WLGO Q3 Newsletter

Can you believe summer is half way over?   For this newsletter, we focus on alumnae graduating in 2001-2006.

Stacy Bergman ’01, Wini Hebalkar ’07 & Shafali Hill ‘99


What’s Up

Michele Parrish is planning to create a working group with the mission of educating and finding opportunities for women to serve on corporate and non-profit boards.  She is seeking two to three additional women to participate who either have board experience or wish to gain that experience.  Anticipate kick-off will occur in the fall. 

Some interesting statistics:

In 2010, percentage of women directors for Fortune 500 was 15.7% (856 out of 5463 total board seats).

When surveyed, 93% of women and 92% of men enjoy serving on boards.

Top three skill-sets both men and women say they bring to the board are industry knowledge, financial/auditing expertise, and strategic ability.  

The 2012 BOD Survey by Heidrick & Struggles asked what do you think is the primary reason that the percentage of women on boards is not increasing.  Responses based on 1000 director survey from 58 countries

     * Traditional networks tend to be male-oriented:  35% of women, 21% of men

     * Relative lack of access for qualified women to decision-makers on boards: 19% women, 10% men

     * Diversity is not a top priority in board recruiting:  18% of women, 18% of men

     * Lack of women in executive ranks:  18% of women, 45% of men 

If interested in participating, contact Michele Parrish – michele.m.parrish@gmail.com 


The WLGO Newsletter group is looking for volunteers to assist in creating future editions.  The group is also looking for alumnae to be profiled in upcoming issues.  If interested in participating, contact Shafali Hill  – shafalir@hotmail.com


The WLGO steering committee is continuing to maintain the WLGO information file and distributing updates each quarter.  If you have an information update or would like to be included for the first time, contact Stacy Laxton  – sbergman01@hotmail.com 


If you have not joined the WLGO website, it is easy.  Simply go to http://www.wlgo.org/ and click on the “Join” tab.  After completing the application form, you will receive an e-mail with an user name and password.  


Your Voice

A number of WLGO members descended upon MIT campus for the 2013 LGO Alumni Conference and enjoyed catching up with friends during the conference and networking events.

WLGO Networking Event

Alison Page ’01 and her husband, Jon Frommelt ’01 live in Nuremberg, Germany. They are enjoying life in Europe, both working for the Adidas group but active in sport and travel as time permits. They enjoyed reconnecting with LGO alumni at the 2011 conference in Lucerne

Julie Ferley ’01 lives in South Easton MA and is 8 weeks into a new job as a Sr. Manager at Greatbatch in Raynham, MA after working as a Director of Quality. She is delighted to save two hours commuting daily by making the switch and enjoys the added time with family, including 11 year old Nicholas and 7 year old Katherine. “They are as different as night and day and we wouldn’t want them to be any other way!”

Julie Wilhelmi ’01 lives in Haymarket, VA working for The Boeing Company and loves spending most of her free time with husband, Dan, and kids, Zoey and Evan, at soccer games, swim meets or playing board games. She looks forward to reconnecting with friends at the 2014 LGO alumni conference.

Laura Kennedy ’01 lives in Calgary, Canada and enjoys a reasonable work/life balance with an oil and gas career and a 3 year old daughter.

Sara Metcalf ’01 is now a tenured Associate Professor in Geography at The University of Buffalo (SUNY) in Buffalo, NY.  Her daughter Alex just finished first grade and is looking forward to second grade.

Lynn Delisle Vara ’01 lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband Chris. She is a part-time independent lean manufacturing consultant and part-time ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher at the local community college.  She has been studying Spanish for a few years and plans to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path in Northern Spain in May 2014.  Chris isn’t as enthusiastic about walking but has agreed to meet Lynn for the last week of the month-long pilgrimage.

Brianne Metzger-Doran ’03 recently attended the 2013 LGO Alumni conference. Brianne lives in Houston, TX and is a Director of Strategic Projects at Spectra Energy. She has been married to her amazing husband Joe, whom she met on an airplane, and they have a lovely 4 year old daughter.

Michelle Bernson ’04 lives in Seattle, WA. She is currently Director of Product Safety and Chief Engineer of Air Safety Investigations at The Boeing Company and recently attended the alumni conference. She has two children, Amelia age 5 and Nate age 3. 

Kimberly Murdoch ’04 is a VP of Operations at Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems (ACSS). She and her husband, Mike Parkins ’04, live in Scottsdale, AZ and are eagerly anticipating their first child in July!

Rachel Sheinbein ’04 is a Venture Partner at CMEA Capital and lives in San Francisco, CA. She got married in 2012 and enjoyed meeting with friends and fellow alumnae at the WLGO networking reception during the 2013 conference.

Sara (Mortenson) Schiveley ’04 lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with Steve Schiveley ’04 and has three children (Laura 7 yrs, Larson 3 yrs, & Linnea 4 months). She currently enjoys spending time at home with the kids.  

Shaheen Parks ’04 is a Principal Consultant with Forrester Research and lives in Weston, MA with 2 kids, son Zadewho turns 4 in September and daughter Rayya, who is 2. She enjoyed the 2013 LGO Alumni conference in May but was sad to miss the WLGO networking.

Tanja Vainio ’04 lives in Budapest, Hungary working as Country Manager & CEO for ABB Hungary. Mikko and Tanja have 3 beautiful daughters: Jasmin & Julia 6 years, Aino 3 years. 

