ALUMNAE BOARD


Stefanie Ciaccia Veneruso '08, President

Catie Fugazy Bave '03
Irene St. Onge Briganti '02
Elizabeth Doherty Dilullo '88
Elizabeth "Liz" Iadavaia '78
Megan Gallagher McSherry '87
Taylor Messiter '08
Laurissa Martire Michael '94
C. Erin McGillicuddy Mills ’77
Andrea Hooper Robert '91
Brittany Schnitta '06
Lisa Martire Wade '95
Christina Casey Webers ’81

Toni Santangelo Archibald '76, Director of Alumnae Relations

BOARD MEETINGS

2018-2019
Alumnae Board
Meetings

October 23
January 16
March 27
May 22

Alumnae Profiles

Alumnae Mass Reflection by Stefanie Ciaccia Veneruso '08
My name is Stefanie Ciaccia Veneruso and I'm a proud member of the class of 2008.

Though this school certainly looks different from the one we attended, the spirit and community are the same. And, not to brag, but that is because of us: alumnae. Alumnae are the heart and soul of Holy Child: we started traditions, we are ambassadors of the school, and we are the storytellers.

My Holy Child story started in 6th grade. I was furious with my parents for forcing me to go here and not allowing me to attend public school with my friends. You'd think that because my older sister, Jackie, was in 8th grade here I'd be a little excited to join her...but that couldn't be farther from the truth, since she was a bit of a bully at that time (don't worry, we're friends now). I quickly left behind my poor attitude and began to love Holy Child, my classes, my teachers, and my friends. I joined the soccer team and even had a stint in basketball for a few years, though I quit because I couldn't make a layup. Soccer allowed me to become fast friends with girls in my grade as well as other grades. My younger sister Jess joined us as a fifth grader when I was a sophomore and Jackie a senior. In a blink of an eye, we were graduating and heading off to college. But whenever we reunite, it's like we never left. I literally transform into a teenager when I see the girls in my grade, even if it's been years since we last met.

When I think about my 7 years spent at Holy Child, I don't think about how we had to sit on a gym floor for a meeting rather than a state-of-the-art theater (though it would have been nice!)
  • I think about how Ms. Morgan made us put folders up like walls during math tests so we couldn't see each others' papers.
  • I think about how Ms. Francella taught us how to play badminton and so many other sports - in this very room.
  • I think about how I worked SO HARD in Mrs. Rubin's class to get just ONE bonus point.
  • I think about Ms. MacDonlald's sentence diagramming and the time Doc Ryan made us watch the miracle of life...and then she rewound the tape and made us watch it again in reverse.
  • I think about Ring Day, music class in the chapel, losing every soccer game, prom, trying to get the attention of Iona and Fordham boys.....very unsuccessfully might I add.
  • I think about how our incredible teachers, advisors, and coaches not only taught us lessons in the classrooms but prepared us for college and life.
  • I think about how we had so much fun and learned a lot along the way - even when things didn't go right.
  • I think about wisdom, confidence, and friendship. I'm still working on wisdom, but Holy Child provided me with the confidence to speak up, be a leader, and make a difference. Holy Child also provided me with wonderful friendships.
When you remember your years at Holy Child, what sticks out to you? What is your Holy Child story? Did Ms. Ricci ignite a love for science in you? Did Rabbi Dan teach you to appreciate other faiths and cultures? Did Ms. Wasilik teach you about the importance of competition and teamwork? Did Ms. Walters teach you about kindness and patience while trying to teach you math?

Take time today to think about your Holy Child story, reflect on the gift of a Holy Child education, and enjoy reconnecting with one another. Thank you.
Read more about Alumnae Mass Reflection by Stefanie Ciaccia Veneruso '08
Alumnae Feature Friday: Hilary Smith '95

1. What is your profession? How did you choose it? Please share how it has affected your life and the lives of others.

I work freelance in the TV & Film industry as a Unit Production Manager and I am also a member of the Director's Guild of America (DGA). I am currently working on the TV Show BLINDSPOT, which airs on NBC. I am responsible for managing the day to day of the production. I work closely with producers, directors, actors, and all heads of department to ensure that productions run smoothly, meet deadlines, and stay within budgets. It's a fun and demanding job, and one I wouldn't change for the world.

When I was in college I started working as a production assistant and fell in love with the film business. I continued with that path after graduation and began working full time as a production assistant before turning to the location department. The training in the location department allowed me to learn so many aspects of the film business; all of which helped me achieve my current position. With regard to affecting the lives of others, I like to think although I am not curing cancer, at least I am contributing to entertaining people.

2. Where did you go to college? What did you study?

I received a bachelor's degree in Communication from Stonehill College.

3. Who was your favorite teacher at Holy Child and why?

There are way too many favorites to even think of listing just one! All of the teachers there had a huge and lasting impact on my life. Of course, Mrs. Wasilik is a standout as a coach, teacher, advisor, and overall amazing listener.

