The Annual Alumnae Summit brings together women leaders and influencers in a variety of fields to share their experiences and expertise with the Stonehill community. In 10 events held virtually last March, alumnae from across the decades engaged in meaningful conversations, exchanged ideas and offered thoughtful advice and reflections as well as practical tips on a broad range of topics, from networking and interviewing to social justice, passion projects and personal wellness. Here is a snapshot of what we heard.

Moving Forward
Heather Abbott ’96, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing and an amputee who founded the Heather Abbott Foundation to help others who are living with limb loss, delivered the Summit’s opening address. Sharing her story of recovery and resilience, she recalls, “I made a decision—because I had been doing a lot of ‘what ifs’ and ‘why mes.’ I began to realize that I would never get answers to those questions. I could keep asking them, but there really was no point. So for me, the first step in moving forward was to make up my mind. I couldn’t change what had happened. I recognized that I had to look ahead and look to the future and move forward.”

On Adulting
During a discussion on passion projects, Asia (Ewing) Watson ’14 recalled how she’d listen to podcasts while commuting to her job as corporate relations manager at the Greater Boston Community Food Bank. At the same time, she was planning a wedding, trying to buy a house and figuring out her retirement plan. “I had an epiphany because I was looking for a podcast about adulting…[and thought] ‘I can do a podcast about adulting.’” She reached out to good friend and classmate Jareed Gaines ’13, and together they started the Done with Adulting podcast. Of managing a very busy schedule, she remarked, “Do not sacrifice sleep…that is the most important thing about entrepreneurship, in my eyes.”


Value Added
In a panel discussion on job recruiting, Paula Koczera ’01, who works in employer relations at the Harvard Kennedy School, shared a piece of advice for women reentering the workforce. “You have value to add to a team, but you have to make that case. Employers often say that women sometimes focus on what they don’t have in interviews. Spend that valuable time talking about everything you do have because you have so much to offer!”

A Woman in the White House
In a conversation about social justice, allyship and mentorship, Cynthia Cortijo-Rodriguez ’04, who works for the New York City Department of Education, reflected on watching this year’s Presidential Inauguration with her young daughters. “They saw a woman who resembled them in the White House, and they felt empowered by that. Their favorite quote from Kamala was: ‘I may be the first woman to hold this office, but I won’t be the last because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.’”

Ask for It All
Laura (Mitchell) Treonze ’96, chief life strategist at LMT Consulting, participated in a discussion on mentorship and work-life balance. When looking for a new job, she encouraged women to advocate for themselves. “We have these limiting beliefs about what we can get in our next position. And I’m saying, ‘Ask for all of it.’ Let them tell you no. Don’t assume that it’s too much to ask for.”

Going through Something
Closing the Summit, Mary Latham ’09 shared her More Good journey, capturing stories of kindness across all 50 states with the goal of creating a book for hospital waiting rooms. A key takeaway from staying in 154 homes and traveling 43,000 miles: “We’re all going through something. Not only can I just say that…when you actually stay with people for three years who are going through something, you really see it…It doesn’t matter what anyone looks like or what mask they have on that day or how they are presenting themselves. We are all going through something.”