Francine Zorn Trachtenberg, University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s wife, addressed the demands of being a successful woman at work and at home last week.
She spoke at the fifth annual Women’s Leadership Conference Friday at the Mount Vernon Campus.
Shelly Heller, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the Elizabeth Somers Center, GW’s women’s leadership program, stressed the importance of education for women and said the conference was dealing with “familiar problems” women face in modern culture.
“Change just doesn’t happen by itself,” Heller said. “It takes everybody . women are agents of change.”
Trachtenberg’s keynote address, titled “What I did with my Liberal Arts Education,” was in the form of a mini-autobiography. She discussed her education at Brooklyn College in New York, and Boston and Harvard universities. While growing up, Trachtenberg said she wanted to be an astronaut or architect, but realized art history was her passion while in college.
When Trachtenberg moved to D.C., she said she wanted to be treated as an individual with separate commitments from her husband, who had recently been appointed president of GW. Since then, Trachtenberg has held various positions including adjunct professor, director of several boards and a member of various projects and groups. She taught photography and led District-based public radio station WETA.
“I was able to come up with a system that worked for me and my family,” Trachtenberg said.