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Fund Directors

Fund Directors

The Fund Directors are a board of twelve alumni volunteers from different eras and different geographical regions. They work closely with the Annual Giving staff throughout the year as advocates, advisors and devoted volunteers to ensure that the Alumni Fund remains a vibrant resource for Bowdoin. Fund Directors are asked to serve based on their record of dedication to the Alumni Fund as Class Agents and as donors. A Fund Director’s term is three years and entails attendance at four meetings per year, two in person (Fall and Spring Annual Conferences) and two conference calls.

Meeting Dates

  • 2014 fall meeting:  October 17-18, 2014
  • 2015 spring meeting: March 27-28, 2015

Cali Tran '97 - Chair

Cali TranWhy do you volunteer to serve on the Fund Directors?
Because Brannon asked me to... (just kidding, but not really...)

The College provided the environment that encouraged me to challenge my personal, intellectual and emotional limits; and, not surprisingly, the Bowdoin experience helped shape who I am today. The privilege of serving as a Fund Director is an opportunity to give back to the community that has impacted my life is such a meaningful way.  

What do you do professionally?
I invest in and work closely with fantastic entrepreneurs who aim to change the world with innovative technology and great products. 

What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
The appreciation that the relationship is ever dynamic - as Bowdoin continues to adapt to a fast changing world, so does the nature of our relationship as alumni. As advocates of the College, it is our responsibility to ensure that what made the Bowdoin experience unique to us, remain open and available to the many future generations of Polar Bears. 

Kristin Pollock '04 - Vice-Chair

Martha HigginsWhy do you volunteer for the Fund Directors?
Because I believe in Bowdoin and the offer of the college and see firsthand the positive impact that Bowdoin graduates have on their communities. I treasure my under-graduate experience and want to ensure every Bowdoin Polar Bear has as rich and unique an experience as I did. 
 
What do you do professionally?
Over the last decade, I have served as a development officer at several cultural institutions in Chicago. I currently serve as Director of Individual and Major Giving for Shedd Aquarium. The most important aspect of my role is in building and maintaining relationships, and I have had the opportunity to help advance some fine cultural institutions in Chicago. I’m honored to do my part to help advance an institution, Bowdoin, that I care so much about! 
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
My relationship with Bowdoin is constant and dynamic. Although my four years on campus ended in 2004, the college continues to inform my approach, perspectives and outlook—guided by the relationships that I’ve made through the Bowdoin community, both on campus and post-graduation. With such a diverse and engaged student body, the personality of the college is hard to define precisely, but I recognize some qualities—curiosity, wit, compassion and a respect for community—in alums of all ages.

Mark Bayer '79

Chris DayWhy do you volunteer to serve on the Fund Directors?
Twenty-five years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.” I say, “Everything I really need to know, I learned at Bowdoin.” Although Bowdoin is a better place now than when I was a student, I want to help make it even better.   
 
What do you do professionally?
I am the co-chair of the trial section of a large Texas law firm, although most of my cases take me out of the state. Essentially, I’m a hired gun, handling large business disputes.

What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
The people! Bowdoin people are different….Smart, engaged, friendly, passionate, interesting, collegial, and worldly. That’s true of the students, alumni, faculty and staff. For me, every visit to campus is reinvigorating and it reminds me why I fell in love with the place almost 40 years ago. I just need to figure out a way to stay full time!

Liz Cartland '99

Chris DayWhy do you volunteer to serve on the Fund Directors?
I am grateful to Bowdoin for the lessons I learned, the relationships I made and the person that it helped me to become. Working as a Class Agent, and now serving, as a Fund Director is a way for me to give back to the school that gave so much to me. I also enjoy the opportunity to engage with Polar Bears from other classes and remain engaged in the college community which has served so many.
 
What do you do professionally?
I have spent my career to date in nonprofit fundraising, primarily working with individual donors on everything from membership to Major and Planned gifts. After graduation from Bowdoin I moved to Boston where I worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Joslin Diabetes Center and most recently the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. In 2013 I became the Director of Development for the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME. I work to engage others in a meaningful way with the visual arts and enable people to make lasting impacts on institutions that are important to them. It is wonderful to be doing this back in Maine and closer to Bowdoin!

What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
There are many important aspects of my relationship with Bowdoin, but what I value most are the relationships that I have because of Bowdoin. Whether it is my family, my amazing group of friends, professional colleagues or networks, or people that I meet in every day life, when you have Bowdoin in common, the connection and community are instantaneous. I feel lucky to be able to participate in a meaningful way in the continued success of a place so important to me and so many others.

