Meet the powerful women of the 2016 Columbia Women's Leadership Conference

Spec is hosting some of the country’s most badass women this weekend at our 2016 Columbia Women’s Leadership Conference.

We’re hearing from journalists, civil rights advocates, CEOs, and more. You may not have heard of these women by name, but chances are you’re familiar with their work.

Read up on their stories below, then grab your tickets for the event to hear more from the women themselves on Friday.

Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union

Channel the school pride: She’s a Barnard alum. Up in MoHi, Herman majored in philosophy before heading downtown for a J.D. from NYU. Ever since then, she’s been embodying the “bold, beautiful Barnard” spirit, having appeared on shows like NPR, PBS, and C-SPAN to discuss constitutional law issues, written several books, and participated in Supreme Court litigation for the ACLU.

Gloria Feldt, Former President of Planned Parenthood

Feldt’s fought for civil rights for most of her life, written multiple New York Times bestselling books, and served as the president of Planned Parenthood for nine years. And, according to her LinkedIn, she “hangs out on social media way too much,” giving you hope that you too can lead a productive life while still maintaining your addiction to stalking the Overheard at Barnard page.

Kyung-Ah Park, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and Board Member of Girls Inc. in NYC

At her day job, Park oversees Goldman Sachs’ global environmental initiatives. But by night, she transforms into an advocate for young women at Girls Inc., a nationwide nonprofit that provides low income girls with mentoring and educational programming.

Asra Nomani, Journalist and Co-Director of the Pearl Project

Nomani teaches journalism at Georgetown and also co-directs the Pearl Project, an investigative reporting project into the kidnapping of her colleague Daniel Pearl. She has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Plus, she’been on Bill Maher.

Carmen Rita Wong, Journalist and Contributor to MSNBC and CBS

Wong has a Masters in psychology from Columbia and now works as a personal finance expert. She’s been on shows like Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, and Oprah and writes the financial advice column in Glamour that you should read but don’t. Come hear her speak to get some advice on how to not run out of Dining Dollars halfway through the semester.

Lisbeth Shepherd, Founder of Green City Force

Shepherd founded what has been named the city’s most innovative non-profit. Green City Force addresses climate change and youth unemployment together by providing a training program for young adults in NYC, which involves everything from cleaning up roofs to building the city’s first urban farm.

Angélica Pérez-Litwin, Founder & CEO of Latinas Think Big

Another Columbia alum, Pérez-Litwin is the CEO of a professional network to help advance the careers and influence of Latinas, which has been covered extensively in publications like the Huffington Post.

Cecilia Birge, Former Mayor of Montgomery Township

A former math teacher and graduate of Columbia’s Teachers College, Birge went on to become the mayor of Montgomery Township in New Jersey. Now, she works for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to preserve open areas and farmland throughout the state.

Leah Meisterlin, Urbanist and Assistant Professor at GSAPP

Last but certainly not least, Meisterlin has been a part of the Columbia community for years, having graduated from Columbia and having taught at Barnard. Now she is an assistant professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture.

Intrigued? You can book your tickets for this amazing event here. (Free pizza and/or Halal Guys included!)

Ishya Verma is a Barnard first-year and a trainee Spectrum staff writer. She hopes she can one day be as cool as anybody at this conference. Reach her at



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