Women in LEADership

Women in LEADership is a yearly gathering of current and future professional alumnae to network and share personal insight and inspiration regarding culture and industry. Started in 2015, the goal is to highlight the successes of Michigan alumnae in the world, and to inspire future leaders to bring a more just, equitable, and diverse experience to society.

2022 Women in LEADership Event

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We would be honored by your presence at this year’s event that brings together LEAD Scholars, prominent professional alumnae, and LEAD supporters for networking, inspiration, and lifelong connections. And we would like to specially invite you to join other LEAD Scholars in person at our recently renovated Alumni Center.

Women in LEADership
Alumni Center, Founders Room
Sunday, November 6, 2022
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET

Featured Panelists

LEAD FY23 Women In Leadership Panelist Wayee Chu 360x260

Wayee Chu, '97

Wayee is a general partner at Reach Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund supporting entrepreneurs in the areas of education and future of work. Prior to joining Reach, she was the co-founder of the NewSchools Seed Fund, and an equity research analyst at Merrill Lynch. She began her career as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley. Wayee also serves on the Board of Trustees of the SFMOMA and is actively involved with several education nonprofits, including the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan Board of Directors.

LEAD FY23 Women In Leadership Panelist Haben Debessai 360x260

Haben Debessai, MD, '14

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Haben was born and raised in Michigan (her ethnicity and motherland is Eritrea). She studied Biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience and Gender & Health at University of Michigan. She spent a gap year (before medical school) in the city of Chicago volunteering with AmeriCorp and then went back for medical school at Michigan State University before moving to Atlanta in 2019 for Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology! She enjoys spending time with family in the city, and exploring the lush green outdoors of the surrounding Georgian area on her days off.

LEAD FY23 Women In Leadership Panelist Brandi Hudson 360x260

Brandi Hudson, '01

Brandi Hudson is a Leadership and Strategy expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. She has worked with multiple fortune 500 companies, including Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Pfizer. Brandi has extensive experience building and leading high-performing teams. She has a long history of repeated sales success, which is one of the many reasons she came to be passionate about maximizing human potential. After extensive research and training, Brandi launched an Empowerment Coaching business, Brandi Mechele. She partners with individuals on their journey of self-discovery, healing, and ultimately unlocking one’s highest potential while being their most authentic selves.

Brandi currently serves on the Leadership Council for the Tipping Point Community, National Board Member of Summer Search, and is the Chair of the Board at her son’s preschool. Brandi’s greatest joy is her family; she is mother to Charles Hudson III and wife to Charles Hudson IV. They reside in San Francisco, CA.

LEAD FY23 Women In Leadership Panelist Emilie Rubinfeld 360x260

Emilie Rubinfeld, '96

Emilie Rubinfeld is the Global President of Carolina Herrera – the New York-based fashion brand internationally recognized for women’s luxury fashion, accessories & beauty. Prior to her current role, Emilie held the position of Chief Marketing Officer at the company. Previously, Emilie had senior marketing & communications roles at luxury fashion brands including, Giorgio Armani and Swiss-based, Akris. Emilie is a mentor to independent American designers, as well as a member of FIT’s (Fashion Institute of Technology) Social Justice Advisory Committee, and the Fashion and Luxury Council of NYU/Stern School of Business. Emilie supports Dress for Success, and led the Dress for Success 2021 NYC Marathon team with her Carolina Herrera colleagues, raising funds for women impacted by the Covid pandemic.  Emilie is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Liberal Arts degree, majoring in Art History and Political Science.  She has two middle-school aged children and resides with her family in Connecticut.


Connect with LEAD

The Alumni Association established the LEAD Scholars program for those who embody leadership, excellence, achievement, and diversity. The scholarship is available to accepted students to help the best and brightest make their way to Michigan. The Alumni Association — independent from the University — takes full financial and administrative responsibility for this program.

We welcome 68 new scholars for our 2022 cohort as well as over 350 students who have graduated from the program.

Contact Us

For questions about the LEAD Scholarship and/or Women in LEADership, please email [email protected].

A Look Back at Women in LEADership Luncheons