qualified immigrant students. Schall was named to Atlanta Business Chronicles’ list of "Most Admired CEOs of 2019" and "Most Influential Atlantans of 2017 and 2018."

Spelman Board of Trustee Suzanne ShankSuzanne Shank, Trustee

Shank is president and the largest equity owner of Shank Williams Cisneros & Co., LLC and CEO of Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC (SWS). Prior to the forming of SWS in 2019, Ms. Shank was Chairperson and CEO of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., L.L.C., a firm which she co-founded in 1996 as a start-up investment bank and grew to become the first MWBE firm to rank within the Top 10 of all U.S. municipal debt underwriters and to lead a municipal underwriting over $1 billion in principal amount. She is active in various industry and civic organizations and serves on several boards including: Pensare Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:WRLSU), CMS Energy Corporation (NYSE: CMS), Consumers Energy Company, Skillman Foundation, Bipartisan Policy Center Executive Council on Infrastructure, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Regional Chamber, and Global Citizen. Ms. Shank is also a member of the Wharton School’s Graduate Executive Board and is a member of the International Women’s Forum. She also serves on the SEC’s Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee. Ms. Shank has won numerous awards and honors throughout her career including receiving the 2017 Shot Caller Award presented at the BET “Black Girls Rock!”

Ronda Stryker Ronda Stryker, Trustee

Ronda Stryker is a member of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, serves on the Board of Directors of Stryker Corporation and is vice chair of Greenleaf Trust, a Michigan chartered trust bank. Stryker previously served as a director at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. As co-chair of the Women’s Education Coalition, she was instrumental in helping to raise more than $1 million to form the organization, which supports women who return to school as non-traditional students. Stryker’s philanthropic interests are focused on the empowerment of women and support of non-traditional student enhancement programs at colleges and universities. Additionally, her charitable gifting seeks to assist in the elimination of racism, sexism and homophobia.

Colleen TaylorColleen Taylor, C’90, Trustee

Collen Taylor serves as president of merchant services in the U.S. for American Express. She oversees the firm’s relationships with the millions of U.S. businesses that accepts its cards. Prior to joining American Express, Taylor served as the Executive Vice President, Head of Wells Fargo Merchant Services, and prior to that, Taylor served as the executive vice president, New Payments, at Mastercard, where she was responsible for driving volume growth from B2B, government and new economy (P2P, C2B, B2C, BlockChain, etc.) sources. She joined Mastercard from Capital One Bank, where she served as the head/executive vice president of Treasury Management & Merchant Services at Capital One Bank (USA), National Association. With almost 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, Taylor supported the Commercial Banking group. She was responsible for developing and managing a geographically diverse group of teams engaged in supporting business development, implementation and servicing efforts within the bank's real estate, middle market, small business and private banking groups. Taylor led the Merchant Services business, leveraging Capital One's footprint and brand to increase market share, revenue and profitability.

Dimeji TogundeDimeji Togunde, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Global Education

Dr. Togunde is vice provost for global education and professor of international studies at Spelman College, where he leads the Campus internationalization and its assessment. He directs the Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education, which is endowed with a $17 million to support international initiatives. He provides leadership for transforming into action the College’s commitment to engage students (and faculty) with “many cultures of the world” and to widen their socio-economic and political horizons in an increasingly complex and interdependent global society. Dr. Togunde has been very successful in rallying the Spelman Community to embrace the value of global education and in creating a culture of global learning that is now so fundamental to Spelman education. His successful leadership has produced reputational gains for Spelman College as a hub for global thinking and practice through several awards that include the 2017 Senator Paul Simon award for campus internationalization from NAFSA; Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in international education from Diversity Abroad in 2018; and the Generation Study Abroad Seal of Excellence from the Institute of International Education (IIE) in 2019. Moreover, Spelman has jumped in national ranking (IIE’s Open Doors Report on study abroad) from #31 to #15 among the baccalaureate institutions sending the highest number of students abroad. Recently, in September 2021, the US News & World Report recognized Spelman among the institutions having a stellar study abroad program (ranked #33) in the nation. A thought leader and scholar-practitioner in international education, Dr. Togunde serves as an advisor and consultant to several international organizations and sits on Global Studies Advisory Board, Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) National Executive Committee, Atlanta Global Studies Center Advisory Board, and on the Board of Directors of the International Student Exchange (ISEP) Study Abroad. Previously, he served on the advisory boards of Diversity Abroad and Diversity & Democracy, a publication of AAC&U. A member of Spelman College’s Leadership Council, Dr. Togunde received his Ph.D. Degree in Development Sociology from Cornell University.

Spelman Trustee Kathy WallerKathy Waller, Trustee

Ms. Waller retired from The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) in 2019 after more than 30 years of service, most recently as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and President, Enabling Services. In 2013, she became Vice President, Finance and Controller, assuming additional responsibilities for corporate treasury, corporate tax and finance capabilities, and served in that position until 2014, when she was appointed Chief Financial Officer and elected Executive Vice President. Ms. Waller assumed expanded responsibility for The Coca-Cola Company’s strategic governance areas when she was also appointed to serve as President, Enabling Services, in 2017. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, she worked for Deloitte Haskins and Sells Public Accounting Firm. Waller is a member of the board of directors of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL), CGI Inc. (NYSE: GIB) and Cadence Bancorporation. Previously she served on the board of directors of Coca-Cola FEMSA, S.A.B. de C.V and Monster Beverage Corporation. In addition, she is a member of the Board of The Woodruff Arts Center. In 2020, she was the Lifetime Achievement Award winner in Atlanta Business Chronicle's CFO of the Year Awards in partnership with the Association for Corporate Growth Atlanta.

Angela-Farris-Watkins Angela Farris Watkins, C’86, Faculty & Alumna

Angela Farris Watkins is an associate professor, chair of psychology, and the president of the Faculty Council at Spelman College. Watkins joined the faculty of Spelman College in 1995. Watkins is committed to liberation psychology; an understanding of the lived experience of oppressed groups and advocacy for psycho-social change. In response to the injustices facing African American learners, Watkins stresses the need for culturally responsive pedagogy. Her publications, Nurturing African American College Students: A Learning Styles Approach (in Mentoring African American College Students by L. Gallien and M. Peterson, Editors – Allyn & Bacon Publishers) and Learning Styles of African American Children: A Developmental Consideration (Journal of Black Psychology), are a testament to her advocacy. Watkins is also an expert in African American psychology and the author of African American Psychology Review. To address the need for HIV prevention programs targeted at African Americans, Watkins developed a model HIV/AIDS curriculum at Spelman College using funds granted from the United Negro College Fund and the American Psychological Association. As a fourth generation Spelman graduate, Watkins followed in the steps of her great-grandmother, grandmother, and her mother Dr. Christine King Farris, C’48. Watkin’s daughter is a fifth generation Spelman alumna.