Women in Leadership

March 8, 2019
22nd Annual Women in Leadership Roundtable Discussion

Kara Hadge Prone '04, Anna McFadden '10, Juliana Blazuk '00 and Eileen Porro Mendes '95 (pictured left to right)

Messages of mentorship and support, as well as shared experiences of trial and error, came through to Ursuline students at the 22nd annual Women in Leadership Roundtable, an annual gathering for Ursuline alumnae to share their professional paths and life advice with current students.  Fittingly, this year’s event took place on International Women’s Day, serving to amplify the themes covered by the presenters. Each alumna had an opportunity to discuss her journey from the halls of Ursuline through college and early career experiences to where she is now.  

While each woman traveled a different path of education and work experience, their wisdom left the students thinking that the future is theirs to shape:

“My job title did not exist when I was in your shoes.”

“Your experiences change who you are.”

“Be super flexible, get your hands dirty, and say yes to everything.”

“Your first job won’t be perfect.”

“When choosing a job, look for three things: good work, good money, and good people.  Sometimes you have to pick two.”

“In any new job, you will not know what you are doing for your first three months.  That is normal - do not quit.”

“It’s okay to change your mind.”  

“Push yourself out of your comfort zone - that is where the growth happens.”

“Ursuline has prepared you well to go out into the world and be confident young women.”

The four panelists covered a span of fifteen graduation years, and a range of fields that include social services, behavioral health and education, social media/technology, and healthcare technology. 

 We were honored to host these graduates of Ursuline Academy:

Eileen Porro Mendes ‘95, Director of Operations, Italian Home for Children
At Boston’s Italian Home for Children, Eileen oversees risk, quality, regulatory compliance, and performance improvement initiatives for the agency.  She is an active member of the board for the Massachusetts Coalition of Applied Behavior Analysis Providers (MassCAP), supporting ABA agencies across the state.  Eileen began her career in residential treatment programs, serving children and adolescents with severe and complex trauma histories.  She then held progressive leadership positions over the next seven years, implementing changes that stemmed from the Child Welfare Reform Act.

Kara Hadge Prone ‘04, Senior Content Manager and Editor, athenahealth
Kara develops content, such as blog posts, thought leadership pieces, and marketing collateral, with the goal of communicating athenahealth’s offering to its clients.  In her 10+ years as a writer and content marketer, Kara has worked on brands spanning healthcare, technology, financial services, the arts, and education.  Her writing has been published in Slate, The Rumpus, The Boston Phoenix and other publications.  She is also actively involved with the Catholic Schools Foundation’s Inner-City Scholarship Fund and serves as the communications co-chair for athenahealth’s Women’s Leadership Forum.

Anna McFadden ‘10, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, New England Center for Children, Inc.
Following her graduation from Miami University of Ohio, Anna returned home to New England and began working as a teacher at NECC, an autism education and research center located in Southborough, where she works one on one with students on the autism spectrum.  She holds a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, and recently received her Board Certification in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Juliana Blazuk ‘00, Advertising Manager, Snapchat
As an advertising manager at Snapchat, Juliana is in charge of growing Snap’s marketing partnerships with East Coast retailers.  She spends her time on-boarding and developing retail clients, including Walmart, on the platform.  She started her career in advertising, leading strategic planning services for consumer packaged goods and retail clients and also spent three years at Nickelodeon running the toy vertical. 

Following the presentation, students had an opportunity to pose questions to the panelists.

Faculty and staff alumnae of Ursuline Academy joined the participants in this year's Women in Leadership Symposium: (from left to right) Heather Smart '95 (school nurse), Katie McNally '10 (campus minister), Mary-Kate Tracy-Robidoux '94 (principal), Kara Hadge Prone '04, Juliana Blazuk '00, Kate Nolan Levesque '77 (president), Anna McFadden '10, Maura Polles '86 (director of admissions), Eileen Porro Mendes '95 and Caitlin Bradley '12 (faculty).


