Alumnae Profiles

Chapin alumnae excel in a variety of ways. Click on the names below to read about some extraordinary Chapin women who have become leaders in their fields.

Jane Irwin Droppa ’70

Sound Engineer

“At Chapin, I was never told that only certain paths were possible,” recalled Jane Droppa ’70. As a result, “I ended up with a decidedly unconventional career, which gave me the opportunity to work with a host of well-known performers.”Her confidence grew along with her talent and reputation as a hard-working and unflappable audio engineer.

“It’s pretty amazing all the stuff I got to do,” she said, referring to packed concerts featuring musical giants like Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Heart, Huey Lewis and the News, Roger McGuinn and Stevie Wonder.

Even though, with rare exceptions, she was the only woman on her myriad production crews, Ms. Droppa couldn’t have imagined a more ideal job. “It never dawned on me that sound was a guy’s world,” she remarked.

A shy student, Ms. Droppa shunned college parties in favor of quieter activities. After graduating from Kirkland College (now part of Hamilton College), Ms. Droppa wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next, so when her friends in a band asked if she might be interested in helping out with a series of concerts, she thought, why not? That seemingly casual decision would change the course of her life.

Energized with new purpose, Ms. Droppa enrolled in electronics classes at the local community college, determined to learn as much as she could about the intricacies of sound. She turned out to be a quick study. Equipped with fresh skills and a can-do attitude, she hit the road with her friends’ band, confidently overseeing the sound monitors during the group’s popular regional shows, and earning accolades along the way.

It didn’t take long for Ms. Droppa to realize that live music was her calling. She especially appreciated the satisfying rhythm each day brought. “I loved how every night came full circle,” she said. “In the morning you walked into a bare arena. The production team prepped for a great show, then after the concert, we tore everything down.”

She left the band after several years and freelanced for a sound company in upstate New York and at Folk City, the storied Greenwich Village night club. “Folk City was where all the early folkies got their start,” commented Ms. Droppa, who lives in Maryland.

She met her husband, Larry, also a sound engineer, on the road. When they married in January 1985, she moved down to Maryland, where her freelance jobs led to a full-time position at Maryland Sound Industries(MSI), a prominent audio company at the time.Larry was also an MSI engineer, but they rarely worked the same shows.

The goal of managing live sound, Ms. Droppa explained, is to amplify a performer’s voice or instrument, each of which is picked up by a microphone. These signals pass through the individual channels of a mixing console.As a sound engineer, Ms. Droppa controlled the tonality and volume as well as adding effects like echo or reverberation. Indeed, it was a precise and delicate balancing act with no margin for error.

In 1986, as part of MSI, she spent an unforgettable four-and-a-half months with Stevie Wonder’s “In Square Circle” tour.She drove a 20-foot truck full of speakers and amplifiers from Maryland out to St. Louis to join to tour. That gear was off-loaded into one of the six tractor-trailer trucks that hauled all the equipment for the show.

In addition to helping oversee Stevie’s monitors during his shows, she wired amplifiers, helped hang the 72 speakers and became an invaluable member of the close-knit production crew. “It was awesome!” she exclaimed about working with Mr. Wonder during this 64-city U.S. tour.

Stevie Wonder’s audio required innovative thinking, she shared. “Being blind, he doesn’t get visual cues. Plus, he often got excited and wanted to jump up and down.” These unique factors called for a novel approach to his sound equipment. “Stevie was the first to use in-ear monitors. Basically, we created a mini radio station that transmitted a signal to a Walkman that he wore under his clothes,” she said.

The fact that she was a woman in a male-dominated field certainly set her apart, but it didn’t define her. Ms. Droppa excelled, she noted, because she had the skills, temperament and grit to rise to the top. “Sometimes it was hard being the only female, but people remembered me. As a woman, I often tended to listen better than a guy, which the clients appreciated,” she said.

Even though Ms. Droppa retired a number of years ago, when she and her husband had children, she continues to participate in API, their company that manufactures equipment for recording studios.

The vibrancy with which she shared her professional journey exemplified to this writer just how much these experiences –and her remarkable career –continue to resonate. So do her years at 100 East End Avenue.

“At Chapin you were expected to do well, work hard and succeed,” said Ms. Droppa. She attended from third grade through graduation and remains close with “quite a few”of her former classmates. “When I got to college, I was surprised at how much I did know.”

As for being a trailblazer, “I didn’t set out to be courageous, I just really enjoyed the work,” she said. For those contemplating a less-traveled path, she offered this advice: “It may be intimidating at first, but if it’s what you want, just do it.”