Chris Day '99

Chris DayWhy do you volunteer to serve on the Fund Directors?
Being a Fund Director allows me to give back to a place that gave so much to me.  I met my wife at Bowdoin.  I met many of my best friends at Bowdoin.  I made many of my favorite memories at Bowdoin.  When I was approached by the Alumni Giving office regarding the Fund Director position, it was the logical next step in trying to help provide today’s students with the same experience that I had at the College.   
 
What do you do professionally?
Upon graduating from Bowdoin, I entered the financial services industry with Putnam Investments. I then spent three years as an institutional salesman at Decision Economics, a macro-economic consulting firm.  Following my time with Decision Economics, I decided to move to the buy-side and joined Breckinridge Capital as a member of their Consultant Relations team.  I have been with Breckinridge for close to nine years, focusing most of my efforts on business development and relationship management.

What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
It goes directly against the identification of one aspect, but I love that my relationship with the school is so multi-faceted.  As I mentioned, my wife and best friends are Bowdoin graduates, but I also enjoy speaking with students regarding their careers, staying in touch with the school through the sports teams, meeting other Bowdoin graduates professionally and helping to raise money for the school.  It is a testament to the greatness of the school that it can stay a relevant part of so many aspects of my life. 

Wheeler Gemmer '79

Wheeler GemmerWhy do you volunteer for the Fund Directors?
Basically because Bowdoin has become a priority of mine, and I have the time.  I have really enjoyed acting as a Class Agent; it, along with having a house in Maine again, rekindled my interest in the school.  I am thrilled to be able to give back something to the place that gave so much to me. 
 
What do you do/did you do professionally?
For almost thirty years I worked in international banking.  I started at the old First National Bank of Boston in the commercial bank training program and ended at Bank Julius Baer, a Swiss-based private bank, in New York.  Although I had various roles over the years, the one  I enjoyed most was acting as a relationship manager for Latin American families who invested in the U.S., and without a doubt my most rewarding professional years were those living and working in Mexico City and Buenos Aires. 
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
That it does not have to be something from the past.  By working on the Alumni Fund, interviewing prospective students, and going to lots of Bowdoin games and concerts when I am in Maine, I almost feel like a current student (who is just a tad older and who doesn't have to live in the library).

Christian Larochelle '12

Why do you volunteer on the Fund Directors? During my senior year at Bowdoin, I worked with others to re-shape what is now known as the Senior Class Gift Campaign. This experience really opened my eyes to the massive impact that the Alumni Fund has on all aspects of life at the College. The Alumni Fund helps provide greater opportunity in the arts, sciences, athletics, campus life, and more broadly through financial aid. In any given academic year, 40-50% of students receive financial aid which can open doors for and change the lives of students. Volunteering as an Alumni Fund Director allows me to help ensure that those who come to Brunswick after me have access to the same opportunities that I did during my four years there.

What do you do professionally?
I currently work as an equities analyst at a fund in Boston where I perform due diligence on existing and potential investments based on fundamental analysis. My coverage responsibilities include all industries except financials and healthcare. I previously spent time at J.P. Morgan in New York working with industrial, aerospace and defense, and transportation companies to execute M&A and financing activities.
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
Bowdoin is and always will be a part of my family, figuratively and literally, as my five brothers also attended the College. We have taken various paths, which speaks to the value of a Bowdoin education across a number fields.

Joe Leghorn '74

Why do you volunteer on the Fund Directors? My years at Bowdoin formed who I am today. Helping to support the programs and the students at Bowdoin, especially the College’s commitment to need blind admissions and all grant financial aid, allows me, in some small measure, to repay all those who made Bowdoin possible for me.

What do you do/did you do professionally?
For 37 years, I have been a trial lawyer at large law firms in Chicago and Boston. My career has been helping people solve their problems. My plan is to slow down a bit professionally and to spend more time on my current other passions, organic and sustainable agriculture and food justice.
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
Growing up in Brooklyn, feeling a part of a community was difficult. Bowdoin was my first experience with a caring and supportive community. Most of my lifelong friends are from Bowdoin. Now, I also have the pleasure to have two daughters who have joined our alumni community. The strength of the Bowdoin community over the 44 years since I matriculated demonstrates the strength and goodness of the College.

Sean Marsh '95

Sean MarshWhy do you volunteer on the Fund Directors? I am serving as a Fund Director and I support Bowdoin in other ways for two reasons.  The first is that my Bowdoin experience, both as a student and as an alum has been formative for me in numerous ways.  The second reason is that Bowdoin is an institution that truly changes the lives of people who otherwise might not have the opportunities to better themselves, their families and the world.  With nearly half the students benefitting from some form of financial aid, it is clear that Bowdoin offers students the opportunity to obtain an education that can lift them up in the world and allow them to become great leaders and improve the lives of countless numbers of others.  Bowdoin relies on many forms of financial contributions well beyond tuition revenue to deliver this important service to society and I am honored to be able to help raise some of that money.

