December 4, 2007

Angela Braly


Stacia Deshishku


Melissa Reiff

Success stories often include a pivotal moment that leads to a life’s calling. That is certainly true for three women who followed their passions after graduating from SMU to become leaders in retail, broadcast journalism and the health care industry. For Melissa Meyer Reiff (’77), president of The Container Store, the turning point was a business offer that deviated from her plans to attend law school. For Stacia Philips Deshishku (’90), director of coverage for CNN North America, it was an aptitude test at SMU. And for Angela Braly (’85, J.D.), president and CEO of WellPoint Inc., that moment was the first day of Law School orientation, when she learned a surprising statistic that made her determined to challenge the odds. Young alumni featured in "Ones to Watch" also achieved success by committing to their passions: opera singer Valerie Vinzant (’06) and tutors Benjamin (’03) and Christopher (’04) Bhatti and Carl Dorvil (’05).