New Endowment Promotes Women In Business Courses, Programs

To prepare more young women to be leaders in business, Bornstein, a Hampshire alum 82F, trustee, and corporate chief financial officer, has partnered with the College and endowed a Women In Business program. Her support will fund, in perpetuity, courses, programs, and research that promote women's participation and leadership in business, at a time when Hampshire's business-related programs are attracting record numbers of students – particularly women, first-generation students, and students of color.

The endowment, which other donors can contribute to, continues an effort she and the College first launched in 2012 with a pilot gift from Bornstein. The pilot funded a course on women’s experiences in business that continues to be offered this year.  In the fall, students in the course were exploring the dynamics of power, leadership and access, while analyzing strategies to change the landscape for women in business. A number of female professionals advised the students as guest speakers in the course, titled, “Using Stories of Women in Business to Explore and Challenge Wage, Confidence, and Funding Gaps.”

Women are historically and currently severely underrepresented in business.  Students in the course learned that while women have earned college degrees at a higher rate than men since 1982, only 4.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs were women in 2016. In 2015, female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by males.

Bornstein is Chief Financial Officer of Generate Capital, a specialty finance company based in San Francisco, and previously served as Managing Director and CFO of private equity firm American Infrastructure MLP Funds from 2006-2017. Earlier she was CFO at McCown DeLeeuw and Co., a middle market private equity fund, and at InterDimensions Corporation, an internet consulting and technology company.

She received her BA from Hampshire College in 1986, and an MBA from Simmons College in 1996. Prior to pursuing her master's, she worked as an elementary school teacher and math specialist. She began her business career as a secretary, went back to school for her business degree, and advanced her way through management.

One of Bornstein’s major projects for her MBA was conducting a market research project for a big bank where she says she was expected to wear pantyhose. After that experience she says she knew she wanted to pursue a management path, and “to not have to wear pantyhose.” 

Bornstein decided to support Hampshire and its students because she believes her education at the College prepared her for success in business.  Hampshire teaches students how to be proactive in asking questions and acquiring knowledge and skills, she explains, adding she was educated in a way that transformed how she learns. “My classmates in my MBA program did not have such a transformative experience in their undergraduate program,” she says.

She is confident Hampshire can leverage her gift better than any institution she can think of, to inspire more women to consider careers in business, and to improve businesses by staffing more women as leaders.

She adds, “Businesses would do better with more women as leaders.”

Header photo credit: Hampshire Entrepreneurship Program