What do you do professionally?
I am a venture capitalist and I invest in innovative and daring entrepreneurs who want to change the world.  I am also, to an extent, an entrepreneur in that I started my firm with some partners and 11 years later we are still going strong.
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
The relationships I have with alumni, students, faculty, and administrators.  Life is really about the people around you and the "Bowdoin people" in every aspect of my life are exceptional.

Mary McNamara ’83

Why do you volunteer on the Fund Directors?
As the oldest of four children and a first-generation college student, I am deeply grateful for the generous financial support Bowdoin offered me. Bowdoin's benevolence also helped my parents meet my siblings' tuition needs when three of us were in college at the same time. Volunteering as a Fund Director is my opportunity to repay my family's debt of gratitude and support need-blind admissions, allowing future Bowdoin students access to a life-changing experience regardless of ability to pay.

What do you do professionally?
The beauty of a Bowdoin education is that it prepares you to do anything and everything. Over the years, I have been a software developer, a marketer, and a consultant. Currently I run a small, healthcare-focused private equity group. I am also an active board member and volunteer in my community.
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
"The Offer of the College" is on the bulletin board in my kitchen. Every day it reminds me of the world of possibility that I am fortunate to experience because of my relationship with Bowdoin.

Sara Beard Schiller '92

Amanda LazarusWhy do you volunteer on the Fund Directors?
I am deeply grateful for my Bowdoin education and I understand the Alumni Fund’s value in creating opportunities for students.  Serving as a Fund Director allows me to contribute to Bowdoin through my areas of expertise: strategy and marketing.  I also believe that Bowdoin has something to offer Alumni and that through the Alumni Fund graduates can reconnect with Bowdoin and spark new relationships with the College that so deeply shaped their formative years.  Helping others reconnect with Bowdoin is a rewarding experience.

What do you do professionally?
I manage the day-to-day operations of Meet At The Apartment, a creative meeting space that I co-founded with my husband. Meet At The Apartment offers companies an amazing space to hold a strategy or brainstorming session, product launches or focus group. I am also the co-founder of Wooster Collective, which showcases and celebrates ephemeral art placed on city streets around the world. Our mission is to discover and document authentic art experiences via salons, lectures, publishing, gallery shows, and online at www.woostercollective.com. This year we celebrated our 10th Anniversary by curating an exhibit of over 55 of the top street artists in the world. We have published many books and in 2010 released “Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art” with Taschen. In 2006, we organized one of the most significant exhibitions of street art ever at an abandoned building in downtown New York, and "11 Spring" was chosen by the NYTimes as one of the top art exhibitions of the year. As a global voice for street art we have spoken at the Tate Modern, TedX Bloomington and The New Museum. I earned my MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU and for many years did strategy work for Starwood Hotels and as a management consultant. I live in downtown New York with my husband Marc and my daughters Samantha and Charlotte.
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
I am always learning from the people I meet and work with at Bowdoin. It is these ongoing relationships that are so rewarding and motivate me to continue to support the College.

Joanie Taylor '03

Why do you volunteer on the Fund Directors?
I volunteer for Bowdoin because I am grateful for the generosity of the alumni who helped make my experience possible. I feel my efforts both honor them and help further the tradition of strong alumni giving. I am especially excited to serve as a fund director so I may help support the Alumni Fund volunteers who work so hard to preserve and enhance the place we love. My primary goal is to boost total participation and I strongly believe consistent alumni gifting benefits the college far beyond individual dollar amounts.

What do you do professionally?
I have spent my career in beauty and wellness marketing and yes, I do have a ridiculously well stocked product closet. I currently work on the global marketing team of a luxury skin care company based in NYC. I focus on consumer engagement and the customer experience across all of the brand’s touchpoints. My fascination with how we care for, present, and experience our physical bodies developed during a research project I completed at Bowdoin.
 
What is the most important aspect of your relationship with Bowdoin?
The community. I have met so many truly fantastic people through Bowdoin. These relationships have inspired, challenged and supported me. Some of these people are classmates, alumni and professors I met while I was a student. Some of them, I met long after we both graduated from Bowdoin. Some didn’t even go to Bowdoin but were introduced to me by Bowdoin alumni. My life continues to be enriched by the Bowdoin community. Also, I miss the dining hall.

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