Retrospective Panel: GlobalWE After 10 Years
On November 12, please join us on Zoom for a conversation with our Presidents Emeritae Julie Palmer (2013-2018) and Sajida Shroff (2018-2022), early board members and current Advisory Council members Paul Schied and Rebecca Ribaudo, and current president Leah Abaya Keane. This dialogue about GlobalWE’s history and growth, as well as its future trajectory, will be moderated by Chuck Bergen, another Advisory Council member. Learn about our journey and share your own memories of engaging with us!
Panelists and Moderator
Chuck Bergen ('77, JD ‘81) joined the Harvard Global WE Advisory Board in 2018. He has also served as President of the Harvard Club of Chicago and now serves as a Director of the Harvard Alumni Association with responsibilities for Harvard Clubs in the Western Great Lakes region. As an undergraduate, Chuck lived in Eliot House, played Men’s Basketball and Men’s Rugby and wrote for The Harvard Crimson. During law school, he served as a freshman proctor living in Straus Hall in Harvard Yard. He has been an active member of the Harvard Alumni community since his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1981.
Professionally, Chuck has practiced as a trial lawyer in Chicago, Illinois for several decades. During his career, Chuck has focused on financial and commercial litigation, in areas such as corporate governance, securities, intellectual property, defamation and class action defense. As member of the Trial Bar of the Northern District of Illinois for over 35 years, he has tried complex cases lasting over three months and others completed in a day. He has briefed and argued appeals in a number of federal and state appellate courts and is a member the bar of the United States Supreme Court.
A long-time resident of the North Shore suburbs of Chicago, Chuck and his wife Sue are proud parents of three adult daughters, the eldest a digital journalist, the middle a cheesemonger of artisanal cheeses and the youngest a digital marketing director for two museums in Great Britain. They also have a granddaughter, age 4.
Leah Abaya Keane (AB ’84) just finished the first year of her term as current President of Harvard GlobalWE. Prior to this past year, she had served as Treasurer since 2016. She was also part of the Essay Contest team and continues to manage over ten contests in the Philippines, including at her former high school.
Leah interviewed applicants to Harvard for many years and is a liaison for her local high school. She also volunteers with Crimson Goes Blue with fellow Harvard alumni, and with the League of Women Voters Naperville, with Voter Services to register voters, especially high school students. After many years as Secretary and Simbang Gabi coordinator, she currently serves on the board of the Pamanang Lahi Foundation of Illinois, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the culture of the Philippines, primarily the Advent novena known as Simbang Gabi.
She earned a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from Fordham University, and volunteered extensively with the PTA and the religious education program at her parish while raising her two children. She lives in Naperville, IL, with her husband, Denis T. Keane (AB ’84). She credits Denis and her college roommate Janet Singer (AB’84) for starting her on her journey to feminism, and her children for inspiring her to work on equity and empowerment for women.
Sajida H. Shroff (EdM '95), CEO of Altamont Group (Boutique Investment & Advisory), is an international strategist. She has over 20 years of cross-sectoral & impact investment expertise, bridging Strategy, Policy, Education, & Business spheres. She is passionate about integrating strategic business practices in knowledge organizations; & committed to contextualizing education for positive impact. Sajida is an entrepreneurial visionary, who has built businesses in the Middle East & North America.
Sajida’s passion for advancing education & access globally is evident in her multi-faceted work. Geographically, this work has contributed to better outcomes in the United States, Canada, Australia, India, Pakistan, Western Europe, East & West Africa, Central Asia, & MENA. Her understanding of development extends well beyond education to free zone/business park development, government services/policy, retail, real estate, service, & financial sectors.
As Chief Execution Officer of Altamont Group (dedicated to innovation in emerging markets), Sajida leads a team focused on strategy/policy, monitoring/evaluation/research/learning, capacity development /eLearning/upskilling, & quality assurance/accreditation. AG, under Sajida’s leadership, advises governments, NGO, & corporates across five continents regarding optimization, investment, smart cities; & innovation that enable access & sustainability. In addition, Altamont Group invests in diverse brick/mortar & technology assets.