March 2, 2018: 21st Annual Symposium

Women in Leadership 2018
Making their Mark

Keziah Furth '03, Anna Dolan '11, Stephanie Klimov '06 and Sarah Vartanian '06

Keziah Furth '03, Peter H. Reynolds, Anna Dolan '11, Stephanie Klimov '06, Sarah Vartanian '06 and President Rosann Whiting (photo left to right)

This marked the 21st anniversary of Women in Leadership, an annual Ursuline Academy tradition in which alumnae return to campus to share their professional and Serviam experiences with current juniors and seniors. Joining us at this year's event on Friday, March 2 were Keziah Furth '03, Stephanie (Orphan) Klimov '06, Sarah Varadian-Vartanian '06, and Anna Dolan '11. The diverse professions of the panelists offered students the opportunity to learn not just about potential careers, but perhaps more importantly, the roads traveled to get there.

This year, the event's focus was on alumnae who are making their mark in the world. Kicking off the round table was keynote speaker Peter H. Reynolds, New York Times best-selling author-illustrator and founder of FableVision, an award-winning educational multi-media company. In Peter's speaking engagements all over the world, he champions "off the path" learning and creativity to challenge others to reach their full potential and make their mark by choosing life paths that are personally meaningful.

Keziah Furth graduated from Ursuline Academy in 2003, best known as “the girl who rode a moped to school.” She received a degree in nursing from Northeastern University, completing co-ops at Children’s Hospital Boston, a diabetic unit in Brussels, Belgium, and an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Inspired by her six-month internship in Haiti, Keziah moved into a Port-au-Prince home for children suffering from malnutrition and HIV/AIDS. Over the next 7 years, she volunteered full-time in Haiti, doing nursing and humanitarian jobs, and serving as translator and liaison for numerous medical missions to Haiti. Later, Keziah focused on community health, training local adults to provide basic care for common conditions in Haiti such as cholera, tuberculosis, and high blood pressure. During this time, Keziah spent her summers as camp nurse for Chop Point Camp in Maine, where she led adventure trips on the St. Croix River, Mt. Katahdin, and Acadia National Park. After her time in Haiti, Keziah moved back to Boston and began working at Goodwill, caring for adults with intellectual disabilities. Her clients have diagnoses such as Down syndrome, autism, or traumatic brain injury and function on a wide range of physical and mental levels. They are unique, challenging, hilarious, stubborn, affectionate, and a joy to work with.

Anna Dolan graduated from Ursuline Academy in 2011. Following her time at the Academy she received a degree in Economics from Harvard University and eventually entered the finance world. A year into her career as an analyst at a venture capital firm in Boston, Anna had a change of heart. She sought a career where she could combine her love of math with an opportunity to work with students. Eventually, she decided to leave private equity behind in order to become a teacher at an independent school in Connecticut. Anna is currently an upper school math teacher, coach and advisor at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford. She has taught courses to students ranging from 8th to 12th grade and is currently in the middle of her second year as an assistant track and field coach. She has also had the opportunity to serve as an international service trip chaperone to Paraguay and the Bahamas. She looks forward to continuing her career in education, and appreciates the relationships formed with both friends and teachers during her time at Ursuline.

After Stephanie (Orphan) Klimov graduated from Ursuline Academy in 2006, she earned her PharmD at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and began working as a pharmacist at CVS/pharmacy. In 2014, she was promoted to pharmacy manager and assisted in opening the CVS/pharmacy at Gillette Stadium, Patriots Place. However, she wanted to extend her professional role, so she took a clinical pharmacist position at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Despite her dedication to pharmacy, that is not her primary passion. Stephanie has sketched and spun stories since she was in 7th grade at Ursuline. Her creative aspirations were swept under the rug for many years because she was told to give up on what was essentially a pipe dream. It was during her years practicing pharmacy when she realized there was something missing in her life. One day, Stephanie decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month, and has fully invested in her creative side ever since. Today, she still works as a full time clinical pharmacist but also successfully released her debut novel, The Aeonians, last year, as well as two short stories in anthologies.

