Leaving an impression on Wheaton

Heather Corbett '86 and Sharon Howard '87, P'09

Sharon Howard ’87, P’09, executive director of alumnae/i relations and annual giving, retired from Wheaton this summer after 38 years. And Heather Corbett ’86, director of alumnae/i relations, accepted a position at Tulane University after 24 years at Wheaton. Here, former trustee Lou Ann Daly ’76 celebrates the Dynamic Duo’s contributions.

Where to begin?

It is so easy to relax into the rhythms of complacency and confidence when the leaders are so competent, so thoughtful, so seamlessly effective as to guarantee the success of whatever they touch. One reserved, shying away from the limelight and anything loud, Sharon; the other right there waving the flag in the front row, or scheming and dreaming up fun with cohorts, Heather.

Together, these two women showed a community why relationships and alumnae/i engagement are critical to sustaining a college.

They led and represented us for decades—cajoling, prodding, supporting the alumnae and alumni who are such an essential part of the fabric of Wheaton. On Reunion weekends, one could be found sitting in a golf cart, waving her arms, ready to play with returning alumnae/i; the other slipping in and out of Mary Lyon to personally greet and welcome us with a warm hug; both making sure that the grand gesture and individual details were being addressed.

These two women were a team of the highest order, who taught as much by being themselves as through their considerable contributions to Wheaton. Both led from the heart with passion, genuine warmth, integrity and respect for relationships. Both laughed often and played well with others. Both inspired and led hugely successful transformations in their respective areas of contribution.

For these two, how the work got done mattered as much as getting the work done.

Sharon set a tone with staff and volunteers that demanded inclusion and respect. The smallest gestures mattered (personal thank-yous, intent listening), and diverse perspectives were sought and valued. She stood for the richness of diversity in all aspects of the campus community, and celebrated the successes of individuals and teams alike. Under her leadership, the Alumnae/i Board transformed the way it operates to better engage and serve its thousands of alumnae/i around the world and the advancement of the college.

Heather was deeply connected to young alumnae/i and ways of engaging them. She advanced social networking and other technological innovations for us to stay in touch with each other and the college. She listened and advocated. Her laughter and smile were ever present, her energy contagious. It is not surprising that under her leadership, Wheaton recognized its highest level of participation in annual giving. Tulane University has gained a talented and passionate leader.

Sharon and Heather, Wheaton will miss your vision and your leadership. We thank you for your vibrancy, laughter, creativity and boundless loyalty to the college and its alumnae/i. We are proud to have you as lifelong alumnae and members of the community. We whom you have touched indelibly and served so well celebrate your continued success in all you choose. May you have life and have it abundantly.

Heather Corbett '86 and Sharon Howard '87, P'09 shoes

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Career highlights

Sharon Howard ’87, P’09

Cultivated lifelong relationships with thousands of alumnae/i.

Led the efforts to connect engagement and fundraising, which contributed to the doubling of annual giving from $2 million to nearly $4 million, and the growth of the volunteer force from 700 to nearly 1,200.

Brought an appreciation for diversity and inclusive excellence into the vision, leadership and activities.

Heather Corbett ’86

For 16 years, served as co-chair or chair of the Commencement Reunion master committee, charged with developing a comprehensive weekend program, coordinating all facilities operations, managing a 60-plus student volunteer force, and supporting Reunion class volunteers to encourage participation and philanthropy among their classmates.

Built relationships with hundreds of students that resulted in their continued engagement with the association as leaders.

Guided social media strategy, which has been critical in engaging young alums.