Sajida’s experiences with global entities include the World Bank, IFAD, G20, EiE, Plan International, CAMFED, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNESCO, OECD, NATO, Dubai Holding, UAE PMO, Smart Dubai, Qatar Foundation, KSA MoL, MoE, MoT, & AKDN; along with institutions such as Cambridge, McGill, Harvard, & Columbia. She is also engaged in ventures to develop smart education ecosystems & special economic zones.
Sajida is actively involved in CSR including Director with Harvard Alumni Association; Board Member with IDEAs; Board Member & President Emerita of Harvard Global Women’s Empowerment; Advisor for Integreat Special Needs Centre; Founding Chair of MENA/GCC Chapter of Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs; President Emerita of Harvard Club of the UAE; & Advisory Board Member for e7 Daughters of the Emirates بنات الإمارات (Banat al Emarat).
Sajida has an EdM in Strategy & Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education; a MBA in Marketing & Management from Emory University; a BEd & a BA from the University of British Columbia. Sajida is from Kenya & grew up in the UK & Canada.
Paul Schied (AB' 13) served GlobalWE in various capacities including Treasurer, Board Member, and Advisory Vice President from 2013 to 2021. Paul is originally from the Chicagoland area, and has lived and worked in D.C., New York, Albuquerque, and Chicago after graduating from the College in 2013 and Columbia Law School in 2016. He has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the past five years, most recently in the Violent Crimes section of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago.
Rebecca Chamian Ribaudo (AB ’93) is a former executive team member of Harvard GlobalWE and now serves on its advisory board. She is also an Elected Director of the Harvard Alumni Association, a VP/Director of the Harvard Club of Chicago, an executive team member of FAIR Harvard Alumni+, and an advisory board member of Harvard Alumni for Free Speech.
Throughout her career, Rebecca spent more than twenty years as a marketing strategist and writer for consumer, health care and private equity organizations. She has also led numerous independent projects for corporate and non-profit organizations, including as a director in the early-stage development of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation, a center for underserved youth located on the former site of the Robert Taylor Homes on Chicago’s South Side.
Rebecca graduated magna cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard College. During her studies, she received a Carol K. Pforzheimer Student Fellowship and was nominated for the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for her thesis on gender representation in advertising.
In recent years, Rebecca completed a historical novel exploring the conflict between group identity and individualism in America, a work she is now seeking to publish.
Rebecca lives in Chicago with her husband, Anthony J. Ribaudo (AB ’93), and their dog Argos. Rebecca and Anthony’s elder daughter is a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy and their younger daughter is a first year at Harvard.
Julie Gage Palmer AB ’84, a founder of Harvard GlobalWE, served as its first president, from 2013 to 2018. In her current GlobalWE role, Julie co-chairs a global essay contest giving voice to students concerned about the challenges facing women and girls worldwide. She is also Vice President and Director of the Harvard Club of Chicago, and one of its Schools Committee co-chairs and also serves on the Harvard Alumni Association’s Schools and Scholarships Committee. Julie is the Board Secretary of the Mickey Hammerman Legacy Fund, which supports local Chicago region Harvard College applicants, and early childhood education.
Julie is a former Harvard Alumni Association Elected Director (2013 to 2016). She served on the Harvard Alumni Association Nominating Committee from 2019 to 2022. She served as the Harvard Alumni Association Public and Community Service Initiative Co-Leader from 2015 to 2016.
Julie won the 2020 Harvard Alumni Association Award for outstanding service to Harvard University for leadership and engagement activities. She won the Hiram Hunn award for her Schools and Scholarships work in 2014.
Julie is a lawyer and former lecturer in law at the University of Chicago and at Lake Forest College. She is co-authored The Ethics of Human Gene Therapy and has written and spoken extensively on law and medical ethics.
Register Here: Please register on Zoom to receive a virtual link.
Date: Sunday, November 12th
Time: 12 p.m. EST
Location: Virtual (online) event. Login details will be sent to registrants upon completion of the registration process.
Cost: While this event is FREE for Harvard College students, Harvard University graduate students, and Harvard University alumni, affiliates, and staff, we would appreciate any accompanying donation to help support us as we put on these and other events throughout the year!