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From Tribe Athletes to Leadership Roles

William & Mary alumnae are making power moves in business and nonprofit sectors

February 13, 2024
By Staff

The winter 2024 issue of the W&M Alumni Magazine includes a feature story, "Power Plays," about four alumnae athletes turned business and nonprofit executives. Here are a few others we have highlighted in print: 

Elizabeth Schuette ’80, P ’98

Elizabeth Schuette ’80, P ’98As president and CEO of The ARK Import Export Center, Elizabeth Schuette oversees operations of John F. Kennedy International Airport’s animal health, reception and quarantine center. She and her husband, John J. Cuticelli Jr. P ’98, opened The ARK in 2017 with the goal of creating a safer travel experience for horses, birds, livestock, dogs, cats and exotic animals.

“Transporting live cargo by plane can be a complex and stressful process for owners and animals alike,” says the former William & Mary track & field and cross country athlete. “Our goal is to create a more efficient and safe process by reducing the need for additional travel and offering trained animal care staff immediately pre- and post-flight.”

In starting up The ARK, Schuette brought experience as a real estate broker and president of George Washington Mortgage & Investment Corp. — a closely held boutique firm that manages real estate assets. She studied economics at William & Mary, then earned an M.A. from The George Washington University. Read more in our winter 2018 feature “Animals & Airplanes.”

 

Debi Brooks ’81

Debi Brooks

When Debi Brooks met Michael J. Fox in 2000, she had spent nine years on the fixed-income trading floor at Goldman Sachs and she wanted to work somewhere that would help the world.

Fox, an actor known for his roles in the “Back to the Future” film trilogy and TV shows such as “Family Ties” and “Spin City,” was starting a foundation dedicated to Parkinson’s research and wanted someone with a business background to run it.

Since then, Brooks — an economics major and former lacrosse player at William & Mary — has helped build The Michael J. Fox Foundation into the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research in the world and one of Forbes Magazine’s top 100 U.S. charities. The foundation has funded over $1.5 billion in Parkinson’s research programs, dedicating 88 cents of every dollar spent to research. Read more in our fall 2022 story “Foundation Ties.”

 


Kathy Carter ’91

Kathy Carter ’91From her days as vice president of Major League Soccer to CEO and then senior advisor for LA28 — the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles — Kathy Carter has been all about leadership.

Looking back, she got a crash course on that subject in her first year on the women’s soccer team at William & Mary. Her coach was John Daly, who would win 413 games in 31 seasons. Two of her teammates were seniors Jill Ellis ’88, L.H.D. ’16, P ’27, who coached the United States to two World Cup championships, and Julie Shackford ’88, P ’23, now the Tribe’s head women’s soccer coach. Carter saw little playing time that season. But she paid attention to the way the seniors encouraged younger players to keep up with their schoolwork.

“How do you help somebody who was coming in behind you? That is an invaluable lesson of leadership,” says Carter, who earned her B.A. in political science and government. Read more in our winter 2022 story “Gold-Medal Leadership.”

 

Tiffany Stone ’91

Tiffany Stone ’91

At the Coca-Cola Co., Tiffany Stone’s projects have included marketing initiatives with Major League Baseball and NFL teams and events such as the World Series. Currently senior director of foodservice channel strategy, she has held many roles at the company over the past 27 years in the areas of customer marketing, entertainment marketing, commercial leadership and brand management.

At William & Mary, Stone earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and played on the women’s basketball team, becoming captain and holding a record as career leader in rebounds for many years. She merged her interest in marketing and her passion for athletics to build her career. Stone says participation in athletics is important for women because it provides a model for how to compete and how to handle success as well as failure gracefully.

“It teaches the importance of being able to work within the boundaries of a team,” she says. “When you get out in the business world, a lot of people talk about teams, but they really don’t know what that means. If you truly understand what a team is and how to build and nurture one, you have an advantage in a variety of ways.” Read more in our fall 2017 story “Coke Is It.”

 

Hylah Boyd Ballowe ’94, P ’27

Hylah Ballowe ’94Early in her career, Hylah Ballowe would stand in front of Lowe’s while working at the Midlothian, Virginia, office of Scott & Stringfellow and hand out business cards to meet people and get her name out as a stockbroker. That took tenacity and perseverance — qualities she developed as a lacrosse player at William & Mary, balancing athletic and academic rigors.

The successful practice she later built with her business partners at Davenport & Co. earned her recognition by On Wall Street Magazine as a Top 40 Under 40 investment professional. At Davenport, she is managing director for investments and a member of the board of directors. Communication is crucial to her work, Ballowe says, noting that her government classes at William & Mary helped hone that skill.

Ballowe remains engaged with her alma mater as a parent and as a member of the W&M Foundation Board of Trustees, serving as vice chair of the Athletics Subcommittee. As a leader of Women in Action, a group of alumnae athletes, she also mentors female athletes, hosts events and raises funds to support women’s sports programs and scholarships. Read more in our winter 2018 feature “Richmond Revival.”

 

Kiya Winston Tomlin ’96

Kiya Tomlin ’96

Kiya Tomlin began designing and making clothing at 10 years old because she struggled to find clothes that fit her petite frame. By the time she reached middle school, she was making her entire wardrobe at her home in northern New Jersey with a sewing machine she received as a Christmas gift.

She received athletic and academic scholarships, making it possible for her to attend William & Mary as an out-of-state student. While at W&M, she majored in psychology and joined the gymnastics team, where she held the record for uneven bars for several years. Meanwhile, she continued to flex her fashion design muscles by making custom clothing for fellow students. She also met her future husband — Mike Tomlin '95, L.H.D. ’08 — in the training room at W&M.

After completing a fashion design program, she launched a custom design business focused on wedding gowns. In 2014, she founded the Kiya Tomlin fashion brand, and she expanded her business in August 2018, by selling and producing the brand’s clothing under one roof near downtown Pittsburgh. The brand grew to include licensed NFL apparel in 2021. Read more in our winter 2019 profile “Signature Threads.”