These days, Ms. Droppa’s life may be calmer but no less fulfilling.She volunteers with several non-profit organizations, visits her three children and two grandchildren as often as she can and spends every summer working on her family’s cattle ranch in Arizona. “And I love to needlepoint,” she added with a chuckle.

  • Alumnae Profiles
  • Music
Ayana Harry ’01

Reporter, PIX 11

Ayana Harry ’01 is a general assignment reporter for WPIX-TV. Previously, she was the New Haven bureau reporter at Fox 61 in Connecticut and has also held a number of positions at ABC News, including digital reporter, field producer, associate producer and desk assistant. Ayana paused between stories to chat with us about her exciting career trajectory and her Chapin experiences.

Can you share a bit about your educational and career path?

After Chapin I went to Princeton, where I was a politics major and an African-American studies minor.I also took economics classes. I thought maybe I’d go into investment banking or law, but something was missing for me.Then I took an introduction to journalism class in my sophomore year and really liked it.I wanted to find an internship opportunity, so I Googled all my interests –TV, politics, writing, current events and NYC –and hit “go.”An internship program at WABC Channel 7 came up. It looked interesting so I applied. I remember walking into a room filled with young people who all wanted to be news anchors. They were all perfectly polished –but not me! I interviewed with a producer who must have recognized my interest and my hunger. I got the internship.

On my first day, I walked into a loud, chaotic scene in the newsroom with phones ringing off the hook. I thought, oh my, this is what I want to do with the rest of my life!It really resonated with me.I was hoping to get a job when I graduated. At the last minute I was offered an overnight temporary desk assistant at ABCNews, working midnight to 9 a.m.I did that for six weeks (I had to adjust my sleep patterns!). I began to move up from there and worked at ABC for four years, then in Hartford, Connecticut for Fox 61 for three years. I came to Channel 11 in 2014.

Chapin’s current theme is “Listen with Compassion, Act with Courage.” What does this theme mean to you?

As a journalist, I have to listen with compassion. I meet people in the toughest times of their lives, tragedies, fires, loss of loved ones, troubles with the law. It takes compassion for people to feel that you really care and that you put in the effort to get the story right.Courage is about recognizing moments in your life when you may feel fear and still find a way to move forward. Even if you’re nervous, you should try your best.

What do you find most rewarding about your work as a reporter? Most challenging?

I love to tell compelling stories about issues that impact people’s lives. My hope is that it helps inform how they see themselves and the world around them. I also appreciate experiencing events first hand, and I understand the responsibility that comes with sharing with the public what has happened. I was the only television reporter there when Eric Garner died, and I recently covered the NYPD disciplinary trial of Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who put him in an apparent chokehold. I was the only journalist to interview Ron Taylor, a man once exonerated for murder then ordered back to prison in Connecticut. I was also one of the first reporters on the scene of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Feeling confident on-camera was a challenge early on, but that came with time and experience. I realized that nobody notices small mistakes a reporter makes. Nothing is the end of the world. My days can be long and draining. I also have to travel a lot, so I keep one suitcase at the office and one at home.

In what ways do you feel Chapin prepared you for college and the working world? What specific skills did Chapin help you develop?

Chapin was life changing! It exposed me to so much academically and personally and intensified the passion for learning and curiosity that I naturally have.I learned how to think critically and how to process a lot of information and come up with my own ideas and opinions. At Chapin you learn to be your own advocate. You connect with people who are invested in your progress. Once you’re part of the Chapin community, you’ll always be a part.

What advice would you give to current Chapin students or young alumnae, related to journalism or otherwise?

Be creative in approaching your career path. Journalism is changing and becoming more aligned with technology, so don’t look to the past. Instead, consider new, innovative ways of doing things. Be willing to make uncomfortable decisions and take unpopular jobs to ultimately achieve your goals. You have to have resilience.

How do you unwind?

I try to be intentional with my time and to focus on mindfulness. I enjoy exercising, practicing yoga and meditating. And I love visiting new places and organizing fun outings around the city with my tight-knit group of friends.

  • Alumnae Profiles
  • Journalism
Adrienne Nolan-Smith ’03

Founder, WellBe

Adrienne Nolan-Smith ’03 knows a thing or two about resilience. Following a tumultuous period marked by illness and tragedy, she emerged with a new lease on life – and a flourishing, health-forward company.

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Adrienne said of her decision to quit her job to create WellBe, the media enterprise and lifestyle brand that launched in July 2017. “But I wanted to be of value to people, to show them different ways they can live.” It was also a personal crusade of sorts.

