On Board With the WCAA

The members of the WCAA board pose in the College Club.

The 2019–20 Board of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association.

(Front row, l. to r.) Albina Thakkar Heidebrecht ’03 (chair of Alumnae Admission Representatives), Martha McGowan Marlowe ’68, Shivani Kuckreja ’16, Martha Goldberg Aronson ’89 (president), Crystal Churchwell ’07 (chair of the Wellesley Fund), Charlotte Hayes ’75, Kimberly Miller Davis ’88; (Back row) Sally Katz ’78, Cheryl Whaley ’87, Stephanie Hsieh ’89, Sarah Jean Kelly ’05, Alice Hummer (editor, Wellesley magazine, ex officio), Margo Loebl ’82 (treasurer/secretary), Kathryn Harvey Mackintosh ’03 (executive director, ex officio), Amy Tsui Luke ’90, Dolores Arredondo ’95. Missing: Leslie de Leon ’07. Photo by Lisa Abitbol

When Dolores Arredondo ’95, of Whittier, Calif., joined the board of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association in 2018, she brought extensive volunteer experience to the table. She had served Wellesley in a variety of roles: president and founding board member of the Wellesley Latina Alumnae Network; president and board member of the Wellesley Club of Pasadena; and member of the Southern California Leadership Gift Committee. Also a veteran of boards for organizations in her community, she sat down to talk about how the WCAA board operates and what makes it unique.

How would you describe your role as a WCAA board member?

My primary responsibility as a board member is to support the mission and help shape the strategic priorities of the WCAA, including supporting the College’s priorities and connecting alumnae to the College and each other.

What is your particular focus?

I currently serve on three committees: (1) the Strategic Communications Committee, which provides strategic oversight of alumnae communications; (2) the Executive Support Committee, which provides support for and evaluates the WCAA’s two senior staff members; and (3) the Program Committee, where I serve as committee co-chair. This committee oversees and evaluates the programs of the Association. I have served on the Nominating Committee, which researches and identifies prospective board members, and on the recent search committee for the WCAA’s new executive director.

How much of a time commitment is it?

[That] fluctuates, depending on the deliverables of the board committee. For example, when I was serving on the Nominating Committee, it was possible to commit up to 10 hours in a given week if we were in the middle of developing a slate of candidates for the board’s review and approval. Board members also attend three meetings a year on campus. They are intentionally scheduled around BLUEprint and reunion to give alumnae an opportunity to engage with board members.

Why do you enjoy serving on this board?

It is an opportunity to give back to the College while helping to foster that same sense of community with alumnae that we enjoyed as students. I really enjoy the strategic thought leadership as we plan for the needs of alumnae today and also consider the future needs of both the College and our alumnae community around the world.

How is it different from other boards you’ve served on?

Not surprisingly, my fellow WCAA board members always come to meetings well prepared with all of the pre-reading completed and ready to ask tough and thoughtful questions. It is the perfect balance of a professional board sprinkled with a personal touch. We share our love for Wellesley College and our alumnae community, and it really shows in meetings and every interaction. This is not the same experience and level of commitment that I experience on many other boards.

What new insights have you gleaned thanks to your board service?

Many of us still think of the College as we experienced it when we were students. Regardless of when we graduated, that is our reference point. However, the needs of the College are vast, complex, and evolving with changing times. I have developed a new appreciation for where the College is today. I’m grateful for President Paula Johnson’s leadership to continue to elevate Wellesley College and ensure its place as an elite institution for many future generations.

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