As many who have graduated from Smith have learned, careers don’t always or necessarily follow intended trajectories. Unexpected opportunities may present themselves, and sometimes the path to a career goal might require a sideways step or two that seems counter-productive but offers greater future rewards.

Taking those steps can be risky. The benefits are not always realized. Yet without taking a risk or two in professional life, many careers won’t progress to the point of achievement and great possibility.

To celebrate professional risk-taking, particularly for women, Elizabeth Miller ’81 established a fund at Smith to support an annual presentation on campus by emerging leaders in business, who have taken risks in their own careers.

Jeannie Cho Lee '90

Jeannie Cho Lee ’90

For the second annual Elizabeth Miller ’81 Lecture, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, Smith invites back to campus two alumnae: Jeannie Cho Lee ’90, the first Asian Master of Wine and an award-winning author, wine critic, judge and educator; and Annie Morita ’90, an executive at DreamWorks Animation SKG, and Chief of Staff for Oriental Dreamworks, a joint venture entertainment company with DreamWorks Animation SKG and three companies in China. Read Lee’s and Morita’s biographies.

Lee and Morita will speak on “Risk-taking and its Rewards: A Conversation on Leadership and Entrepreneurship,” moderated by President Kathleen McCartney.

The event will begin at 4:45 p.m. in Ford Hall 240, the Picker Case Study Room. A reception will precede the talk, at 4 p.m.

Jeannie Cho Lee is the first Asian wine expert to receive the qualification Master of Wine, a title issued by the Institute of Masters of Wine in the United Kingdom, given only to those who are considered to have the highest standards of professional knowledge. Lee was named the 26th most powerful person in wine by Decanter magazine in 2011.

After graduating from Smith with a dual degree in government and sociology, Lee earned a master’s degree in public policy and international relations from Harvard University, and holds a Certificate de Cuisine from Cordon Bleu. She founded the website AsianPalate.com, which celebrates the confluence of Asian food and wine.

Annie Morita '90

Annie Morita ’90

Annie Morita last year joined the executive ranks at DreamWorks SKG, and is now heading up a joint venture based in Shanghai, Oriental Dreamworks, the first enterprise of its kind, to locally conceive, produce and distribute high-quality creative content and family entertainment in China and for China.

Morita, who served on the Smith Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2011, has held management positions at Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. Studios, and began her career at Turner Broadcasting System.

Elizabeth Miller is a longtime community volunteer who worked for several years in financial services. She currently serves on the board of The School of American Ballet.

Miller and her husband, James Dinan, who live in New York, N.Y., established The Dinan Family Foundation in 1997, and have been active philanthropists, including gifts to the Wharton School, the Museum of the City of New York, and Smith College.