Meet Our Alumnae
Lynda Pires '91
“Since I graduated in 1991, Hewitt has greatly evolved in areas where it needed to modernize its thinking: the role of women in power, the importance of technology, and overcoming socioeconomic and racial inequality. In my role as a member of the Hewitt Alumnae Council, I look forward to creating more connections in my Hewitt community, and being part of the positive forward movement as the School continues its mission into the future.”
After graduating from Hewitt, Lynda Pires ’91 went on to receive her B.A. in political science and economics from Wellesley College. She completed her M.B.A. with a sub-specialty in business intelligence and consumer research/behavioral modeling at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, where she graduated with Pi Sigma Alpha honors. As a graduate student, Lynda was president of Thunderbird’s chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA) as well as the first female president of the school’s LGBTQ+ student/alumni leadership group. Her affinity for working in the corporate industry was influenced by her involvement with the school’s Latin American Fintech/Venture Capital alliance.
A veteran digital customer experience strategist, Lynda has developed an expertise in leading customer experience program implementation in the banking, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and consumer packaged goods industries. She has held positions at Intuit, Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive, and JP Morgan, and most recently served as the global head of customer experience insights at Grupo Santander Digital. Lynda also makes time to mentor with LISTAS, an organization that helps Latinx teen girls realize their full potential and attain entry into college and STEM2 (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Management) programs.
Lynda’s love for travel and her work have brought her to 15 countries, introducing her to diverse cultures and impacting her personal and professional perspectives. A passionate researcher with a love for storytelling and global organizations, she is currently completing her masters in psychology. She aspires to complete a Ph.D. and apply her corporate and clinical experience to mental health programs globally. “I was inspired to pursue graduate work in psychology because it was a natural extension of the research and insight work I was doing at the corporate level. I see an ever-increasing need for support and services, especially when it comes to women and children's health. I would like to focus my academic, personal, and professional efforts to help in these areas.”
Reflecting on her time at Hewitt, Lynda shares, “My experience at Hewitt was extraordinary. It was not always easy, but it was certainly an excellent education that gave me an outstanding academic foundation as well as lifelong friends. Now that I have two daughters of my own, I have even greater clarity on the importance of Hewitt’s supportive faculty members and administrators — wonderful models who showed up in ways that are immeasurable — and a community of strong, smart, funny women. If I had to identify one lesson learned at Hewitt that really stayed with me it would be this: Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it really is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
Tracey Wallace '73
Over the past 20 years, Tracey Wallace ’73 has worked in sales at national and international pharmaceutical companies. She credits much of her professional success in sales leadership to her interpersonal skills, and enjoys working in an industry that allows her to meet and develop relationships with new people. Recently, Tracey has brought her talent and experience back to her alma mater as a member of both the Hewitt Alumnae Council and our newly formed Anti-Racism Task Force.
Tracey joined Hewitt in 1968 as a seventh grader, and in 1973 she became the School’s first Black graduate. “Being educated in a predominantly white space during the 1970s was challenging, but I found allies among students, faculty, and staff who helped make my daily life easier." As an upper school student, Tracey observed that, “There were often two sets of rules - one for my white counterparts and one for a Black student in white spaces. It seemed no one understood how a three-hour commute, class, extracurricular activities, and homework could be draining for a teenager.”
Though her time here was often difficult, Tracey sees value in her Hewitt experience. “I learned how to compete at Hewitt, how to survive as an outsider both at school and in my home community, where I was treated differently because I attended a private school. Fortunately, I had a family who loved, supported, and propelled me to the finish line. I have never regretted a moment and have always been proud of my Hewitt education. I was preparing for the world in ways I could not begin to understand.” As she navigated her Hewitt experience, Tracey also found support and comfort in Black students from peer schools who shared some of the same challenges she was facing. “Black students in independent schools found one another—we had to. We had our own group outside of school.”
Contributing to Tracey’s joyful experiences at Hewitt were the supportive relationships she had with her teachers. She has fond memories of her eighth grade homeroom teacher, Elizabeth Delman, who also taught English and served as a faculty advisor to several school publications. Tracey remembers happily working alongside her teacher on the newspaper (then known as The Sparklet) and the Hewitt yearbook. Another faculty member who made a significant impact on Tracey is Señora Pizarro, a Latin teacher who unlocked the secrets of ancient Roman culture and the origin of words for her. Tracey also relished her experience participating in Hewitt’s student council during her senior year and serving as the head of both the glee and athletics clubs, and she appreciated Hewitt’s many community traditions. “I was always touched by the first graders who belted out ‘The Turkey Song’ before Thanksgiving break and the adorable kindergarteners who gave graduating seniors the sweetest send off ever.”