When she was in sixth grade at Chapin, Adrienne struggled to get to school on time and to concentrate on her assignments. Eventually, doctors diagnosed her with chronic Lyme disease, but several rounds of antibiotics did nothing to alleviate her symptoms. Desperate, Adrienne’s mother, “a ferocious researcher,” turned to holistic options.

Fortunately, through a combination of Chinese herbs, dietary supplements, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and avoidance of dairy, gluten, processed food and sugar, Adrienne gradually started to improve. It was a difficult time, for sure, but “Chapin was absolutely amazing,” she recalled.

By the time Adrienne was 14 and in Class 9, the Lyme disease was gone, but her journey into the realm of integrative medicine, which combines alternative and conventional therapies, was far from over.

After graduating in 2003 with a strong academic foundation and a group of close friends, Adrienne headed to Johns Hopkins University. While on campus for just six months, she sustained more health problems. She lost her menstrual period and experienced painful stomach issues, prompting her to visit a naturopath, who recommended acupuncture and a clean diet. The treatments did the trick.

Meanwhile, toward the end of college, Adrienne’s mother experienced her own set of frightening health problems, which manifested in manic episodes, paranoia and delusions. She was overmedicated with a host of potent mood stabilizing and antipsychotic drugs, with no consideration of the root cause of the mental illness or a more holistic approach to healing them. Despite her best efforts, Adrienne felt powerless. Miserable and unable to function, her mother shuffled through a series of mental health facilities, her condition in a downward spiral.

In 2010, shortly before Christmas, Adrienne's mother died by suicide. “My mom was so accomplished and brilliant,” she said. “She taught me everything I knew about healing the body, but we couldn’t help her.”

This devastating loss was a major turning point in her life. With the encouragement of her “Chapin family,” Adrienne pushed through her sadness and continued with plans to attend graduate school. With an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School and determined to make a difference, she advised hospitals for a healthcare technology company, but fulfillment eluded her. “I was working with a broken system,” she noted. She decided to change course.

A business plan she had written for one of her Kellogg classes served as the jumping-off point for what would become WellBe (getwellbe.com). With this framework and no shortage of courage and determination, Adrienne set out to build her company, whose mission is to make wellness the standard of care. “It took over my whole life,” she said of the process.

Growing steadily for the past two years, WellBe promotes healthy living through informational articles, expert interviews, health news and research, panel events and a podcast featuring individuals who have used holistic therapies to significantly improve and even overcome –various ailments from fibromyalgiato multiple sclerosis. She is also in the process of developing some e-learning and navigation offerings for her community.

Adrienne, who is also a certified patient advocate, is certainly making a name for herself. She has been a guest on 20 podcasts (and counting) and speaks widely at venues such as the New York Junior League, Deepak HomeBase at ABC Home and the WIN Summit. In addition, WellBe has been featured in Forbes, Psychology Today, Organic Authority, Mindbodygreen, the Fullest and the Chalkboard, among other publications.

Throughout these eventful years, Adrienne’s connection to 100 East End Avenue has endured. “I love Chapin more than anything,” she said. “It did an incredible job of making all of us feel empowered to do whatever we wanted to do. There was never any reason to take a back seat.”

Asked to reflect on Chapin’s theme this year, “Listen with Compassion, Act with Courage,” she thought for a moment before responding. “If you don’t listen with compassion, you are going to miss opportunities to help people. My mom was an incredibly giving person. She instilled in me a culture to give and to help.” she said.

Her advice to her Chapin “sisters”? “Be the best daughter, friend and person you can be but remember to be kind to yourself, too.And pay attention to what’s going on with your body.”

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Amy Bach ’86

Founder, Executive Director & President, Measures for Justice

In 2011, Amy Bach ’86 founded Measures for Justice (measuresforjustice.org) to transform how we measure and understand local criminal justice systems in the United States. The organization, which is based in Rochester, New York, grew out of her acclaimed 2010 book, “Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court.” Amy has received considerable recognition for her groundbreaking work, including the 2018 Charles Bronfman Prize, which recognizes outstanding young humanitarians. She talked with us about her time at Chapin and her path beyond 100 East End Avenue.

Can you give me a brief overview of Measures for Justice? What led you to establish this organization?