 Minja Lohrer ’05 lives in the Zurich area in Switzerland, working in Corporate Strategy and Acquisitions for Sulzer, a Swiss industrial company providing equipment and solutions for companies in O&G, power, water and transportation industries. Her family moved last year to the town where her husband grew up after 10 years of living in the US and Asia. Her children, 5 and 7 years old, and the parents enjoy the great quality of life, beautiful scenery, good skiing and chocolate…

Ruby Lam ’05 lives and works in Hong Kong as an Assistant Director in the Career Center at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She is married and the mother of two beautiful little girls, Carys (7) and Aimee (5).

 Aimee (Vessell) Wiedmeyer ’06 recently reconnected with friends at the recent LGO conference. Aimee lives in West Bend (Milwaukee), WI and is the Director of Platform Launch at Harley-Davidson Motor Company. She got married just about a year and a half ago and became an overnight parent of three dogs (a 3 yr Lab-mix and two German Shepherd pups, just over a year old) and two boys ages 21 and 18, not to mention now a husband, a new home and a change of name.  She loves to say “I lost a letter (V to W) and gained a husband”.

Andrea Jones ’06 is a Principal in her self-titled firm, Andrea Jones Consulting, LLC in Portland, OR. She and husband, Alex, have three kids with a fourth due in January 2014. Alex just graduated on June 23, 2013 from an Executive MBA program through the University of Oregon. She thought the WLGO networking reception at the conference was great and looks forward to more such events.

PS: Andrea will be sharing a presentation on Non Traditional Career Paths with the WLGO community on October 17. She wants everyone to get out for a walk during her talk!

Brooke Kahl ’06 is a Director of Operations at Ross Stores in Charlotte, North Carolina and reconnected with friends at the 2013 LGO Alumni Conference.

Jessica Rosenberger Sahney ’06 is a Manager of Hardware Planning at Amazon.com in Seattle, WA. She is married to fellow LGO alum Vik Sahney ’05 and enjoyed catching up with everyone at the recent alumni conference. 

Alumnae Spotlight

Stacy (Bergman) Laxton, WLGO 2001Stacey Bergman

Career Plan

Prior to MIT, Stacy worked for General Motors and the automotive component spinoff, Delphi.  While not the career plan that drove her to study engineering as an undergraduate, automotive manufacturing became her professional passion after completing summer internships in variety of manufacturing departments.  After graduating from LGO in 2001, Stacy returned to Delphi and worked in manufacturing, product development, process development, and continuous improvement in senior management roles.

 Workaholic Lifestyle

Starting with her freshman year of undergraduate studies, Stacy became a self-proclaimed workaholic.  The lifestyle was driven by comments made by high school teachers who stated that she would have to work extremely hard to obtain an engineering degree given the coursework provided in her small town high school.  The hard work garnered her academic awards, internship opportunities, and likeminded friends.

 The workaholic mentality continued through the earlier stages of Stacy’s career.   If weekend support was needed, she was the first to volunteer.  If there was a support trip to a less than desirable location, she was the first to volunteer.  Again, the hard work was rewarded.  This time, it was a fellowship opportunity to attend MIT.

 The Change

After LGO, Stacy’s career was rapidly on the rise.  Her company had been bought by a competitor, and she was one of the few middle level managers retained with an upward career path.  Stacy was happily married with plans to start a family.  It was the epitome of the working woman’s having it all.  

In May 2009, Stacy was expecting her first child and was offered a high ranking expatriate opportunity in Germany following maternity leave.  Then, everything changed.  Upper management swooped in from overseas and required Stacy to fire ninety percent of her associates in the midst of economic downturn. 

Less than two weeks later, with two months left in her pregnancy, Stacy became gravely ill.  She was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening variant of pre-eclampsia with symptoms that include breakdown of blood and liver systems.  The doctors were not optimistic that the baby would survive the delivery.  They were also not optimistic that Stacy would endure the procedure without at least some long-term complications. 

Barbara, Stacy’s daughter, survived against the odds.  Although born at three pounds and two months early, Barbara has thrived with only minor development issues.   

It took an extended maternity leave for Stacy to overcome all the complications of the delivery.  During which time, Stacy and her family decided to change their lifestyle and priorities.  They decided to decline the offer of advancement with the expatriate experience in Germany.  They decided to find employment opportunities to be near and to make more time for family.  Stacy made a commitment to change her workaholic lifestyle, to be home at a reasonable hour most nights and to limit long-term travel. 


Currently, Stacy lives with her husband and daughter in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  She works at a small oil and gas equipment manufacturing company as the Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain.  The position provides the technical and managerial challenges that most LGO alumnae would seek.  More importantly, it provides her with the opportunity to be home each night and to be near the extended family.  The workaholic lifestyle is not completely gone.  Some old habits are hard to break.  However, a simple reminder by family renews Stacy focus on work/life balance.  And, most days, she truly believes she has it all.  

Point to Ponder

A work colleague recently invited me to an informal book club discussion on Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In”. One of many ideas Sheryl shares in the book is to “Create a coalition” where women support and encourage other women to achieve success. 

This idea was also discussed in a broader context at the recent 2013 LGO Alumni Conference during a panel moderated by Jan Klein on “LGOs Hiring LGOs — Leading Leaders”. 

What do you think WLGO alumnae can and should do to encourage other women leaders? Whether you have experience mentoring or hiring women or are on the receiving end of such support, share your thoughts and ideas at: http://www.wlgo.org/activity/

Wini Hebalkar, LGO ’07

2 Replies to “WLGO Q3 Newsletter”

  1. Great newsletter! Thanks to everyone who shared an update, and to Stacy for telling her story.

  2. So great to hear about my ’01 peers and inspiring story from Stacy! True reminder that live is too short and is only upon us to define what work-life balance is all about!

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