Alumni board candidates

Meet the candidates for the Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors (ABD)—highly engaged graduates who have been involved with the college in many ways, from serving as class officers and on committees to attending Reunions and other events:

Pamela Reid Graham ’85

Pamela Reid Graham 2Head of reference and instruction at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy library, New London, Conn.

Board position: National regional chair

Why I reconnected: “I reconnected with Wheaton a number of years ago when a friend from Wheaton was her class representative and was visiting Wheaton for Homecoming Weekend. I lived about an hour away and drove to Norton to see her and spend the weekend with her. Not only did we have a wonderful time reconnecting with each other, I also reconnected with Wheaton. It is a very special place. My experiences at Wheaton, both in and out of the classroom, really prepared me for life after college.”

Why I want to be on the board: “A few of us from the classes of the ’80s were chatting on Facebook, and we talked about how our class years are underrepresented on the ABD. Serving on the ABD would be a way to give back to Wheaton and connect with alumnae/i. I want to get more alumnae/i involved in regional events and with the college. I look forward to getting to know more alumnae/i from other class years.”

Interesting fact: “I am passionate about my work as a librarian, but it is my second career. Many people don’t know that before I became a librarian, I was a buyer for TJX Corp. I bought shoes for the TJ Maxx chain of stores.”

Erica McLean Helm ’91

Erica McLean Helm 2Family services facilitator, Dover, N.H., school district

Board position: National class officer chair

Why I stay connected: “Wheaton was home and family for four years and continues to be a major part of my identity. I want to give back. I want to share my unapologetic love for Wheaton with others. I want my sons to see that your college experience doesn’t end at graduation. I stayed connected because it’s what you do for your home and family.”

Why I want to be on the board: “Being on the ABD has been a longtime dream of mine. I have thoroughly enjoyed the leadership role I’ve had within my class since graduation, and I love the thought of being able to share with fellow alums some of what I have learned over the past 25 years. My goal is to focus on communication. There’s a lot of public call for ‘transparency’ in many areas, but I think what people are really looking for is strong communication. I’m hoping we can expand our pool of dedicated volunteers by clarifying roles and simplifying communication. I’m hoping to make it easy to say yes when the call comes asking you to be part of the leadership fun.”

Interesting facts: “I’ve kept four boys alive, and I still have a semblance of sanity. I was an EMT for eight years. I haven’t given up hope that Shaun Cassidy is going to respond to the fan mail I wrote him when I was 10. I climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa barefoot on my 16th birthday. And if I hadn’t gone to Wheaton, Hogwarts was my backup school.”

Eileen McDonough Kiley ’81

Eileen McDonough KileyVice president of human resources and chief human resources officer, Reit Management & Research, LLC

Board position: National Career Services chair

Why I stay connected: “The Wheaton experience and connection is both compelling and exhilarating. Wheaton is an agent of change for students, alumnae/i and faculty in the best possible ways. My relationship with Wheaton has always been positive and uplifting.”

Why I want to be on the board: “I am so pleased to give back to a community that gives so much. My hope is to fully support the efforts of Career Services so it continues to enable all Wheaton stakeholders to thrive. I believe that collectively we can open more avenues and opportunities for all through a focused alumnae/i strategy and with the talented Career Services staff.”

Interesting fact: “Two Wheaton alums helped me find my first career opportunity after I graduated. The economy was difficult at the time, and it was a wonderful opportunity, and I ended up being a partner at the company. They were amazingly supportive and it truly changed my life. I am forever grateful.”

Tony Laing ’96

Tony-Laing-TANISHA-PYRONPostdoctoral associate, Research Alliance for New York City Schools at Steinhardt School of Education, New York University

Board position: Alumnae/i Trustee

Why I stay connected: “At Wheaton, I was able to take advantage of many opportunities, like study abroad and internships, and most important, I made many great friends. I also loved being at a small college and had a great working relationship with my academic advisor, Professor Emerita Darlene Boroviak. She continues to be a great role model. However, attending Wheaton during the early coeducational period was a challenge for me socially as a young black male from the inner city. I was often stereotyped as just an athlete and not considered by some as a scholar-athlete, and sometimes mistaken for another older black male student on campus. Because of my experiences as a male student, I have made it my personal charge to mentor students, especially black males.”

Why I want to be on the board: “The Alumnae/i Trustee position serves as a critical link between the ABD and the Wheaton Board of Trustees. Service on both boards provides opportunities to work on very targeted projects, like re-engaging disconnected alumnae/i. One of my goals is to regularly advocate on behalf of the needs of the alumnae/i community and reconnect with students at the college.”

Interesting fact: “I am a big fan of the television show ‘The Golden Girls.’ I love that show and have watched hundreds of reruns over the past 20-plus years.”

Jane Martin ’74, P’11

Jane Martin 74The Photo Editor, owner

Board position:President of the Alumnae/i Association/chair of the Alumnae/i Board of Directors, member Wheaton Board of Trustees

Why I stay connected: “I believe in the college, the quality of its education and its role in the global community. A liberal arts education is transformative, and not just during the four years you are immersed in it. Wheaton offers a lifetime of learning, through friendships with professors and staff, regional networking and campus events.”

Why I want to continue serving as board president: “I have more work to do. The Alumnae/i Association represents the single largest constituency at Wheaton, with more than 17,000 women and men in our ranks. Alums have a lot to say, and much to contribute, and my job is to harness that power and those numbers. We are in the middle of an important strategic engagement plan, with a focus on engaging women of the ’80s, men of the ’90s, and people of color. We are also focused on college-wide data collection and sharing. These are critical efforts that I want to shepherd to completion. The ABD and the Board of Trustees have developed an excellent working relationship over the past few years. I would like to continue to improve that dynamic. Working together, we can help to increase enrollment, engagement and philanthropy. Engagement will be a big focus. Young alums now make up half of the association. We must find ways to bring them back to campus, and make them critical components of alumnae/i efforts in Career Services, APAC, regional clubs, the Wheaton Fund, and of course, in our yearly Reunions.”

Interesting fact: “I married my best friend and partner of many years, Helen Malone P’11, in 2009, surrounded by many Wheaton friends. Being part of the Wheaton family extends my own family.”