4. What was the most valuable experience you had at Holy Child?

I truly believe I learned to be a strong, independent woman at Holy Child. I was encouraged and supported by the other female teachers and administrators to stand up, have a voice and not be afraid. I work in a very male dominated field, and because of my experiences at Holy Child I will not let that stop me from pursuing my dreams.

5. What is your favorite Holy Child memory?

Again, way too many to list, but of course my friendships. I have life-long best friends and I treasure each and every one of them.

Read more about Alumnae Feature Friday: Hilary Smith '95
Alumnae Feature Friday: Julie Pingitore Pipolo '83

1. What is your profession? How did you choose it? Please share how it has affected your life and the lives of others?

My profession is a medical aesthetician. My office is in Rye and I have been at this location for the past five years. I have been in the industry for over 30 years. I call Skin Westchester an age management center where we manage magnificent women and men's age in the most comprehensive, natural, and beautiful way. I was in this industry early on and worked for Clinique and various cosmetic companies. My career found me when my aesthetician helped clear and rejuvenate my skin and from there I went to medical aesthetics school and continued ongoing education at the Dermal Institute. People say I affect others' lives in ways I cannot imagine, but I do believe we encourage people to have a far greater self-esteem to look at themselves more beautifully in the mirror and to recognize their inner beauty as well.

2. Where did you go to college? What did you study?

I went to Marymount College in Tarrytown, studying fashion, and only stayed two years because I got a great job in the cosmetic industry and knew this was going to be my field in some way.

3. Who was your favorite teacher at Holy Child and why?

While I loved all my teachers at Holy Child, my favorite had to be Sr. Catherine who at the time was the art teacher. She helped me to explore and to hone in on my talent for watercolors, a talent I did not know that I had. She even encouraged me to get involved with CYO. It was a wonderful time in my life.

4. What was the most valuable experience you had at Holy Child?

My most valuable experience at Holy Child truly was from the day I walked in to take a tour. At the time, I could only hope to possibly get into this beautiful school.

5. What is your favorite Holy Child memory?

Every day there was memorable and some of my dearest friends to date are still from Holy Child. Every memory is cherished, and every moment is filled with gratitude that my parents were able to send me to such a place. I will never forget my time at Holy Child and will forever be grateful for the experiences I had there.


Read more about Alumnae Feature Friday: Julie Pingitore Pipolo '83
Alumnae Feature Friday: Jackie Penichet '09

1. What is your profession? How did you choose it? Please share how it has affected your life and the lives of others?

I am a Submarine Officer in the United States Navy. I recently finished my tour on the USS MICHIGAN (SSGN 727), where I served onboard for three years deploying in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Currently, I am stationed at the Pentagon and serving as Flag Aide to Vice Admiral Merz, one of the highest ranking officers in the Navy.

When it came time to choose a college and a career, I had always known I wanted to achieve something larger than myself. I wanted to serve my community on a larger scale, and that's when I began to think about the military. I proudly serve my country everyday by protecting the freedoms and the rights of my family and friends, and those who don't have a voice. It has been a true honor and blessing for which I am grateful everyday of my life.

2. Where did you go to college? What did you study?

United States Naval Academy Class of 2013

Bachelor's Degree: Honors Systems Engineering

Naval Postgraduate School Class of 2014 Masters Degree: Acoustics Engineering with a minor in Undersea Warfare

Naval Nuclear Power School and Prototype School

Qualified to operate a naval nuclear reactor

3. Who was your favorite teacher at Holy Child and why?

Holy Child provided me with some of the finest teachers I have ever met and I have had the privilege of being taught by a number of them during my time there. They were true inspirations and role models, and it's hard to choose one as my favorite.

4. What was the most valuable experience you had at Holy Child?

Holy Child helped mold me into a strong and independent woman. My teachers and friends, as well as the curriculum, pushed me to see past the boundaries and challenged me to see the world in new ways. And yet the best part of it all was that Holy Child not only helped develop me intellectually, but spiritually as well. My teachers and friends helped me grow stronger in my relationship with the Lord and are exemplary examples of what it means to truly love one another.

5. What is your favorite Holy Child memory?

Our Sophomore Ski Trip to Vermont, hands down. It was during this ski trip that I met and became great friends with an amazing group of women. They are strong, smart, funny and I couldn't ask for better friends. We developed a strong bond at Holy Child and we remain friends today. That trip created friendships that will last a lifetime.

Instagram: Our first Alum Feature Friday: Jackie Penichet '09 is a Submarine Officer in the United States Navy. She recently finished her tour on the USS MICHIGAN (SSGN 727), where she served onboard for three years deploying in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Currently, she is stationed at the Pentagon and serves as Flag Aide to Vice Admiral Merz, one of the highest ranking officers in the Navy.

Read more about Alumnae Feature Friday: Jackie Penichet '09
Brittany Williams '06

2018 COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

Thank you, Melissa. And thank you esteemed members of the faculty, esteemed parents, proud friends and family. Congratulations to all of you. But most importantly, congratulations to the incredibly impressive Holy Child Class of 2018!

