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An Evening of Connection at Striving to Thrive: The Resilience of the Sisterhood

November 27, 2019
row of women applauding

On Tuesday, November 19, the Cal Alumni Association’s Berkeley Network program invited alumni and students to Alumni House for an evening of networking, discussion, and empowerment at Striving to Thrive: The Resilience of the Sisterhood. This event, part of The Berkeley Network’s Alumnae Career Advancement Series, aims to provide a space for Cal women to pursue professional development, discuss career advancement, and build meaningful relationships.

The evening began with a discussion hosted by an esteemed panel of Cal alumnae and professionals of various industries, from entertainment to public service to the boardroom. Panelists included Anna Klein, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs and Internal Communications, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.; Jesse B’Franklin, Producer, Monarch Pictures; Clothilde “Cloey” Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79, Executive Director, Cal Alumni Association; and Cathryn Rivera-Hernandez J.D. ’97, Appointments Secretary to the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom.

NBC Universal broadcast journalist Kim Baldonado ’87 moderated the discussion, prompting panelists to discuss questions such as “What was the biggest obstacle you encountered in your career and how did you overcome it?” and “How can women lift each other up in the workplace?” These groundbreaking women exchanged views on the importance of social connection in professional advancement, focusing on the social impact of women empowering and encouraging one another in the workplace.

Following the panel discussion, Baldonado opened up the conversation to audience members for an uplifting Q&A session. Guests received advice, perspective, and words of encouragement from the panelists. Insightful questions such as, “How did you stay motivated after experiencing moments of discrimination in the workplace?” and “What was a failure you experienced and how did you overcome it?” were posed. The panelists’ insight and honesty proved valuable for students and working professionals alike, and led to further thoughtful discussion that lasted through the final minutes of the event.


After the Q&A, attendees were invited onto the patio to meet, mingle, and network with fellow alumnae and professionals over light appetizers and wine poured by alumnae-owned Pride Mountain Vineyards. Many guests took the time to meet with the panelists to ask follow-up questions and learn more about their respective career journeys. Students took the initiative to discuss internship opportunities with alumnae who were once in their place and in whose footsteps they wish to follow.

As some guests mingled outside, others enjoyed hand massages inside provided by the event’s title sponsor, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.

The Berkeley Network will join a campus-wide celebration of the 150th anniversary of women at Berkeley in 2020 by hosting female-led webinars and an upcoming panel with CEOs. To get in contact with fellow alumni and find more opportunities to connect, sign up for the Berkeley Career Network.