During its meeting on campus last month, the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors confirmed three new members: Claude Becker Wasserstein ’82, Karen Jackson and John Alford.
Claude Becker Wasserstein ’82 is the founder and CEO of Fine Day Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in innovative and impactful technology, specifically fintech, medtech, aerospace, cybersecurity, AI and energy. Born in France, she is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and attended graduate school at the Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. Wasserstein began her career as a journalist, eventually becoming a producer for CBS News, where she worked in the network’s Dubai, Belfast, London and Paris bureaus and won an Emmy for an investigative series.
Wasserstein is a trustee of the King Hussein Cancer Center Foundation and the American Hospital in Paris Foundation, a member of the Metropolitan Museum International Council and the Brookings Institution, and a life trustee at WNET Channel 13. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and was recently awarded France’s Insignia Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
She resides in New York City with her two sons and her niece Lucy, Sweet Briar College Class of 2022.
Karen Jackson is the president of Apogee Strategic Partners, a Virginia consultancy helping companies and organizations address their most daunting challenges in cyber security, autonomous systems and smart communities. She served the Commonwealth of Virginia in a number of capacities, eventually rising to secretary of technology. Jackson served as a senior advisor to Gov. Terry McAuliffe on technology matters and was responsible for overseeing Virginia’s IT infrastructure. She also has been actively engaged in federal policy initiatives, including the development of the National Broadband Plan.
Among her many honors are an IP3 award from Public Knowledge for her work in information policy. In 2016, Jackson was named one of State Scoops’ GoldenGov State Executives of the Year and in 2017, one of State Scoop’s Top Women in Technology. Jackson and Gov. McAuliffe were jointly recognized as 2017 Difference Makers in Cyber Security by the SANS Institute, and her office received an Excellence in Government award from the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council.
Jackson has served on a number of boards, including the Center for Innovative Technology, the Virginia Research Investment Committee and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP). She also served as Gov. McAuliffe’s representative to the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and co-chaired Virginia’s Cyber Security Commission. She holds a B.S. in business management from Christopher Newport University and an MBA from William & Mary.
For more than 25 years, lawyer John Alford Jr. has represented businesses and individuals in Lynchburg and throughout Central Virginia on matters involving business, commercial transactions, real estate, estate planning and estate administration.
He is a 1983 graduate of the University of Virginia and received a J.D. from the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he was lead articles editor of the Washington and Lee Law Review. After graduating from law school, Alford served as a law clerk to Virginia Supreme Court justices Richard H. Poff and Elizabeth B. Lacy.
Alford currently serves on the board of directors of the Bank of the James and the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation. He is the immediate past president and former board member of Boonsboro Country Club, former trustee for James River Day School, and former chairman and board member of the Alliance for Families & Children.
Alford and his wife, Courtney Banton Alford ’87, have three daughters.
To learn more about board activities, visit the board’s website.