Sarah (Varadian) Vartanian is the founder of Wee-Care Bears, an initiative that began during her time at Ursuline Academy and provided funds to build and support two girls' schools in Afghanistan. What began as a response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 led Sarah to raise money all through high school and become the recipient of the William R. Simms award for outstanding youth in philanthropy. She has also received citations from two Massachusetts governors for her innovative fund raising work. Her charitable work has also been recognized by the White House. In 2006, she was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award and featured as a “Point of Light” on the National Daily Points of Light Foundation’s website.  After graduating from Stonehill College, she became their Director of the Center for Nonprofit Management. She was responsible for leading a unique fundraising training program for undergraduates at Stonehill as well as providing support, resources and training for area nonprofits. Currently, Sarah is an independent nonprofit consultant and raising her young family full time. She is a proud mother of two, Maya (2) and Jack (6 months) and lives with her family in Rhode Island. 


Read more about this event in this Dedham Wicked Local news story.


March 3, 2017: 20th Annual Symposium

March 3, 2017: 20th Annual Symposium

Mary Kate Harrington ‘10, Carolyn Thorne ‘90 and Nancy Sinclair ‘86 (photo above, left to right)

The Ursuline tradition continued as the Alumnae office held its 20th annual Women In Leadership symposium in early March. We proudly welcomed back to campus three alumnae who shared their experiences from their days at Ursuline to their current career roles. Our high school students were treated to a morning of knowledge, advice and humor as the panelists shared favorite Ursuline classes, teachers, their continued dedication to service post graduation, as well as a favorite memory of canoe rides in the pond on Mission Day, much to the surprise of the current students! Senior Maggie Chipman ‘17 was the student moderator, engaging our alumna on a variety of topics including when they decided on their career choices, challenges they’ve faced, and how their education prepared them. The event concluded with a lunch for the panelists in the Tea Room with faculty and staff.

Nancy Sinclair ’86

Data Designer, Sapient Corporation

Nancy Sinclair is a software consultant who specializes in data design for healthcare systems. In her almost 25 years of experience, she has worked in a wide variety of settings including tech startups, financial services, government agencies and healthcare.

Nancy was a programmer for the first fifteen years of her career, developing SQL Server and Oracle databases. Looking for a new challenge, she transitioned to business systems analysis. In that capacity, she has participated in every phase of software development including writing business requirements, data analysis, testing, and production support.

A true team player, Nancy is willing to do whatever it takes to make a project successful, even if that means processing applications for health insurance coverage to understand the user experience better. Her preference is to analyze complex data and design algorithms and other technical requirements for database systems. Nancy graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a BS in Mathematics and has a Master of Applied Mathematical Sciences from the University of Georgia. In her spare time, she volunteers with the Junior League of Boston and Boston Cares.

While at UA:

What activities/clubs did you participate in while at Ursuline?

I was in SOS and Spanish Club.

What is one of your favorite Ursuline memories?

Going to Spain with Spanish Club and one of my best friends. Thirty years later, we’re still friends!

On the topic of changing roles of women, Nancy noted “I graduated from grad school in 1992 and went into software. I was the only woman in the room and it was an intimidating experience because I was also the youngest. As I progressed along I was waiting and waiting for more women to come into the room and I don’t see them. And I’m not exactly sure why. I just really wish more women would consider the world of technology.”

Carolyn Thorne ’90

Veterinarian/Owner, Veterinarian Services of Westwood, LLC

Dr. Carolyn Thorne received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) from the University of Florida in 2000. For her undergraduate degree, she attended American University in Washington, D.C., where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology. Dr. Thorne was joined at the day’s events by her mother Peggy Lannon Thorne ‘63, and daughter Katherine Ziska ‘22.

