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Women's Group Creator Honored at Conference

March, 2003

STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS—Twenty years ago, when the Stanford Business School received a grant to support its women students. Laraine Zappert of the Medical School faculty and a friend of the School's, made a suggestion. Why not establish small groups of women students, hire and train facilitators, and then let the women support one another?

Today, Women in Management (WIM) groups flourish. The voluntary program attracts 180 of the School's current women students who find the groups a safe place to talk about the stresses and challenges they face. Many of the groups stay in close touch long after graduation, sharing the stages in their lives. A sign of how the program has matured is that one of the early WIM groups has recently started negotiating to buy retirement property.

At the 2003 Women's Conference March 1, Business School Dean Robert L. Joss honored Zappert for her role in helping the School offer creative support to women students. While student leaders change each year, Zappert, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has been a constant force, supporting the groups and also doing academic research to track the former students as they move through their careers. Some of that research is captured in her 2001 book Getting it Right.

"She has assured the women's groups continued success, trained facilitators, and acted as a facilitator herself," said Stephanie Twomey, MBA '83, told the audience. Twomey is one of five members of the WIM alumnae advisory board that works with the current student leaders. Other members are Anne Casscells, MBA '85; Shelley Floyd, MBA '77; Kathleen Hogan, MBA '94; and Anne Large, MBA '96.

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