June 15, 2012 | Education
New Beginnings: Talbots Gives Back
The Nancy Talbot Scholarship Award helps deserving women pursue higher education later in life—giving them another chance to realize their dreams.
By Lizzie Crocker
Hingham, MA -- Nancy Talbot may have built a retail empire, but her clothing brand originally targeted women who had moved to small New England communities in the aftermath of World War II. She and her husband, Rudolf Talbot, built the business with the intent of being active, supportive members and entrepreneurs in these communities. Today, their philosophy remains an integral part of the company’s dedication to giving back through the Talbots Scholarship Foundation.
Established in 1997, the foundation has since awarded more than $1.6 million in scholarship money to ambitious women pursuing a college degree later in life. The 2012 program gave $200,000 in college scholarships, $30,000 of which went to the recipient of the Nancy Talbot Scholarship Award –a woman honored for her remarkable entrepreneurial skills and philanthropic efforts in her community.
This year, that woman is Roberto Guerrero from Hayward, California, who moved to the Pacific’s Mariana Islands to help her husband develop his family’s small bakery into a hugely successful food enterprise. In addition to expanding the bakery, Guerrero immersed herself in volunteer work and the tourism industry during the decades she spent living in the islands. Despite her accomplishments abroad, she returned to California a divorced woman with four children and limited financial resources. But with the help of the Nancy Scholarship Award, Guerrero is currently enrolled at the University of California in Berkeley, where she’s pursuing a career in writing so she can spin her life stories in a riveting novel.
Guerrero isn’t the only woman who’s earned a chance to start anew. The remaining money from the foundation was divided amongst 17 finalists who were each given $10,000 scholarships. “I am completely overcome with emotion to receive this scholarship at the age of 49 and be given an opportunity to change my life,” said Sandra Grayazar, one of the recipients selected by a panel of 12 influential women who have worked hard to accomplish their own dreams, from NBC’s Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer to New York Times best-selling author Kelly Corrigan. Grayazar is studying to become a substance abuse counselor at the University of Arizona.
“From immigrant advocate and hopeful author to speech pathologist, each woman’s chosen goal tells a story about her own journey to overcome life’s obstacles,” said Lori Wagner, Talbots’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, before presenting the scholarships. “True to founder Nancy Talbot’s vision of inspiring others by sharing stories, these exceptional women are beginning new chapters.”