Dr. Thorne has focused on keeping animals with a wide range of personalities, ages, and medical issues healthy and happy for nearly 20 years. She strongly believes in the benefits of personalized care and opened her state-of-the-art veterinary clinic in 2016 with her patients' comfort and providing excellent medical care in mind.

Since 2014, she has also served as the animal inspector for the Town of Westwood, supporting the work of animal control and local law enforcement to ensure the health and safety of animals in the community. Prior to her opening Veterinary Services of Westwood, Dr. Thorne worked for other veterinarians in the area. A proud pet parent to rescue cats, dogs, and even a guinea pig named Cocoa,

Dr. Thorne has provided veterinary care to shelter animals at the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach, Florida; the Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, D.C.; and at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Dedham shelter.

While at UA:

What activities/clubs did you participate in while at Ursuline?

I was in Glee Club and Classical Greek with Sr. Ursula.

What is one of your favorite Ursuline memories?

Meeting my best friend in the 9th grade who, like me, also had a pet rat.

On the topic of how she chose Veterinary Medicine, Carolyn replied “I originally wanted to be an astronaut up until I was 8 years old and I got my first pet, which was a guinea pig. My mom thought it was responsible to take your pet to the vet. So we took her and when I met the vet they did her check up and trimmed her nails I decided that is what I wanted to do. I held to it forever. I’ve always liked all animals, loved them, wanted to help them.”

Mary Kate Harrington ’10

RN, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Burlington, MA

Mary Kate Harrington received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in 2014. Since that time, Mary Kate has worked as a Registered Nurse at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, MA. A member of the nursing staff on the liver/kidney transplant floor, Mary Kate works alongside doctors, physical therapists and case managers to bring the best possible care to patients and their families. Last year, Mary Kate was the recipient of Lahey Hospital’s Starfish Award – given to members of the nursing staff who have made a difference in a patient’s stay.

Prior to landing her position at Lahey Hospital, Mary Kate filled in as Ursuline Academy’s Substitute School Nurse in the winter and spring of 2015. While in nursing school she took a position as a Resident Assistant at Aldridge House in Walpole, a memory care facility where she offered her compassionate hands to assist its residents with their everyday tasks.


When she is not caring for patients, Mary Kate enjoys yoga, swimming and trips to Maine or the Cape. She recently moved to West Roxbury where she is busy finalizing plans for her wedding in June.

While at UA:

What activities/clubs did you participate in while at Ursuline?

I was on the Swim Team for all six years and played JV Hockey sophomore through senior year.

What is one of your favorite Ursuline memories?

Being on sports teams in general - each season, your team becomes your family.

During the Q&A portion of the presentation, one question posed to Mary Kate was if she ever considered being a doctor rather than a nurse: “There is a big difference. Doctors write the orders. They’re the ones that know why things are happening, what’s the next step, what’s the plan. I don’t want to say I’m just a nurse because it’s a lot more than that. You are the one taking care of the patients, you’re the one to get to know them...I never considered being a doctor because I wanted the bedside interaction with patients”.



March 4, 2016: 19th Annual Symposium

Kelly Sullivan '07, Nan Leonard '82, Katie Burke '99

At the 19th annual Women In Leadership symposium, Ursuline was proud to welcome back to campus three alumnae who represented a variety of industries and career stages, and pulled from their range of experience to offer some wisdom to the three hundred 9-12th graders in attendance. Their advice ranged from affirming the value of Ursuline’s writing instruction in college classes, to the importance of practicing your “Beyonce walk,” to the need to value people for a range of skills beyond intellectual strength. The speakers were guided through a series of questions by student moderator Maggie Chipman ’17, and then made themselves available to speak one on one with students.

