Kay Krill, president and chief executive officer of ANN INC., parent company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and an alumna of Agnes Scott College, delivered remarks at the college’s 123rd Commencement on May 12.
Agnes Scott’s class of 2012 included 166 graduates, ranging in age from 20 to 54 years and hailing from 29 states and five countries.
Krill encouraged the class of 2012 to keep an open mind about where their futures might take them, noting that the day she was in their shoes she never dreamed she’d be addressing an Agnes Scott commencement someday or serving as the CEO of a $2.2 billion public company.
She remarked that the career and leadership prospects of graduating women have come a long way since her graduation day but still have far to go.
“When I graduated from Agnes Scott, the professional workforce was very male dominated, and today, 35 years later, we have achieved equality in the workforce, but not parity in compensation,” Krill said. “We now hold 54 percent of management positions, which has doubled from 1980, but sadly, female CEOs represent only 3 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies.
“The path was paved for all of you by the many assertive, smart, passionate women who wanted to make a difference, who wanted to contribute, who had great talent … Speak out, have a voice, share your opinions and ideas. The world needs to listen more to smart, insightful women like yourselves.”
Krill was also presented with an honorary degree from the college in recognition of her distinguished business career and work with ANN CARES, a charitable platform that has contributed over $20 million in seven years and ANNpower, an initiative designed to invest in and inspire young women to be the leaders of tomorrow.
“Kay tells me that she feels she had found her life’s passion in educating and empowering girls and women and encouraging them to be leaders – a passion she can trace directly to her education at Agnes Scott … From Agnes to ANN and now back again, she serves as an inspiration and source of pride to all of us,” said Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott.
Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location – offering myriad cultural and experiential learning opportunities. A diverse and growing residential community of scholars, this highly selective liberal arts and sciences college is known for its dynamic and challenging intellectual community. Encouraging students to engage the wider world through study abroad and presenting its curriculum with international context, Agnes Scott College delivers on its promise: The World. For Women.