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Brenda Cole '86
International Business Leader for Hoffmann-La Roche Pharmaceuticals

Major: English

Leadership roles: WS Congress Treasurer, Student Trustee, Hai Timiai (president, Fall 1985), Class Commencement Speaker, Glamour Magazine Rising Star (1984) on behalf of WS

Extracurricular activities: I played for the first William Smith Rugby Team.

Favorite professors: Eric Patterson for challenging me to think critically (boy, did we fight) and Jim Crenner, my advisor, who showed me I had a talent I didn't know about and challenged me to work on it.

First job after college: I sold scrub brushes and scrub solutions to every hospital in New York State! I never made it to Buffalo.

Life reflection
My best accomplishment so far is being a mother. So far, I've successfully raised a wonderful 13 year old daughter who is the joy of my life. I have had a very successful career in pharmaceutical business, starting as a sales representative and working up to my current position at Hoffman-La Roche as an International Business Leader for a drug to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. I've been here for over 10 years. I have additionally developed wonderful women friends who I treasure and spend a lot of time with. Of course, I have an ex-husband, who is a great father, and a boyfriend of over four years who is an important part of my family.

On leadership
Everything about what we do at William Smith is about learning how to think critically and articulate a point of view. Nothing is sacred at WS...everything is open to healthy debate. I think this has allowed me to have a certain approach to issues that is very effective. Ask lots of questions and be fair. It's OK if I don't know something. No one is above scrutiny. I'm lucky to work for a large corporation that values this kind of behavior.

On the coordinate system
I think for WS students, we are allowed to essentially go to a co-ed school where there is strong sense of pride in being part of a women's college. We get the best of both worlds. I'm not sure I can say the same for Hobart. I have learned to value other women and treasure our unique qualities in life.

Further education
MBA at Fordham University School of Business in Manhattan.

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