I spent nearly a decade researching and assessing problems plaguing criminal courts and the citizens they serve. My research contributed to the thesis behind my book, Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court. The book shows how groups of well-intentioned prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys can become so inured to patterns of problems, they no longer see them. In Quitman County, Mississippi, I met a court clerk named Miss Wiggs who kept lists of cases that were never prosecuted. I used the lists as a roadmap to see what was going on. Together we figured out that entire categories of cases had disappeared. For example, there hadn’t been a domestic violence case prosecuted there in 21 years. When I asked the prosecutor about it he said: “Has it been that long?” He had no idea. Why should he? There’s no data available to show him patterns, errors, or omissions.

I founded Measures for Justice (MFJ) in April 2011 so we could see problems like this before they become chronic. The idea is to create measures. So you can compare one county to another. At first, people said it was impossible. They were wrong. The data are there. In May 2017—after six years of work—we made public six states’ worth of county data online. Now we can tell you how many people are being arrested for low-level misdemeanor crimes and how long they’re staying in jail. How many people are pleading without a lawyer. How much people are paying in court fees. We can also tell you how different demographics are treated—because all of our data can be broken down by race and ethnicity; gender; indigent status; and age. We’re in a moment for criminal justice. Everyone wants to make the system safer and more fair. And save money. But we can’t do it without the data. That’s why our motto is “No data, no change.”

Specifically, how does your organization work, and what have you accomplished so far?

MFJ developed a set of data-driven performance measures to compare the criminal justice system, county by county, across all 3,000 in the United States. We collect data from state courts and local agencies like prosecutors’ offices, sheriffs’ offices, and public defenders. Then we clean, code, and put the data out there, so people can use it. We began with six states and are headed to 20 states by 2020. Then all 50. We’re making great progress. For instance, Florida recently passed a historic data-collection bill inspired by our work. Other states are lining up to do the same.

What do you find most rewarding about your work? Most challenging?

We are doing something no one has done before, which is extremely gratifying. In the beginning we had to fight to prove that county level measurement is possible. Now, people are coming to us for help because they want to do it. The shift has been pretty wild. The hardest part is challenging the status quo. Not everyone wants innovation, in part because the players on the chessboard will have to rearrange. The adjustment can be hard for some people. But they do it.

Chapin’s current theme is “Listen with Compassion, Act with Courage.” What does this theme mean to you in your career? Does it resonate for you personally?

There are people in the criminal justice system that no one pays attention to. People who are charged with a misdemeanor or some other small offense, but who are still stuck in the system. Their stories plus the data are a very powerful combination. Together, they force people to listen with compassion, which is what has to happen for the system to change. At least that’s the first step. The second is to act on what you’ve heard, which always takes courage. Anything different or new takes courage. But you just keep going. Courage is a muscle.

Can you share a bit about your educational and career path?

After Chapin, I went to Brown University to study literature. I wanted to be a journalist. After working as a reporter for a law magazine, I was a Knight Foundation Fellow at Yale Law School. I completed my J.D. at Stanford Law School and then clerked for a federal appellate judge in Miami, the Honorable Rosemary Barkett. Shortly after, I was researching a magazine story when I got the idea for my book, which was published in 2010, and Measures for Justice began the following year. We now have 33 staff members.

What stands out about your Chapin years?

I remember a mural on the second floor that featured women in various professions heading into the future. Walking by that mural every day made me think that being a pioneer was cool, even expected. I also liked my teachers a lot. They were incredibly interesting and committed. They all got inside our heads and my fellow students were so engaged. Chapin was also a very kind place. I remember Mrs. Berendsen being extremely compassionate; she made it clear that it was O.K. to have fun. I can just picture her sitting in a chair at Initiation Night laughing her head off. She was amazing. A great leader in pretty much every way. 

In what ways do you feel Chapin prepared you for college and the working world? What specific skills and strengths did Chapin help you develop?

I am still blown away by the quality of the teaching. I learned how to write and think and how to love reading and literature there. Chapin also gave me the freedom to find out what I liked to do. For my Individual Study, I wrote a short story called “The Castle” and made it into a book. I actually sewed the book together. I would actually like that back. It should be in the library. Can I get that back?

What advice would you give to current Chapin students or young alumnae who may be interested in careers in public service?

I remember my 9th grade English teacher, Ms. Handley, an ethereal woman who had us memorize poems every week, and was always talking about the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken.” That still resonates with me, as it does with a lot of people. I would say, think about what the right solution is and take the road less traveled if you need to. Doing the hard work will pay off, even if the dividend isn’t so clear in the beginning.

You are clearly very busy and accomplished. How do you unwind and recharge?