I'm sure many of my fellow Class of 2006 classmates in the audience can attest to the personal challenges, bouts of self-reflection and sometimes maybe even a bit of disbelief that has come with reaching the milestone age of 30-years-old this past year. Well I must admit, that being invited to serve as a commencement speaker at my old high school was all that I needed to fully accept the fact that I am indeed 30 years old, and it had been 12 years since I graduated from Holy Child on June 10, 2006. All jokes aside, it is an absolute honor and a privilege to serve as your commencement speaker. I vividly remember sitting in your shoes – wearing the long white gown and holding red roses, sweating because of a mixture of the 90-degree weather and the anxiety that came with this chapter closing and the uncertainty of what college would entail, and feeling immense pride – proud of being a part of this special community and achieving such an important milestone. But when I sat in your shoes, I desperately wished that someone could give me a playbook – a set of advice for me to consider as I enter this next chapter. So today, I will share two pieces of advice with you from my experiences on Wall Street, moving away from home and working in Finance in London, and finally my past two years at Harvard Business School.

The first message I'd like to share with you is: just say yes! Back in 2012, I was working in investment banking as an analyst at Citigroup. During October of that year, I was offered a unique opportunity to move to London to join Goldman Sachs. To many observing from the outside, it was an absolute no brainer. Goldman Sachs is a leading investment bank, I would have international work experience on my resume at the age of 23, who wouldn't take this opportunity? But for me, I was terrified. You see, I had always been afraid of being alone. In fact, my biggest nightmare used to be (and sometimes still is, if I'm being honest!) is walking into a large cafeteria and not being able to find a table with my friends so instead I have to sit and eat alone. So as you can see, moving 3,459 miles away from my family, friends, established work network was absolutely terrifying. But I put my fears aside, and I just said yes. On December 2, 2012, I boarded a plane to London, United Kingdom and little did I know that my four years in London would change my life. My four-year journey abroad taught me more about life, love and fear than any of my experiences to date. Had I said no to the opportunity to work abroad, I would have missed out on travel to over twenty countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I would have missed out on opportunities to interact in diverse settings and challenge my pre-existing beliefs while also defending my viewpoints to others. I would have missed out on the opportunity to sit in on business meetings in Spain, France and Germany that were held outside of my native tongue. Most importantly, I would have missed out on the opportunity to be humbled by my challenges, to be adaptable to new environments, and to always take a global view. So when these awesome opportunities come to you (and they will), I wish that you will just say yes. Don't let fear get to you. Don't think about the what-ifs, just. Say. Yes. There is immense growth that comes from opportunities like these. And even if they do not go according to plan, or even if they turn out to be a failure, there is growth in failing forward. So, just say yes.

The second message I'd like to share is create your own definition of success. I studied Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Virginia, and after two summer internships at Citigroup, I accepted a full-time offer to join the investment bank in 2010. In the beginning, I enjoyed my work. But after a while, if I'm being honest, I only stayed because of what I viewed the external definition of success to be. I thought that working on Wall Street was a stamp of approval – it showed that I was hard working, analytical, and successful. But deep down, I was unhappy. I was working 80-100 hour weeks, had gained a ton of weight and was not leading a healthy lifestyle. A pivotal moment for me, was coming home at 1-2am after work, and noticing a pamphlet that my parents had left on my nightstand on "healthy ways to manage stress". It was then that I knew that not only did I know deep down that I was unhappy, but those closest to me also could tell. And I'm sad to say, that even after that defining moment, I still worked in finance for 4 more years. It was only in 2015, when I mustered the courage to apply to graduate business school programs, and in August 2016, I embarked on my two-year journey at Harvard Business School. With the goal in mind of pivoting careers to one that I was truly passionate about. I'm now really excited to be working at Intel in Silicon Valley on their Virtual Reality, Esports and Gaming team. A complete pivot – but an industry and a technology that I'm truly excited about. And now, success for me is not solely defined by my career. Success is paying it forward and donating my time to organizations I care about. Success is finding true happiness in the relationships that I cultivate. Success is leaving a legacy. But don't conform to my definitions of success. I want you to feel comfortable creating your own definition of success and standing by it. Because only then will you find true fulfillment and happiness.

And now, as a fellow Holy Child alumna, I'd like to be among the first to personally welcome you to the Holy Child Alumnae Network. Change can be frightening I know, but the bonds, stories and relationships that you have with each other do not have to end here. You now have the alumnae network which is thrilled to welcome you and to serve as a resource, but more importantly, you now have a duty to pay it forward and serve as a resource to current students. In closing, as you consider this next step in your journey – remember two things: (1) just say yes! And (2) create your own definition of success. After all, before you know it, you'll be 30 years old, reflecting on your life and career experiences to date, and preparing to give a speech for graduation. So be sure to track your story. I know it'll be a good one.

Thank you.

Read more about Brittany Williams '06