Katie Burke ’99, Vice President of Culture and Experience, HubSpot

After graduating from Bates College, Katie Burke began her career at Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading provider of management and technology consulting services to the US government. In 2009, she completed her MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management. After serving as Director at the Glover Park Group communications firm and running marketing and corporate partnerships for Athlete’s Performance and Core Performance (now EXOS), she joined HubSpot, a Cambridge marketing software company in 2012. Katie began as a director on the marketing team and is now Vice President of Culture and Experience. She is responsible for the company’s global employment brand, making company culture scale for competitive advantage, and delivering a remarkable experience for HubSpotters around the world.

Katie’s work at HubSpot infused her remarks with the perspective of someone in a young, fast-paced company. Referring to her job title (VP of Culture and Experience), Katie observed that it sounds like a “crazy, made-up job because it is.” Katie observed that “Part of being a leader is taking on challenges before you are ready for them,” adding that her mother always advised her to “practice your Beyonce walk,” meaning to act confident even if you aren’t.

Most memorable experience at Ursuline: Her group project for the Communication Arts newscast competition (the “Frannie’s”). Despite not winning the competition, Katie fondly remembers the creative, out-of-the-box project and the bonding experience of working with a team.

Nan Leonard ’82, Contract Administrator, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners; Board Member, Nashoba Learning Group, Advocate for children with developmental disabilities

Nan Leonard earned her BA in Government at Harvard University in 1986. While studying law at Boston College Law School, she was an editor of the Law Review, graduating with a JD in 1990. She practiced corporate law at Palmer & Dodge until she became the mother of triplets, one of whom has a developmental disability. Her interest in finding more effective treatments for those with developmental disabilities led her to complete a graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis at Simmons College in 2003. In 2008, she received her Masters in Healthcare Administration from Suffolk University with a focus on disability policy. In addition to drafting the legislation which requires health insurers to pay for ABA treatment, Nan was appointed to the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure task force to draft regulations for the Behavior Analyst licensing law. She has served on the board of the Nashoba Learning Group since 2002.

In her remarks, Nan regaled the students with stories about her high school classmate and former UA principal Mary Jo Keaney. Regarding her ability to combine her legal training with her interest in disability services, Nan told the students, “you may find yourself applying your skill set in ways that you never imagined.”

Most memorable experience at Ursuline: Senior year Latin class with Sr. Dorothy Doyle, complete with tea and cookies.

Kelly Sullivan ’07, Legal Associate, Citizens Disability

After Kelly Sullivan graduated from Ursuline Academy in 2007, she earned her BA in Criminology from Stonehill College, and subsequently went on to the Quinnipiac University School of Law and was awarded her J. D. degree in 2014. After several legal internships and a research clerk position, Kelly is now a Legal Associate with Citizens Disability, a social security disability advocacy group. Kelly’s responsibilities include meeting with clients and preparing documentation on cases, as well as conducting hearings and cross-examining witnesses. In addition, she has mentored new attorneys who are learning about the regulations and procedures of the social security administration.

While initially unsure of her career direction in her early college years, Kelly used a variety of jobs and internships to test her interests, reassuring the students by saying “if you don’t know what you want to do now, don’t stress about it. Experience different things - try different clubs and internships.”

Most memorable experience at Ursuline: The friendships that she made, and working with them on drama productions; memories of teachers including Mrs. Lytle’s music videos and Mrs. McFarland’s dramatic rendition of The Crucible.

March 6, 2015: 18th Annual Symposium

Principal Keaney '82, Kendra Butters '05, Jennifer Morgan Williams '87,
Rakiyah Canty '89, Molly Kenney '05, President Whiting

The 2015 Women in Leadership symposium featured an extremely eclectic blend of professional pursuits and personal interests among its participants, ranging from a criminal defense attorney to a museum director. Nonetheless, all agreed that their Ursuline experience shaped the way that they work with others, view challenges, and find fulfullment in their work.

