Introducing Nancy Bellows Perez ’76
At the end of January, Jane Zachary resigned from her position as executive director of the Alumnae Association. Nancy Bellows Perez ’76 is now serving as interim executive director to ensure the smooth running of the organization while the board clarifies the role and undertakes a search.
Nancy graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke with a degree in French. She has served on the Alumnae Association Board of Directors as a Director at Large for the past year and was integrally involved with the Association’s recent strategic planning process.
Nancy is retired from the IBM Corporation, where she had a long career as an executive with a focus on driving global strategy and transformation. She has extensive experience in sales, sales leadership, management consulting, and organizational change management. Nancy is also passionate about mentoring, employee and team development, and implementing effective interpersonal communications to drive change.
We asked Nancy to share a little bit about herself and the work she will embark on during her time as executive director.
Q: Why were you motivated to take on the role of interim executive director?
A: After I retired from IBM, I was invited to help facilitate the strategic plan for the Alumnae Association, working closely with the board of directors. This led to my joining the board as a director at large, and, for the past year, I have enjoyed a wider view of the College and have been impressed by the changes and development that have transpired since I graduated. In particular, I have a better understanding of the role of the Alumnae Association and the impact that we all have as alumnae to the vibrancy of Mount Holyoke. This opportunity is yet another way to give back to the College. To this day, I count my years at Mount Holyoke as some of the most wonderful and impactful years of my life. So, I’m thrilled to be here!
Q: Why is the work that the Alumnae Association does important to both the alumnae population and to the College?
A: I see the Alumnae Association as the glue that connects the global community of Mount Holyoke women to each other and to the College. The alumnae of Mount Holyoke are collectively an amazing resource to the College, to the students, and to each other. The Alumnae Association—through diverse programs, expertise, and resources—provides the foundation for these connection points and enables alumnae to stay connected via events and programs, targeted and relevant communications, and alumnae services.
Q: What are your top priorities for advancing the work of the Alumnae Association?
A: My top priorities are to further the four goals of the Alumnae Association Strategic Plan:
- BUILD awareness of the Association and clarity about its work;
- GROW the base of connected alumnae through innovative approaches;
- FORGE a powerful partnership with the College;
- SERVE as a strong, independent voice in support of a Mount Holyoke education.
Q: How does being an alumna influence your work?
A: It is extra special to be working for my alma mater. I am inspired to make whatever contribution I can in order to “pay back” the valuable gift of my Mount Holyoke education. Also, it is an incredible work environment to have an office in Mary Woolley Hall and to look out on Abbey/Buckland, where I roomed for several years! I am able to see our work through the lens of the greater alumnae population, and it certainly influences the way I make decisions and approach decisions each day.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t working?
A: I am on several boards, including the Wilton Connecticut Historical Society and Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County. I am also on the board of Women’s Voices for Change, an organization and blog that celebrates women over the age forty—providing information on health, culture, fashion, and a myriad of other topics for women in the second half of life. It offers inspiration to women who may think that the best part of their lives is in the past. I have learned to play bridge in the past two years with a group of friends, I spend a lot of time with my family, friends and two pugs, and now I’m exploring Northampton, where I’ve rented a small apartment—that’s great fun!
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: A “fun fact” about me is that I have attended every one of our 1976 class reunions since our second. In fact, our fortieth, this May, will be the fourth reunion that I’ve cochaired/chaired a committee! For those that have never come back for Reunion, I urge you to do so. You will rekindle friendships and meet women from your class and others that you may not have been friends with as students here.
This is a picture of me and my dear friend and classmate Susan Sanders Fier ’76 at our second reunion, which we cochaired in 1978. We were the Bicentennial class, so our theme of red, white, and blue has always stayed with us. Here we are holding our class banner that my husband, Will actually made for us. (Though at the time we were just dating!) We still carry this banner in the parades. It’s this sense of tradition that makes Mount Holyoke so special.
February 11, 2016