The Sunflower Initiative logo
Women Funding Women’s Education
The Sunflower Initiative logo
Women Funding Women’s Education

Board of Directors

Nahid Hamzei

Education: BA, R-MWC; CPA

Career: Director of Asset Management; Westmont Hospitality Group. Over 25 years experience in real estate asset management managing portfolios.

Volunteer: Ronald McDonald House; Habitat for Humanity

Quote: “ My experience with a variety of leadership positions at a woman’s college gave me the opportunity to learn problem solving, critical thinking and decision making. The knowledge gained has accompanied me at every stage of my life.”

Ruth Barnes Kinsolving

Education: BA, R-MWC; JD, University of Florida College of Law

Career: More than 45 years as a commercial real estate lawyer (now retired); Member and former Chair, The Florida Bar Real Property and Trust Law Section; Fellow and former governor of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers; former member Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

Volunteer: Former member and president of the Athena Society of Tampa Bay; past chair, Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts; former member of advisory board for the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum; past chair Great Tampa Chamber of commerce cultural Affairs Committee; member, Tampa Bay Community on Foreign Relations; co-chair north Florida Society of St. Andrew Gleaning; Florida Master Gardener.

Quote: Attending a liberal arts woman’s college was a critical stage in my life. The relationships and collegiality of faculty and students encouraged and instilled a lifelong curiosity and thirst for learning, finding wider horizons of experience. The woman’s college environment instilled self-confidence to follow dreams and ambitions that were not always encouraged in my generation. The experience shaped my core beliefs and confidence (and those of my classmates) to pursue careers that encourage women to reach their full personal potential and to treasure the qualities inherent in the female character. Women’s colleges nurture a culture that combines independence and ambition with compassion, courage with patience, confidence with humility, and a passion to help other women recognize and develop their full lives as gifted, grateful and caring members of their communities and societies.

Margaret McKean

Education: BA, University of California at Berkeley; MA, Harvard University; PhD, University of California at Berkeley

Career: Professor Emerita of Political Science and Research Professor of Environmental Policy in the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. Japan specialist. An original member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Common property, and in 1989, co-founder with others, including Elinor Ostrom — first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics (2009) — the International Association for the Study of the Commons.

Volunteer: Carolina Ballet, Scottish Cultural Organization of the Triangle (SCOT)

Quote: “With four children having to choose colleges, we have made a total of more than 40 visits to liberal arts colleges over a 13-year period. These visits included repeat trips to about a dozen wonderful women’s colleges; two daughters chose to attend Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Smith College. During these visits and on family visits after our daughters began attending, I was continually struck by how strong and capable the students at the women’s colleges were, and what a vibrant intellectual atmosphere we found there. I am delighted to support The Sunflower Initiative, to enable more women to benefit from attending a women’s college where they can challenge themselves to the fullest and discover all of their talents and abilities.”

Becca Peterson

Education: BA, R-MWC, MBA, College of William and Mary Mason School of Business

Volunteer: Board of Trustees, Organization Development Network; mission projects at Fairfax Presbyterian Church; annual surgical brigade for Serving at the Crossroads in La Entrada, Copan, Honduras

The Sunflower Initiative welcomes Becca Peterson back to the Board. Becca is a Senior Director of Sales Operations at SourceAmerica, a nonprofit organization based in northern Virginia which delivers products and services to government and commercial customers through a national community of nonprofit organizations that share a common vision to provide employment options for professionals with disabilities. Becca has a background in management consulting and program management in the public sector, working in New York City’s government agencies, and in providing financial management reporting and treasury services in the financial services sector. Becca graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1980 with a major in American Studies, and earned a Master of Business Administration in 1988 at the College of William and Mary Mason School of Business. She holds graduate certificates in Organization Development and Change Management from Georgetown University and Large Scale Project Management from American University. She is delighted to return to the Board of Directors.

Ellen James Ramsburgh

Education: BA, R-MWC

Career: Homemaker and Community Volunteer

Volunteer: Ann Arbor Historical Commission (past Chair), Ann Arbor Historical Foundation (current President), Allen Creek Greenway Citizens Advisory Commission, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Board of Ann Arbor YMCA

Quote: “Several years after graduating from my alma mater, I was asked to help in a volunteer capacity recruiting prospective students. I was thrilled to meet these young women, and to learn about their lives and aspirations while imparting memories and experiences that have served as a strong foundation for my own life. I also relished the opportunity these encounters afforded to share the ample research demonstrating that the learning environment of a woman’s college provides many women with greater opportunities for intellectual and personal growth than does a coeducational college setting. I look forward to the prospect of keeping the choice of a woman’s college viable for young women of today and tomorrow.”