Westglow Resort & Spa owner Bonnie Schaefer to speak at Appalachian Oct. 13

Bonnie Schaefer

ASU NEWS—Bonnie Schaefer, owner of Westglow Resort & Spa and former co-CEO of Claire's Stores Inc., is the guest speaker for this year's fall Harlan E. Boyles Distinguished CEO Lecture at Appalachian State University.

The event, sponsored by the Walker College of Business, will be held Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. in Holmes Convocation Center on campus. The lecture is open to the public.

The lecture series is named for the late Harlan E. Boyles, who served for 24 years as N.C. state treasurer. For more information, call 828-262-2057.

Schaefer began her business career at Claire's Stores in 1987 as a sales associate. She worked in various roles with the company and was elected co-chairman and co-CEO along with her sister, Marla. During their tenure, the company's shareholder value increased by approximately 200 percent. In May 2007, the sisters sold the company to a private equity group.

Schaefer is a long-time supporter of An Appalachian Summer Festival and is a board member of the university's summer music program. She provided a major gift to Appalachian that funded the renovation of the university's performing arts facility, now named the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. She also supports the university's Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies.

Schaefer's other local philanthropic activities include providing the seed money to build the first and only synagogue in the High Country. Schaefer's love for animals is demonstrated through her support of the Watauga Humane Society, which helped the society construct a new animal shelter. More recently, she funded construction of a new boarder barn at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve.

Schaefer also is a founding member of the Appalachian Women's Fund (AWF), which strives to improve the lives of women and girls through grants, mentoring and advocacy. In 2011, she, and her partner, Jamie, were co-recipients of the AWF's Women of Vision Award, presented for philanthropic efforts within the community. In addition, she supports Power of the Purse of the High Country Women's Fund, which helps women take major steps out of poverty.

Schaefer has played a leadership role with national and international organizations. Through her participation with the Women's Media Center, she works for greater visibility and power for women in the media. She works with Equality Now to improve conditions for women and girls around the world and has traveled with Gloria Steinem and the Equality Now staff, to Nepal and Zambia to attend conferences on human trafficking.

In January 2014, Schaefer traveled with Steinem and a group of five others throughout India at the invitation of Donor Direct Action, a program dedicated to connecting frontline activists with frontline donors.

She co-chaired the Ms. Foundation for Women's 2007 and 2008 Gloria Awards with her sister. Schaefer was the honoree at the 2009 Gloria Awards, receiving the Woman of Vision and Action Award, and served as honorary chair for the event in 2010, 2011 and 2012. She chaired the event in 2013 and was on the Women of Vision Gala Committee for the 2014 Ms. Foundation 40th Anniversary and Steinem's 80th birthday celebration. Schaefer is also a member of Women Moving Millions, a partnership of visionary donors, the Women's Funding Network and its member funds.

She served on the Board of Trustees of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and received the 2011 South Florida Simon Wiesenthal Legacy Award. She is a Mount Sinai Medical Center founder, past president of the Foundation Board of Directors, a member of the medical center's Board of Trustees Executive Committee and serves on the board's compensation Committee.

She was on the host committee for the Women's Division of the Weizmann Institute of Science and was honored as a Woman of Vision by the Weizmann Institute in 2000. She co-founded the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's Run/Walk for the Whisper and was honorary chair for eight years.

Bonnie Schaefer
Published: Oct 5, 2015 1:00pm