I love to drive around the Finger Lakes region. Me, my husband, John Markman, and son Leo, 11, all together in the car. We talk a lot. They keep me grounded.

  • Alumnae Profiles
  • Criminal Justice
Alexandra "Jill" Remmel '67

Client Advocate, Gay Men's Health Crisis

Jill Remmel ’67 has devoted her life to helping and giving a voice to others. In her transformative work as Director of Client Advocacy for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the trailblazing non-profit that provides HIV/AIDS prevention and services, Ms. Remmel expertly guides her clients through the labyrinthine process of obtaining benefits through private health-insurance carriers and public programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Since its founding in 1982, at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, GMHC has shifted its focus from desperately trying to keep clients from dying to supporting them throughout their longer lives. For more than 22 years, Ms. Remmel has offered invaluable support and an incredible wealth of knowledge, cementing her remarkable legacy. “I’m a fixture at GMHC. I am going to leave someday, which won’t be good for whoever comes after me.”

With her straightforward, well-informed style that is both compassionate and no-nonsense, Ms. Remmel explains complex information in plain language and tirelessly goes to bat for her clients to make sure they do not lose critical benefits. For people going through stressful events – such as the loss of a job or the death of a spouse – Ms. Remmel is a lifesaver. “I have built up a body of knowledge. My clients respect me. I am direct with them and accept them as they are,” she said.

Instead of applying a “one size fits all” approach, Ms. Remmel treats each client as a distinct individual with a unique set of challenges. She listens carefully and strategizes the best plan of action for each situation. “I love my job,” she exclaimed. “My clients keep me going on a daily basis. I have learned so much from them.”

Growing up on East 84th Street, across from Chapin, Ms. Remmel remembers happy years surrounded by her beloved teachers. “I had friends, access to books and great teachers like Miss Stringfellow, Miss Proffitt and Mrs. Berendsen,” she commented. After Chapin, she attended high school at Garrison Forest, a boarding school for girls in Baltimore, before enrolling at Hollins College, followed by Columbia University for a Master’s in Library Science, although she never worked as a librarian. After an uninspiring stint at a bank, Ms. Remmel took a job in the development office at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Later, seeking a way to make a difference, she applied to volunteer in that hospital’s emergency room, a decision that would change the course of her life.

For 10 years, Ms. Remmel diligently advocated for E.R. patients and their families. With no medical training to speak of, she nonetheless won the trust of patients and hospital staff alike with her proactive, positive presence. “It was an amazing experience,” she declared, an experience that would lead to a more meaningful vocation. Ms. Remmel elaborated: “One day, my husband asked me, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ That’s when I decided to pursue a master’s in healthcare advocacy,” which she received from Sarah Lawrence College.

In 1996, degree in hand, Ms. Remmel started interning in the Health Care Advocacy unit of GMHC. Almost immediately, she knew it was where she belonged, even though, at times, she felt overwhelmed by the tremendous responsibility. “I was tossed into the deep end,” she said, recalling the early years. But she persevered, tailoring a position that elevated her strengths, while providing excellent care to scores of vulnerable individuals. “My job is rewarding beyond belief,” she said. “I am supremely lucky. Most people don’t fall into jobs that suit them to a T.”

Describing her education as “a lovely progression of learning,” Ms. Remmel credits Chapin, which she attended from first through ninth grade, for nurturing her and providing the encouragement she needed to discover her authentic self. “I was an idiosyncratic individual and I was accepted as I was at Chapin,” she stated, readily acknowledging the momentous role the School played in shaping the woman she became. “I’ve made my future with the support of Chapin and my family,” she reflected. “I had security thanks to Chapin, and I was fortunate to grow up with agency.”

  • Alumnae Profiles
  • NONPROFIT
Alex MacCallum '99

Head of New Products Group, The New York Times

Alex MacCallum ’99 is Head of New Products and Ventures for The New York Times, where she has worked in several different capacities for the past five years, including in the video and audience development areas. A graduate of Brown University and UC Berkeley Law School, Ms. MacCallum previously worked for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. She took time out of her demanding schedule to share a little bit about her exciting career and her life after Chapin.

Can you give me an overview of your current position at The New York Times? What led you to pursue this opportunity?

I currently run the New Products group. That means I oversee product and marketing for our Crosswords and Cooking applications and business units as well as all of the new bets we’re making in digital products. I previously ran our video team and our audience development team in the newsroom as a senior editor on the masthead.

Chapin’s current theme is “Our Future, Our Voices.” What does this theme mean to you in your work at The Times? What does it mean to you personally?

