Women Honored For Leadership Skills

Laura C. Mckiernan

Carla A. Harris ’84 gives a speech at the Charles Hotel after being presented with a 2005 Harvard College Women’s Leadership Award yesterday.

The Ann Radcliffe Trust presented the 2005 Harvard College Women’s Leadership Awards to Carla A. Harris ’84 and Lia C. Larson ’05 at a dinner reception last night at the Charles Hotel.

The award, established with a gift from Terrie Fried Bloom ’75 and currently in its eighth year, recognizes “an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership affecting women in his or her professional field.” It honors one alumnus and one undergraduate annually.

Candidates are nominated by a faculty member, staff member, or student. Their applications are reviewed by a standing committee including representatives from the Women’s Leadership Project, the Office of the Dean of Harvard College, the Office of Career Services, and one member of the Harvard faculty.

For Harris, who is a managing director at Morgan Stanley in New York, this is only the most recent of a long string of accolades. In the past year, she has been named to Fortune magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” as well as to Black Enterprise magazine’s “Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street” and to Essence magazine’s list of “The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World.”

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Harris serves on the board of community organizations ranging from the New York City Food Bank and A Better Chance Inc. to The Apollo Theatre Foundation and the Executive Leadership Council of the Boy Scouts of America. She has also managed to pursue a successful singing career. She released her second gospel CD, “Joy Is Waiting,” this February, and can be heard every Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Charles Borromeo in Manhattan.

Harris has often used opportunities on the public stage to emphasize the importance of community service.

Larson, an economics concentrator in Eliot House who is also a Crimson editor, has dedicated a significant portion of her college career to studying women’s issues. She edited a collection of essays entitled “Skirting Tradition: Women in Politics Speak to the Next Generation,” which came out this February. Larson also authored a column for The Crimson on women’s issues at Harvard, and researched competition among school-aged girls and boys for her senior thesis. She will be working at Goldman Sachs next year.

“We need to work together to build and strengthen the women’s support network at Harvard,” said Larson.

She stressed the importance of older women serving “not only as role models, but as mentors to younger women” inside and outside the University where, she remarked, women are often “underrepresented.”