connect | support | engage
connect | support | engage

The University of Rochester’s new volunteer-led Women’s Network has a mission to harness and celebrate the rich contributions of women around the globe who are part of the University of Rochester family. Through dynamic programming and engaging conversations, the Network will help members connect and support one another.

Guided by the spirit of Meliora and open to all, our values are strong, our community is vibrant, and our commitment to each other runs deep. We know we can achieve great things—together.

Membership Benefits

We consider everyone a member of the Women’s Network—all women are welcome.

• Connections: Take part in our networking, professional, and social activities

• Supportive educational programs: Learn and grow with us through in-person and virtual programs

• Exclusive opportunities: Join us at special virtual events and regional pre-receptions, including future Meliora Weekends and Volunteers in Partnership Leadership conferences, and get special access to virtual networking opportunities within The Meliora Collective Women’s Network group.

“I am inspired by how many alumnae around the world are doing amazing work personally and professionally. The Women’s Network provides a new way for us all to connect, celebrate our contributions, and learn from each other. I’m excited to help lead this effort for my alma mater.”

Tiffany Taylor Smith ’91
Women’s Network Co-Chair

Regional Groups

Metro New York City

Leadership: Barbara Grossman Berger ’77, P’10 and Sherli Looi ’04S (MBA)

Washington, DC

Leadership: Debbie Dorfman Drumheller ’74 and Tess Troha-Thompson ’06

San Francisco

Leadership: Ashley Nevins ’16S (MS)

Los Angeles

Leadership: Radhika Dewan Fliegel ’03, Wallis Nash ’15, Lingyu Liu ’10

New England

Leadership: Marcia Mantell ’83 and Sara Halton ’04

Get involved

Women who ROC

Nine Ways to Decrease Fear During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When Dr. Gina Cuyler was two years old, her father died—an acute illness overtook him in days. Soon after his death, her mother sold everything and moved from Panama to New York City in search of a better life for her and her young daughter. By the time Cuyler was four-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a doctor.

‘Everyone wins’

Nana Afoh-Manin ’08M (MD) is an emergency room physician at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles—a city hit hard by the pandemic. Every day, she draws on what she learned at medical school, to treat the whole person. This means addressing acute health issues while considering a patient’s surrounding circumstances and socioeconomic conditions—all of which contribute to illness and healing.

Catering to the community

Kristin Klock ’00 is a small business owner who runs Root Catering and Kin Event Space. Her thriving, eight-year-old business came to a sudden halt a few weeks ago. “It all stopped, literally overnight,” she says. “Every time I checked my phone, there was a cancelation. Within what seemed like hours, we went from being a busy catering and event business to only being able to offer a take-out option.”

“What I learned about the importance of connections with women, I learned from my fellow alumnae. They are simply the best and have inspired me to share the rich contributions of women around the globe who are part of the University of Rochester family.”

Gail Lione ’71
University Trustee
Women’s Network Co-Chair

What we can do, together.

We invite you to take an even more active role in our community. Together, we can do more, change more, and inspire more. With your support, we can:

• Harness ideas and actions that will foster the personal and professional growth of our members

• Develop programs, events, and activities that will inspire and enrich us all

• Create distinct opportunities to hear more women’s voices, to engage the leadership of women, and to foster equitable and inclusive communities

• Channel our collective philanthropic resources to advocate for the causes that matter to us the most, from student support to career and leadership development to innovation across academic disciplines and beyond

Upcoming Women’s Network Events

September 1 – 30

Global Day of Service

See event details

September 3

September New England Women’s Virtual Breakfast

See event details

September 9

September Nosh and Network with the NY Metro Women

See event details

Contact Us

For more information about joining the Women’s Network, please contact Caroline Tolbert, associate director, women’s initiatives: or (585) 276-5580. If you want to participate and you’re not sure if this applies to you, contact us.

Caroline Tolbert leads efforts to design programs and events that celebrate women. Caroline joined the University of Rochester in 2015, and through roles in Alumni Relations and Special Events, has showcased her passion for women’s initiatives. Caroline has served for the last six years on the board of trustees at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, a private school based in Rochester, New York, most recently as Chair of the Board. She is also a member of the Junior League of Rochester, and sits on the nominations committee for the ATHENA Awards, sponsored by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.