5 Powerful Binghamton University Women That Will Inspire You

Posted by Carolyn Bernardo on October 18, 2017

With a whole list of amazing speakers and attendees joining us in New York City for Binghamton Women's Weekend, we had to feature a few of the women who made this weekend possible. These powerful women continue to impart their knowledge and generosity on our students' lives and the lives of countless others.

Tracy Caliendo ’97

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Tracy, a Harpur College graduate, is the Americas Head of Electronic Trading and Hedge Fund Services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She frequently gives her time to the University by sitting on the School of Management NYC Advisory Board, and speaking at events like Commencement. In 2009, during her Binghamton University Commencement speech, Tracy imparted words of wisdom to graduates regarding the importance of hard work. “While a strong resume helped get me in the door, hard work kept me there," said Tracy. "I’ve learned that when you want something, you have to work hard for it. There are no substitutes and no short-cuts… Your success will largely be determined by your personal commitment."

Elizabeth Nesvold ’90

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Elizabeth is the founder and managing partner of Silver Lane Advisors, a Wall Street investment bank focused exclusively on the financial services industry. In February 2017, she spoke to Binghamton students at the annual Briloff Lecture. During this discussion, Elizabeth imparted critical words of encouragement to students. “Sometimes good comes out of failure. Failure is not terminal — it’s an opportunity to pivot, take ownership and create better processes,” she said. Elizbeth regularly gives her time to the University and to the School of Management by speaking and sitting on discussion panels.

Lisa Abbott, MBA ’93

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A School of Management graduate, Lisa is now the senior vice president for Human Resources and Community Affairs at Lifespan, Rhode Island’s first and largest health system. She spoke at Binghamton's 2015 Women's Leadership Conference, during which she addressed self-defeating behaviors that people engage in at work, and how to avoid them. When faced with the temptation of waiting to be picked or raising hands ‘half-way,’ Lisa offered solutions to be more aggressive in one's career. “We wait for assignments, projects and promotions, and think to ourselves, ‘Somebody should be noticing how good I am’… Where we should be self-nominating, making our ambitions known, and having that confidence in ourselves and what we know,” Lisa said. In addition to volunteering at many alumni events, she gives her time generously to the University, serving on the Alumni Association Board.

Patricia Saunders ’65

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A Harpur College graduate, Patricia has dedicated her life to helping her community, children, young athletes and the elderly. “Philanthropy is important to me because my mother was active in giving and she was a great role model,” said Patricia. Whether it’s volunteering during a weekly lunch for senior citizens or traveling internationally with the golfers of the American Junior Golf Association, Patricia has spent the majority of her life helping others improve theirs. In 2005, her husband, Paul, and her two sons made a gift to name the West Gym pool the Patricia A. Saunders ’65 Aquatics Center.

Tonya Parris ’92

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A graduate from the Watson School, Tonya is the chief executive officer at The Parris Group, INC., a technology, financial and personal development consulting firm. She has always been dedicated to paying it forward. In 2009, Tonya founded The Parris Foundation, a non-profit organization in New York City, dedicated to promoting educational opportunities and awareness in science, technology, engineering, and math, through scholarships and outreach programs targeting disadvantaged communities. In addition, she founded a scholarship program for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines at Binghamton. Tonya’s vision was shaped by her stark reality; she grew up in a disadvantaged community herself, but persisted because of her understanding that an education is the one thing that no one could take from her. “At Binghamton, I had to make choices on whether to work or be involved. My goal is to give back so that students can have the full college experience without having to make those choices,” said Tonya. 

Learn more about Binghamton Women's Weekend

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.