‘Listening to Understand’ Jane Ledlie Batcheller '03, '08L takes the lead in supporting Washington and Lee.
Q. What does it mean to you to be a woman in a leadership role at W&L?
I’m honored to serve in this role, and if this helps set an example to other women and encourages them to get involved in leadership positions, then that’s icing on the cake.
Q.What are your goals as a member of the Annual Fund? What excites you most about the work ahead?
Helping fellow alums understand and know the value of consistent giving so they gain a deeper understanding of the Annual Fund’s impact on current students. I’m most excited about collaborating with my fellow alums on the Annual Fund Council and getting to know other alums as part of our outreach efforts.
Q. Who have been your mentors?
I wouldn’t be here today without Neil (women’s soccer coach) and Susan Cunningham (director of leadership giving), who have guided and supported me throughout my W&L life as an undergraduate, law student and now as an alum, particularly as I’ve become involved with various leadership roles.
Q. What do you consider as the most important qualities of a strong leader, and what would you say to encourage more women to pursue leadership roles?
I find the most effective leaders are those who listen to understand — as opposed to simply listen to then interject with one’s own information. Effective leaders empower and prepare others to succeed, they delegate and entrust others to succeed, and of course serve as an example for others, particularly in the areas of integrity, work ethic, respect and priorities.
Leadership does not mean you have to have all of the answers. Don’t close doors on yourself — this is a mantra that I have in my own life. We do a great job of convincing ourselves we’re not qualified for a particular situation, so we don’t even bother throwing our hat in the ring. Trust me when I say that people WAY less qualified than you are signing up for new jobs and leadership roles, so if it sounds interesting to you, go for it.
Q. Can you share your reasons for choosing to remain deeply engaged with W&L?
It’s virtually impossible for me to adequately explain the impact W&L has had on my life, both personally and professionally. I am so much of who I am today because I spent those pivotal years at W&L. Volunteering a little time is the least I can do. I really enjoy the opportunities I have had over the years to interact with current students, whether that’s been speaking at the Women’s Leadership Forum, collaborating with the Executive Committee or interacting with the soccer team, to name a few.
Q. What would you like to emphasize to fellow W&L alumni and friends when it comes to giving back to the university?
Your contribution to the university has impact, no matter the form or the amount. There is so much that wouldn’t exist at W&L if it weren’t for our alumni who give of both their time and their treasure. Sometimes it may feel like we don’t have enough of either to give, but truly every little bit helps.
Jane Ledlie Batcheller ’03, ‘08L is co-chair of the Annual Fund Council. She has served as an alumni career mentor and has been an active member of the Atlanta Alumni Chapter, serving as president, as chair of the career networking committee, as the AAP chair and as co-chair of the Young Alumni Committee. She was also a member of her Reunion Class Committee. Batcheller is senior counsel at WestRock Co.