This year's Symposium unveiled a new format, with the four alumnae leaders conversing in a panel with one another and their hosts. They responded to such questions as:

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

"The most rewarding part of my job is to make sure that the person who picked the cotton, who spun the cotton, .... is able to realize their rights in the workplace." - Rakiyah Canty

"It seems like a little hashtag, but that is viral marketing ... you know that this [hashtag] is associated with this university with these values." - Kendra Butters

How did your career path evolve?

"I ended up taking French decorative arts and that changed my world." - Jennifer Morgan Williams

"I chased down every opportunity to poke holes in this goal that I had, and to pressure test it." - Molly Kenney

"When I look back on it, everything I did led me to where I am, even though you can't exactly plot it out." - Kendra Butters

Jennifer Morgan Williams ‘87 is Executive Director for the Osterville Historical Museum on Cape Cod. Jennifer studied English and French at Wellesley College, and went on to earn a degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. As Executive Director, her responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations and management of the museum, maintaining its physical and financial assets, ensuring compliance with all state, federal, and donor-imposed regulations, and fulfilling the museum’s mission and vision.

Rakiyah Canty ‘89 works as an International Relations Officer for the US Department of Labor, Office of Trade and Labor Affairs. After earning her degree in International Relations from St. Louis University, Rakiyah began her career as a Claims Examiner with the U.S. Department of Labor in their Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. In her current role at the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Rakiyah monitors labor standards in countries with trade relationships with the United States. When countries are found with areas of non-compliance , she works with them to design and implement programs as remediation. Rakiyah has been awarded six Exceptional Achievement Awards by the Department of Labor for her work with them.

Kendra Butters ‘05 is a Communications Specialist for the Boston College Lynch School of Education. Kendra studied Journalism at Quinnipiac University and then spent two years in the Teach For America service program in Clarksdale, Mississippi. At the Lynch School of Education, Kendra’s job involves planning and implementing a comprehensive communication strategy for the school's social media accounts, website and other communication vehicles. Besides managing the school’s presence on social media outlets, Kendra also designs visual event programs and print marketing materials to reflect and further the mission of the university. She was recently selected for the Women’s Leadership Program of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Molly Kenney ‘05 is Staff Attorney for The Bronx Defenders Criminal Defense Practice. Molly Kenney attended American University, and earned her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Since graduating, she has been working as an attorney for The Bronx Defenders, representing indigent residents of the Bronx who are charged in criminal court. Molly aims to minimize the consequences of her clients’ cases by identifying the social issues involved and addressing those needs holistically. Her awards and recognitions include the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship, the Benjamin R. Jones Award for outstanding contribution to the public interest, and the Summer Jackson-Healy Fellowship for exceptional commitment to public interest work.

We thank these four alumnae for sharing their experiences and wisdom with current Ursuline students!

March 7, 2014: 17th Annual Symposium

"Follow your gut and create something that is special for you." ~ Mary Feely Moriarty '80

"What brings you joy, what are you good at, and what does the world
need you to be?" ~ Marianne Tierney '02

"Don't be afraid to have a career jungle gym, instead of a ladder." ~ Breda O'Connor '05


These are just a few of the many pieces of advice that Ursuline students heard from three alumnae who returned on March 7 for the annual Women in Leadership Symposium. Formerly known as "career day," Women in Leadership does not have an industry focus - rather, it strives to provide students with a mindset that they can use as they approach decisions about their educational, career and life paths. Since this year's alumnae - Breda O'Connor '05, Marianne Tierney '02, and Mary Feely Moriarty '80 - are all at different stages in their career journeys, the students were able to get a glimpse of career and life decisions from three unique perspectives.

Breda O'Connor '05, Assistant Swim Coach at Brandeis University and Marketing and Operations Director at the Metrowest Aquatic Club, knew that she wanted a career in sports management, and was well on the path she had envisioned when she was promoted from assistant coach to head coach of a Division I swim program at the age of 25. She found, however, that this move did not bring her the fulfillment that she thought it would, so she instead decided to stay as an assistant coach, and also put her business skills to use as the marketing director of a start-up swim club. She found that this "jungle-gym" approach to her career allowed her to leverage multiple skill sets in a way that a straight-line approach would not, and brought fulfillment in a way she had not envisioned.

