Congresswoman Dean Hosts Changemakers Panel at Arcadia in Celebration of Women’s History Month
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean ’20H hosted a roundtable discussion in Grey Towers Castle on Monday that highlighted women who are leading the way across the region. The discussion, called Changemakers Roundtable, included U.S. Rep. Dean, who serves the 4th Congressional District of Pennsylvania; Lori Shapiro, First Lady of Pennsylvania; Jamila Winder, Vice Chair of the Board of Commissioners for Montgomery County; and Dr. Ala Stanford, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region 3 Director.
Rep. Dean was born and raised in Glenside. She served as an Abington Township Commissioner and as a State Representative in the Pennsylvania House. In 2018, she was elected to the United States Congress.
“We’re increasingly seeing that women in leadership positions is a natural look,” Rep. Dean said during the discussion. “We want to continue that and see even more women leaders coming from both Arcadia University and the community as a whole.”
Shapiro grew up in Bucks County and Montgomery County and previously worked in the White House as an analyst in the Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton administration. She now serves as first lady of Pennsylvania. Her husband, Josh Shapiro, was elected Governor in 2022 and began his term in January.
“For our family, public service is a group project,” Shapiro said during the discussion. “It goes back to our high school education, where we learned that we had to serve and do things for others. As Josh and I went out into the world, we decided to do this together. We always thought ‘What are we going to do, and how can we make a difference for someone else.’ We’ve been on this journey ever since, and it’s been amazing to now include our children on this journey.”
Winder grew up in East Norriton and previously served on the East Norriton Township Board of Supervisors and as the chair of the Norristown Area School Board. Earlier this year, she was appointed to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners to fill out the term of Val Arkoosh, who was nominated as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. On Feb. 2, Winder was unanimously elected Vice Chair of the Board of Commissioners.
“We as women carry so much responsibility,” Winder said during the discussion. “As a new mom and a working mom, you’re oftentimes met with having to make choices. As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve recognized that I don’t necessarily need to make those choices. I can be a good mom, have a successful career, and serve the public. I just have to set boundaries.”
Dr. Stanford, who grew up in Philadelphia, is a pediatric surgeon and founder of the nationally acclaimed Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium in Philadelphia. This organization was founded in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to take steps in addressing racial disparities in health care as it relates to the pandemic.
In 2022, she was appointed by President Joe Biden to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region 3 office, which covers all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“For me, women’s history month sort of makes me pause and say ‘Wow, I have done some things in my life that have impacted people’s lives,’ and I’m very grateful to the women who have come before me and paved the way,” Dr. Stanford said during the discussion. “I was born and raised in North Philadelphia, so when I sit in a beautiful setting like this… it’s a far cry from where I started. I recognize that if I hadn’t started where I did I wouldn’t have the tenacity and grit that I have, so I’m always encouraged to share that with others, especially those who grew up like I did in this lovely but tough city.”