BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College is proud to announce its annual Women & Leadership Symposium, scheduled for April 5 and 6, 2024. This year’s event will focus on the theme of teamwork, highlighting the critical role it plays in professional success and leadership development. 

The symposium will feature multiple Bethany alumnae as distinguished speakers, panelists, and emcees who will offer invaluable insights into the importance of collaboration and cooperation in achieving career goals. Additionally, this year’s event will include a special networking reception for alumnae, students, and staff, providing an opportunity for meaningful connections and mentorship opportunities.  

The College is adding a special touch to this year’s symposium by including a student-alumna duo as our emcees and graduate student on the panel, emphasizing Bethany College’s commitment to empowering the next generation of female leaders.

Friday night’s keynote speaker is Jennifer Grondahl ’97, senior vice president of community development and communications for the Baltimore Orioles. As a senior vice president in a traditionally male-dominated field, Grondahl provides a unique perspective on leadership, teamwork, and advancing your career. With a wealth of experience in strategic communication and community outreach, she will share her expertise in building and maintaining relationships for professional success.

Princess Serrano ’14, a dynamic leader with over a decade of experience in finance and media, will be the keynote speaker on Saturday. Serrano’s unique career journey exemplifies the power of teamwork and innovation in achieving personal and professional goals. She currently works as a payroll specialist at Proskauer Rose, an Amlaw 500 law firm where she helps manage over one billion dollars in revenue. She also works at Sirius XM in sport programming, which she’s maintained for nine years. 

Saturday will bring a panel featuring multiple strong women, including Alicia Jordan ’99, and interestingly her college roommate Karen Zengel ‘99. Jordan is the marketing director for Belmont Savings Bank and past president of the Sunrise Rotary Club in St. Clairsville. She is currently the president-elect for the Wheeling Symphony Board of Directors, and vice president of the Board for the St. Clairsville recreation center. Karen Zengel ’99, executive director for St. Vincent de Paul in Northern Ky. Thanks to a generous community and network of over 600 dedicated volunteers, Zengel and St. Vincent de Paul NKY directly served over 37,000 people last year, providing financial assistance and basic needs to those who were struggling to make ends meet. Both Jordan and Zengel bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the symposium, highlighting the diverse career paths available to women in leadership roles.  

Also on the panel are Rev. Erin James-Brown, pastor of Bethany Memorial Church and College Chaplain and alumna and graduate student, Sophie Morey ‘23. James-Brown brings a passionate advocacy for social justice and community engagement to the discussion. Morey, a recent graduate of Bethany College and student in Bethany’s inaugural MBA class, will share her experiences and insights, inspiring attendees with her dedication to academic excellence and community impact. Morey was the first recipient of the Scarlett Foster Women & Leadership Award.

Diane Thompson ‘82 will be the moderator for the panel. Thomspon has had a diverse career journey. After graduation, she transitioned into social work, advocating for adults with disabilities before pursuing her passion for education. She taught high school English, served as a middle school principal, and eventually retired in 2021 as assistant superintendent/director of special education and pre-school services. Despite retirement, she remains engaged in community service, serving on boards supporting inclusive employment for adults with disabilities.

Among the emcees for the symposium are Theresamarie Banks ’24 and Rachel (Samlall) Whitfield ’13. Banks is majoring in interdisciplinary studies focused on biology with a minor in music. Banks is an active member of various campus organizations, including ΑΨΩ National Theatre and Performing Arts Society, Bethany College ASL Club (American Sign Language), and the Bison: On The Spot! Improv Comedy Troupe.

Whitfield ’13, co-founder of Waterloo Street, a branding and website design agency based in Pittsburgh, Pa., brings her expertise in empowering female entrepreneurs to the symposium. As the co-founder of The Biz Collective, an online platform spotlighting women-owned businesses, Whitfield is committed to fostering collaboration and community among women in business. With her background in communications from Bethany College, Whitfield exemplifies the College’s dedication to preparing students for success in their respective fields.

The Women & Leadership Symposium promises to be an enriching and empowering event for all attendees, providing valuable networking opportunities and insights into the importance of teamwork in achieving career success. 

A scholarship will also be awarded annually in Scarlett Foster’s ‘79 name to a Bethany female upperclassman who has shown remarkable leadership during their time at Bethany—the Scarlett Foster Women & Leadership Award. This award was created last year to honor Foster’s contributions and dedication to empowering the women of Bethany College. The $1,000 scholarship will allow the students awarded to use it for their professional development. 

The Women & Leadership Symposium is named for distinguished Bethany alumna Ann Wilkin Trombadore, a native Wellsburg, W.Va. She graduated magna cum laude from Bethany with a degree in economics in 1951 and received her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1954. Trombadore was an active member of the Bethany College Board of Trustees for more than two decades, was the recipient of the Distinguished Service to Alma Mater award in 1996 and was made an Emeritus Life Trustee member following the 1998-99 school year. 

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