Marianne Tierney '02 spoke poignantly to the girls about the Jesuit method of discernment, which demands asking yourself three things: what brings you joy, what are you good at, and what does the world need you to be? After graduating from Boston College, Marianne travelled to New Orleans to help start a non-profit organization called Persevere focusing on disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. While her work there was much-needed, she found that disaster relief did not meet the three criteria of discernment, so she continued to discern, ultimately deciding to pursue a Masters in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. Marianne is currently a PhD Candidate studying theological ethics at Boston College, with the goal of becoming a theology professor at the university level.

Mary Feely Moriarty '80 encouraged the girls to be open to combining experiences and interests in order to create something new and different. After attending the University of Virginia to study nursing and working as a critical care nurse in Virginia and New York, Mary found that she was interested in the business side of the healthcare delivery system, and pursued an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Some people were skeptical of this leap from the clinical side to the business side of medicine, but Mary found that this "building block" approach made sense to her. She went on to work as a health care management consultant, and then as an executive search professional for several global executive search firms. She is now a Managing Director of Pieper, Moriarty & Associates, a boutique executive search firm that she co-founded.

Thank you to our wonderful speakers for returning to share your wealth of experience with current Ursuline students! View the highlights from Women in Leadership 2014:

March 1, 2013: 16th Annual Symposium

"Once an Ursuline girl, always an Ursuline girl" is a phrase heard often among the nearly 3,500 alumnae of UA. The truth of that phrase was surely evident at the 16th annual Women in Leadership Symposium on Friday, March 1, 2013. Three Ursuline alumnae, of the Classes of 1978, 1987 and 1991, were answering questions in a Q&A session, bantering like they had known each other for years. A group of seniors in the audience wondered aloud to each other if the women had been friends while at school. Not quite. They had just met that morning, when they arrived to present at the symposium, but bonded instantly over their shared Ursuline experiences. Once an Ursuline girl, always an Ursuline girl.

Women in Leadership Speakers 2013
(Left to Right): Nancy Kelley-Loughnane '91,
Danielle St. Germain-Gordon '87 & Regina Sullivan '78)

Ursuline Academy's annual Women in Leadership Symposium brings distinguished alumnae back to campus to mentor and network with current students and this year we were thrilled to welcome Regina Sullivan '78, Executive VP at Fidelity Investments, Danielle St. Germain-Gordon '87, Chief Development Officer at Arena Stage Theater, and Nancy Kelley-Loughnane '91, Human Signatures Branch Technical Advisor in the Navy, back to campus. Each of our guest speakers gave a talk about her career and personal journeys since leaving the halls of Ursuline, followed by the Q&A and an opportunity for students to speak to the women individually.

Thank you to our wonderful speakers for joining us! Watch all the highlights from Women in Leadership 2013:

March 2, 2012: 15th Annual Symposium

Women in Leadership 2012

The alumnae speakers at Ursuline Academy’s 15th Annual Women in Leadership Symposium followed three divergent paths after graduating from Ursuline: one entered the world of finance, another psychology and the other, publishing.

But they all had one thing in common, aside from being proud Ursuline girls. Each speaker emphasized the importance of seeking mentors and the advice of others, no matter what career path one takes.

The annual Women in Leadership Symposium is an opportunity for current Ursuline students to do just that: connect with and learn from alumnae. Three impressive alumnae spoke to Grades 9-12 about their professional and personal journeys since leaving the halls of Ursuline Academy.