I love the theme! In terms of my work, I’ve spent a lot of time at the Times in the last few years acting as a voice for thinking about inclusion – of all types of diversity but in particular women. I ran our audience development team, a new group in the newsroom responsible for bringing audience thinking into the report as well as distribution of Times journalism. Diversity and inclusion help us create a more robust report. A report with more perspectives is interesting to a wider audience.

And, as we tackle big business questions (a process I’m also involved in), I also try to make sure that we always include a diverse group. It’s incredibly helpful to have different perspectives in the room as we think through the future of the business – and that means lots of different voices. 

In what ways do you see technology continuing to have an impact on the work you do?

Thinking about the impact of technology on behaviors, distribution models and capabilities are critical parts of what I do. It’s a core part of my job. The Times is in the midst of a huge shift in its business model – from a print newspaper that made money from advertisers to a digital product that makes money from subscriptions. That transition is because technology has changed user behaviors as well as advertiser behaviors. Both advertisers and users are far less interested in print given new technology that makes reading news faster and more convenient.

Another part of my job is thinking about what opportunities technology presents us with – there are many! We’ve been able to create new products from scratch because technology has enabled us to create fun mobile games (Crosswords) or help people get dinner on the table (Cooking), and we see a lot more opportunities for the future.

What do you find most rewarding about your position? Most challenging?

I love my job! I love working at the Times. I care deeply about the mission of the organization. I think high-quality journalism is the foundation of our democracy. It is increasingly under siege by business model changes and partisan rhetoric. I care that there is a path for the Times in the future, and feel lucky to be part of it.

Can you share a bit about your educational and career trajectory?

I went to Chapin, then Andover for high school, Brown for undergraduate and U.C. Berkeley Law. I decided not to become a lawyer and don’t recommend getting a law degree if you don’t want to be a lawyer, but I loved my experience in California. I worked at The Washington Post as a columnist out of college then was the first news editor of The Huffington Post. I went to law school, decided not to be a lawyer and went into the business side of media, first at The Huffington Post, then at a couple startups, then at the Times for the last five years.

What stands out about your Chapin years?

I am still close with the women I met at Chapin and will have a lifelong connection to them. I think it helped me build a foundational confidence and commitment to excellence that has set me up for all experiences afterwards.

In what ways do you feel Chapin prepared you for college and the working world? What specific skills did Chapin help you develop?

Again, confidence. I was a shy, nerdy kid. I was obsessed with Broadway musicals. I carved sculptures out of soap with my other nerdy Chapin friends. We dressed up as the Phantom of the Opera, played Nerf tag through eighth grade, loved baking cakes and had homework parties to work on math problems. But all of that was OK. It allowed me to pursue what I enjoyed, with little judgment, in a way that has set me up to pursue what I love later on. I also, somehow, felt comfortable speaking up and collaborating – a critical skill in today’s cross-functional and collaborative work environments.

Most importantly, Chapin made me think I could do anything – literally anything – that I put my mind to. Despite being a small school, it felt like there were endless possibilities. And I truly believe there is for Chapin students! 

What other aspects of your life played a role in your career path?

I would say each experience had a different impact on me. I learned from every new environment. Boarding school was amazing for me – I learned how to be adaptable, how to be a very tiny fish in a huge pond, how to dig deep in passions, how to challenge myself in new ways that would be hard to do at a smaller place. College taught me how to structure time when it wasn’t structured for me. My husband has taught me how to (try!) to enjoy the ride. Law school taught me to pursue what I loved (not law!) but to love California and make the best of everything. Working at the Times has taught me how to navigate big, complicated and interdependent organizations and how to manage a business. 

Over the course of my life, I’ve made friends with a lot of women. I’ve leaned on them through life. I have two young children and my deep connections to my female friends have been a tremendous support and resource in how to “balance” (really, manage) a career and a family.

What advice would you give to current Chapin students or young alumnae, related to your career or otherwise? Do you consider yourself a role model?

I’d say do what you love with your life. Don’t care so much what people think. Challenge yourself to do things that are hard for you. Speak up, politely but always. 

Amazingly, some people at work seem to consider me a role model. I certainly would not consider myself one; I see success as making it out the door with my clothes on the right side out these days.

You are obviously very busy and accomplished. How do you unwind and recharge?

I don’t do a lot of that right now – I have a 14-month-old and a 2.5-year-old. So when I’m home, I’m changing diapers or mopping up some kind of other mess. I’ll get back to you on recharging in 18 years when they are out of the house.

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