An independent Catholic school for girls in grades 7-12

Push yourself out of your comfort zone - that is where the growth happens
  • ALUMNAE NEWS
  • NEWS
Elaine Fazekas

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.  

Left to right: Principal Mary-Kate Tracy-Robidoux, Kara (Hadge) Prone, Juliana Blazuk,
President Kate Levesque, Anna McFadden, Eileen (Porro) Mendes

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.