The Women's Leadership Council
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

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The women stakeholders of Columbia Athletics-Columbia and Barnard athletic alumnae, parents and friends, administrators, coaches and student-athletes-are committed to sustaining Columbia Athletics' standards of excellence.  Through leadership gifts, these women are making their voices heard and their influence known in the athletics program.


Support from women, not only for women's sports programs but also for the athletics program as a whole, makes a statement. Women are and will continue to be significant investors in the present and future of Columbia's Athletics.


The Women's Leadership Council strengthens ties in three important ways: within the athletic alumnae community, among alumnae and student-athletes, and between student-athletes. Together, these women enhance the experience of being part of Columbia Athletics for our entire constituency.


The Women's Leadership Council has been great for Columbia Women's Soccer. Influential alumnae are becoming even more connected with our program, and the women on The Women's Leadership Council are tremendous role models.  Our players, parents and alumnae provide a solid foundation to our fundraising needs. The Women's Leadership Council is key to our soccer program remaining a force in the Ivy League.

-Head Women's Soccer Coach Kevin McCarthy


The Women's Leadership Council, founded in 2007 by Lisa Carnoy '89CC, Donna MacPhee '89CC, Philippa Portnoy '86BC '90BUS, and M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, is a leadership giving recognition society for women.

Membership is marked by a cumulative annual gift of $2,500 or more to The Fund for Excellence and/or Columbia Athletics' 31 varsity sports programs over the course of the fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).  The Women's Leadership Council offers membership to young alumnae ten years and less from graduation. This Young Women's Leadership Council membership is marked by a cumulative annual gift of $1,000.

All members of The Women's Leadership Council receive credit as donors to The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence.

The Women's Leadership Council helps invigorate our giving from women by connecting and reconnecting our talented, successful alumnae base under one banner.  The Council's events spread the word about women's giving and how important supporting Columbia Athletics is. It will continue to be an energizing force in our fundraising efforts. 

-Head Women's Swimming Coach Diana Caskey


Since its inception, The Women's Leadership Council has included more than 40 women representing more than ten varsity sports programs. The Women's Leadership Council has raised over $800,000 in support of Columbia Athletics. A continuing goal of the Council is to have all fifteen women's sports programs represented.

We ask that Women's Leadership Council members show further support by attending contests, reaching out to fellow alumnae and friends about joining the Council, writing thank-you letters, connecting with student-athletes and recent graduates, and helping compile and maintain the history of women's athletics at Columbia by sharing photographs and stories.

For information about joining The Women's Leadership Council, contact Katie Day Benvenuto '03CC, Women's Basketball, at (212) 851-4025 or

Members of The Women's Leadership Council will be recognized for their generosity and leadership through the following:

  • Participating in two conference calls each year with the athletics director.
  • Attending special events with fellow members, including an annual cocktail reception and an outing in the Director's Box of Lawrence A. Wien stadium during a home football game at the Baker Athletics Complex.
  • Receiving an annual financial report detailing membership giving and how gifts are used.
  • Receiving recognition in publications throughout the year, including the Lions Den and the Athletics Annual Report


The Women's Leadership Council Founders

Lisa Landau Carnoy '89CC/Track & Field
Lisa has been a Columbia Athletics fan since arriving on Morningside Heights. Since graduating from Columbia, she has worked in investment banking, currently as Global Head of Equity Capital Markets for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  She is responsible for the Origination and Execution of IPOs, Add-Ons, Equity-Linked Products, Equity Financial Products and Equity Private Placements in the Americas, Europe and Asia.  In addition to leading the group, Lisa is focused on clients in the FIG/Insurance and Healthcare Sectors, as well as key Financial Sponsor relationships.  During her 15-year tenure in ECM, Lisa has worked on > 400 bookrun deals including 75 IPOs.  

In addition to her role in ECM, Lisa is Program Leader for the Global Capital Markets Summer Program and Chair of the BAML Columbia recruiting team.

Prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 1994, Lisa worked in investment banking at Drexel, Burnham & Lambert, Bear Stearns and Wasserstein Perella.  Lisa received a B.A. cum laude in History/American Studies from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.  Lisa is the Vice Chair of the Columbia College Board of Visitors.

She was awarded the Alumna Achievement Award in 1997, the Alumni Federation medal in 2000 and the John Jay Award in 2007.

Donna Herlinsky MacPhee '89CC/Women’s Tennis
Donna MacPhee, a 1989 alumna of Columbia College, is the vice president for alumni relations and president of the Columbia Alumni Association.  Donna earned her Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics and was one of the College's first female graduates. She went on to earn an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and then dedicated her career to companies related to professional athletics, including managing finances for various departments of the National Hockey League. Prior to returning to Columbia, she served as co-founder and managing director of Event Management Associates, providing event and meeting planning services for a broad range of not-for-profit and corporate clients.

Donna was a member of the Varsity tennis team as an undergraduate, and has remained involved in Columbia athletics over the years as an alumna, serving on numerous committees and co-founding the Women's Leadership Council. In 2008, Donna was chosen as one of Columbia's 25 most influential athletic alumnae.

The Columbia Alumni Association continues to develop as an organization representing alumni from all of Columbia's schools worldwide. In early March 2009, the Columbia Alumni Center opened as the first dedicated space on campus for alumni.

Philippa Feldman Portnoy '86BC '90BUS/Women’s Tennis
Philippa has been a loyal supporter of Columbia/Barnard Athletics for many years. She was a four-year letterwinner and was the first co-captain of the Columbia/Barnard Consortium tennis team. She earned the women’s tennis award for leadership and performance four times, and won the Seven Sisters Singles championship.

She was the first female Varsity C Club president and the first female recipient of the Varsity C Alumni Award. Philippa was also named one of the 25 Most Influential Alumnae as part of the Columbia-Barnard Athletics Consortium Silver Anniversary Celebration.

She serves on the Athletics Focus Group, the Steering Committee of the Barnard Alma Maters Mothers Group and is the co-chair of the Women's Tennis Advisory Committee. Philippa ran the Latin American Aviation Finance Group at Citigroup before leaving in 2000 to have a family. Philippa lives in Manhattan and is married to Larry Portnoy. They have triplet boys who love Roar-ee the Lion.

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The 2011-12 Women's Leadership Council Members

Kathryn Alexander
Elana Amsterdam
Sarah Andrews
Corey Aronstam
Kyra Tirana Barry
Katie Day Benvenuto
Sarah Bolster
Megan Bramlette
Leslie Gittess Brodsky
Margarita S. Brose
Kaitlyn Busler
Joan Campion
Lisa Landau Carnoy, co-founder
Patricia Riordan Chalian
Brenda Chiu
Lisa Chin
Natalia Christenson
Jaclyn Chu
Ashima Aggarwal Dayal
Lauren Dwyer
Susan Feagin
Tina Kagahastian Fernandez
Tina Fischer
Rachel Flax
Catherine Froman
Teri Galluccio
Judith Goldberg
Susan Goodhart
Kat Griffith
Lauren Harrison
Julie Hassan
Tara Hastings
Andrea Hong
Britta Wilson Jacobson
Ann Kaplan
Katie Lynch Keeffe
Caroline Bierbaum LeFrak
Donna MacPhee, co-founder
Sandy Henderson Marsh
Devon Martin
Cheryl G. Milstein
Whitney Weems Mogavero
Jessica Mullin
Caitlin Mullins
Margaret Munnelly
Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, co-founder
Susan O'Hara
Philippa Feldman Portnoy, co-founder
Melissa Reilly
Teresa Saputo-Crerend
Kathryn Schultea
Katie Sheehy
Caitlin Stachon
Kathy Stachon
Ellie Thomas
Ilene Weintraub
Christina Pfenning Wright
Helen Doyle Yeager
Soonae Zou