AlumnaeSep 9, 2021

— updated Sep 9, 2021

Courage, Curiosity, and the Journey to MHS

Former Trustee Amy Church Wood ’89 and Trustee Becca Hajjar ’89 catch up via Zoom

Friends for almost 35 years, MHS Trustee Becca Hajjar ’89 and Amy Church Wood ’89 recently shared some stories and laughs via Zoom, with Becca interviewing Amy about her MHS memories, experiences as a Trustee, and her advice for MHS students today.

Amy, who served on the MHS Board from 2004 to 2017 and still serves on the School’s Strategic Planning Committee, shares the story of how she came to MHS, the importance of single-sex education to her journey, how her Board service influenced her path, and more.

On her path to Miss Hall’s —
I am the fortunate benefactor of angels in my life. I am from upstate New York, a very small town, and the youngest of five kids… I had a friend whose mother went to Miss Hall’s, and she did not go to Miss Hall’s, much to her mother’s dismay. That woman was always on the hunt for recruiting students, and that woman is Patsy Manley Smith ’55, an amazing woman who we all know and love dearly. She rallied a group of moms to get my family to even come up with the idea that MHS would be a good move for a kid who was from this small town in New York and who they saw potential in.”

On the importance of single-sex education —
I was so ready to get out of my little, small town in upstate New York. There were strong female influencers in my life — women like Patsy and others — and so for me, single-sex was a way to focus on being a student, being me, meeting other people, meeting other people from around the globe. It was a great spot for me, because even though Miss Hall’s is a small community, for me it was a big step. It gave me the courage and curiosity to continue to pursue things that are not what people might assume would be the next logical step for you.

How service to MHS has influenced her life —
Being a Trustee of Miss Hall’s gave me a broader perspective of leadership and organizational management across a whole new sector. It also gave me a whole new view into the whole organization. I learned a ton. I grew personally and as a professional in so many ways, and it was a great stepping point for me in my personal life and in my professional life. One thing that we’re all experiencing as we are coming out of COVID is we are re-thinking geography, and what that means for those who are close to organizations. I still sit on the Strategic Planning Committee and do so virtually, a great way to learn about trusteeship and also to stay involved with MHS.

Her advice for MHS students today?
Say, “Yes,” whether that’s within the organization you’re currently in, or it’s a decision that you’re making to continue your education, whether that’s to go back to graduate school and/or to make a career change. Say “Yes” to the opportunities. I’ll balance that with saying “No,” when you know that the opportunity isn’t going to generate the reward that you deserve from it …. Do your homework. Be open to trying new things, meeting new people, sharing new experiences, and being a lifelong learner.

Watch Becca’s interview with Amy!