Babson Center Welcomes New Board Members

The Babson Center for Global Commerce will welcome four new members to its advisory board when the board holds its Easter semester meeting in Sewanee on April 29. The advisory board, drawn from alumni, parents, and friends of the University with successful careers in business, supports activities of the Babson Center and the full program of business education at Sewanee.

"Our new board members bring a diversity of talents, industry experience, as well as geographic exposure," said Chip Manning, C'82, director of the Babson Center. "Their service, business acumen, mentoring skills, and guidance will help ensure the future well-being of Sewanee's premier liberal arts model for business education."

The new board members are:

Mercedes Abramo HeadshotMercedes Abramo, C’92,  is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Cartier North America in New York. She oversees the strategy and operations for Cartier in North America including 35 boutiques, an e-commerce boutique and over 150 specialty retailers. Prior to joining Cartier, she held management positions with Tiffany & Co., Ritz Carlton Hotels and Loews Miami Beach. She is a Director of Jewelers of America and serves on the advisory board of the Luxury Education Foundation. Mercedes has an MBA in Luxury Brand Management from ESSEC Business School, and was a political science major at Sewanee.



Gari Cowan HeadshotGari Cowan, C’81, is the Manager of Global Staffing and Succession Planning at Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation in Nashville. She manages all levels of recruiting, including college recruiting, and plans for global succession, corporate relocation, and the corporate contributions process. Prior to joining Caterpillar, Gari was Human Resources Manager at First Union National Bank in Charlotte North Carolina and then in Nashville. Gari is also a member of the Executive Board for Safe Haven Family Shelter and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Employer’s Council. She was a political science major at Sewanee.



Alex Harris HeadshotAlex Harris, C’11,  is an Associate in the specialty finance team for Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group (GSSLG) and is responsible for underwriting and structuring middle market principal investments in various industries throughout North and South America. GSSLG is the Goldman Sachs platform dedicated to providing financing solutions to middle market companies (investment size $15-$200 million). Prior to GSSLG, Alex worked for the asset securitization group within SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Alex was a double major Economics and Spanish at Sewanee and was in the inaugural class of Carey Fellows.



Frances Webster Headshot‌Frances Webster, C’95,  is Chief Operating Officer of Walrus, an advertising agency she co-founded with her husband, Deacon Webster, in 2005. She handles strategy, operations, and growth for the agency. Prior to founding Walrus, Frances held business development and management roles with Butler, Shine & Stern, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and Saatchi & Saatchi. Frances was a history major at Sewanee.



Jerry Adams, C’65, CEO of Arkansas Research Alliance recently completed an abbreviated two-year term for a board member who had to leave early, and has agreed to stay for an additional three-year term. Geoff Euston, C’94, Senior Vice President of CBRE has also volunteered to serve on the board for another three-year term.

The April 29 meeting will be the final one for three members of the board, who are stepping down as their terms expire. The departing members are Gig Palmer, C’93, Managing Director of Raymond James Associates in Chicago; Sandy Wallis C’90, Managing Director of Weathergage Capital in Houston, TX; and Katharine Wilkinson, C’05, Director of Strategy and Activation for Brighthouse LLC in Atlanta.

"These key individuals have served with distinction and made important impacts in the continued development of the Wm. Polk Carey Pre-Business program at Sewanee," said Manning. "They leave the board with our sincere gratitude for their dedicated support and wise counsel, and we hope they take pride in their contribution to the Babson Center's impressive growth over the past three years. Though they are stepping down from formal leadership as board members, I know they will continue to mentor our students and support and advise our programs."