Jane King ’61 is the president of her own investment firm, Fairfield Financial Advisers, Ltd., and has been named to the Worth Magazine list of America’s Best Financial Advisors. Her determined spirit has brought her great success in the male-dominated business world. King said she was often the only woman at conferences when she first started working in the investment business, but that did not deter her from forging her own path. She urged the girls to take opportunities, and learn as much as they can along the way.

“I’m going to offer you advice, and I do so with a great deal of humility,” King said. “In the world of working, show up every day…find and develop mentors, stay in touch and run your career choices or life choices by them, and then third, always be professional. Dress the part…and be professional always in your manners.”

Mary Beth O’Leary ’05 began her speech by recalling the first time she thought about her future career options: when she was in the seventh grade at Ursuline Academy. As a student in Mrs. Anderson’s math class, O’Leary crafted an imaginary budget for when her future 22-year-old self: she would graduate from the College of the Holy Cross, move to beachfront property in Miami with her best friend and be an elementary school teacher.

“Let me tell you which of these things came true,” she said. “I did go to the College of the Holy Cross…but if you couldn’t tell from my lack of a tan, I don’t live in Miami. Instead, I live with my two best friends from Ursuline in Boston.” O’Leary is a Marketing/Publicity Coordinator at Cell Press, Elsevier, the world’s second-largest publishing company, which publishes one third of the world’s scientific, technical and medical content. O’Leary advised her fellow Ursuline girls to embrace and learn from new experiences, even if they are unanticipated. O’Leary’s future did not follow her seventh grade plan, and her career path has also taken some unexpected turns. As an English major in college, she never expected to be working in the science field, but she said that she has never been happier. The secret to her success is advice that a mentor once gave her:

“She told me that often in your career it is as much about the experience as the goal. If I let myself make the most of the new position I had and the diverse experiences it offered me, rather than fixating on what my next step was going to be, the rest would take care of itself.”

Dr. Suellen Walsh Rother ’85, a clinical psychologist, took the UA students on a journey through her life after Ursuline. She even brought along a travel bag, which she packed with her advice for the future. She weaved the advice into anecdotes from her life as an undergraduate and Ph.D student at Fordham University and then as a clinical psychologist.

When Dr. Rother first arrived at Fordham, she thought she wanted to be a pediatrician, but it was with the help of one of her mentors that she realized psychology better suited her interests and personality. “Always remember to consult with others,” she said, as she pulled a sheet of paper out of her travel bag with those words on it. “It is important that you have people that you trust and respect to go to and talk to.” She also told the girls that being flexible and open to new experiences was another important item to pack in your suitcase for the journey of life. But she ended with the most important piece of luggage: “Have fun while you’re on this amazing journey!”

The symposium ended with a Q & A and networking session, giving the students the opportunity to talk with the speakers individually and learn a bit more about their lives and careers. Many thanks to our wonderful speakers for coming back to Ursuline for this event! We hope you enjoyed returning to campus as much as we enjoyed having you back!

Past Women in Leadership Speakers

"This is what we are about; we plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds that are already planted knowing that they hold future promise." ~Bishop Ken Untener


(Left to Right): Jennifer Drury '99, Julie Ciollo '98, and Alexandra Maggioni '88. Julianne McDonald '06 joined us via Skype!

Julie Ciollo ’98- Attorney

Jennifer Drury ’99- Director of Content and Programming for Nickelodeon

Alexandra Maggioni ’88 - Executive Producer of Schooled on NESN

Julianne McDonald ’06- Reporter/Anchor/Producer at KFYR-TV


Eileen Colleran '99- Civil Engineer at STV Incorporated

Erica Corsano '96- Editorial Director at Stuff Magazine

Carolyn Hern '02- Client Development Manager at Diversified Project Management, Inc.

Allison Matthews '99- Account Supervisor at Ketchum

Erin McCarthy '05- Financial Analyst at State Street Corporation/State Street Global Advisors

Ann Marie Wilson '85- Nurse Practitioner at Dana Farber Cancer Institute