A lifelong athlete who loves being outdoors and plans to bike to work as often as she is able, Wendy also is a devotee of spinning, a workout on a stationary cycle that allows the exerciser to focus mentally and use visualization techniques.
Wendy graduated from the Wharton School of Finance in 1978 with a B.S. in economics and a major in marketing. She is an ardent believer in women’s education, having attended an all-girls’ high school, Rosemary Hall, as it was in the process of merging with Choate. “At Rosemary Hall, I developed intellectual curiosity, a passion for competitive sports, which I continued to play through college, strong leadership skills and a sense of social responsibility,” she says.
Bryn Mawr itself is already a tradition in her family, as her mother, Joan Davidson Marcus ’54, is an alumna, as are her relatives by marriage, Edna Kraus Paine ’15 and Faith Greenfield Lewis ’71.
Wendy transferred to Wharton from Penn’s college of arts and sciences during her sophomore year. “I thought I wanted to be a psychology major until I learned about Wharton,” she says. “Then I realized that marketing was really what I wanted to specialize in because it was based on consumer behavior and human psychology. I have always been intrigued by the reasons why consumers buy one brand over another, why products are placed where they are on the shelf, by packaging, and so on.”
During her 20-year career in advertising and marketing, Wendy specialized in enhancing brand images—including Xerox, Johnson’s Baby Care, Brut and Jell-O—and in developing communications and marketing programs to meet consumer needs.
She most enjoyed Jell-O as a commercial project, noting that “the challenge facing Jell-O was in some ways similar to the one facing Bryn Mawr—steeped in wonderful traditions yet needing to continue to evolve in order to thrive in a new competitive landscape with a new generation of consumers.”
But she ultimately “reached the point where I just didn’t want to sell one more bottle of shampoo. I wanted to be involved in a more meaningful endeavor, preferably in education.” The two professional experiences she found most rewarding were pro bono work on the highly successful advertising campaign for the United Negro College Fund while she was at Young & Rubicam and work on an adult literacy program administered by the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy in Philadelphia.
Wendy, her husband, three sons, and two cats recently moved from Chappaqua, N.Y. to Villanova. When asked how she has balanced professional work and raising children, she exclaims, “With difficulty!
“I feel blessed to have been able to have a fulfilling, stimulating and successful career while raising three incredible young men. I think the kids have helped me keep things in perspective. If I had a particularly trying day at work, I was able to forget about it the minute I walked in the door at home, because they demanded my complete attention. Having a family and many things to juggle helped me be very focused and decisive at work. It also made me more compassionate.
“On occasion, things would fall apart. Once we needed client approval on an ad that had to be sent out, but the client was having second thoughts and needed reassuring. Then my babysitter, who didn’t drive, called to say that my youngest son had been dropped off at the wrong baseball field. Matthew, being a resourceful 7-year-old, approached another mother who had dropped off her son, asked if he could use her car phone, called the babysitter to apprise her of the situation, and decided to spend the afternoon practicing with another team. He didn't fall apart and actually was quite proud of the way that he handled the problem. Fortunately, those days were few and far between!”
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