After graduating from Hewitt, Tracey left New York to attend Boston College, where she pursued her B.A. in political science and government. While at Boston College she worked in the department of public relations and in the office of the dean at the college’s Carroll School of Management, where she began to hone the relationship-building skills that would become instrumental in her professional success. After graduating, Tracey returned to NYC and later moved to California, where she spent the following 10 years establishing a sales career in equipment and college textbooks before returning to Boston to work in the pharmaceutical industry. Tracey currently resides in Virginia, where for the last three years she has worked as an area business manager at biotech company Heron Therapeutics.
Whether securing multi-million dollar hospital contracts, coaching and developing oncology sales professionals, or launching the sale of innovative oncology medications, Tracey attributes her achievements to her strong relationship management skills and her ability to connect with people from all walks of life. During her tenure at Eisai, Inc., a research-based healthcare company, Tracey was appointed field-based advisor to the corporate compliance team, selected as regional sales leader to the patient advocacy group, and honored with the Nightingale Award for sales excellence for elevating her sales ranking to third in the nation.
Tracey’s interest in health and wellness extends beyond her professional pursuits. Inspired to help save and improve the quality of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer, her volunteer history includes working with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, METAvivor, and The Tiger Lilly Foundation, all of which provide support for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and their caregivers throughout their experience of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
In August 2020, Tracey joined the Hewitt Alumnae Council, a leadership group committed to creating engaging and diverse programming for alumnae and strengthening the relationship between alumnae and students. When asked what inspired her to join,Tracey responded, “Though the daily experience of attending Hewitt is in my distant past, the value of a Hewitt education has been enduring. As I listened to the passion (and sometimes the pain) of my fellow alums during the recent time of unrest, I realized that many [of our shared] experiences crossed time's boundaries. Joining the Hewitt Alumnae Council is a chance for me to give back and get into ‘good trouble.’”
In addition to her work with the Alumnae Council, Tracey is also a member of Hewitt’s recently established Anti-Racism Task Force. In this role, she is working alongside Hewitt students, alumnae, faculty, staff, parents, and trustees to evaluate and recommend schoolwide protocols, policies, systems, and infrastructure to ensure that Hewitt becomes an actively anti-racist school. Through her impressive commitment to giving back to her school, Tracey hopes that her energy and perspective will help create an environment of awareness, equity, and inclusivity at Hewitt.
Christina Eberli '04
Christina Eberli ’04 is the CEO and founder of On the Flip Side, a lecture series that tells the extraordinary stories behind famous and lesser-known works of art. A lifelong lover of the arts, Christina graduated cum laude from George Washington University with a B.A. in art history. She then embarked on an eight-year career with Sotheby’s New York, working first in the old master paintings department before becoming a restitution specialist.
As a member of the restitution department, Christina conducted research to ensure that none of Sotheby’s art had been lost or stolen during World War II. While studying the provenance of paintings and other objects, she developed a passion for uncovering the history of each work of art, including learning about its artist, subject, and owner. Her unique research and storytelling talents led her to become an expert in her field, and Christina felt encouraged to start her own business. As the founder of On the Flip Side, she uses her expertise to tell the true stories behind individual works of art, increasing their value by adding a humanity and depth to each piece. Christina’s current clients include Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Roman Thomas, Warburg Realty, and Colnaghi, as well as private clients for whom she organizes fundraisers and special events.
Despite being a sought-after voice in the art world, Christina still finds time to volunteer as a member of the Young Patrons Circle Advisory Council of the American Friends of the Louvre, where she develops strategies to grow membership and expand programming. She also mentors young women who are about to graduate from college or who are just beginning their careers by helping them explore the variety of professional opportunities available to them in the art world. Given that Christina’s own career has taken an unconventional path, she believes it is important for young women to know that there is no single route to success. She especially enjoys teaching her mentees about her work as a provenance researcher, as art restitution is a subject not often taught in school.
Christina looks back on her time at Hewitt with great fondness. It is the place where her love of visual art blossomed, and where she was introduced to the performing arts by participating in the school’s drama program. Christina believes that the most valuable lesson she learned at Hewitt is that women can do anything. To that end, she is currently developing a series of gatherings styled after the Parisian salons of the 18th century which will encourage guests to engage in discussions that consider works of art from the female perspective.
Vivienne Decker Landy '03
Vivienne Decker Landy ’03 is a journalist, startup executive, and consultant. She writes for Forbes.com, where she covers millennial entrepreneurs and direct to consumer modern luxury brands with a focus on green products, ethical manufacturing, and sustainable materials.
Before writing for Forbes, Vivienne was vice president of sales at Soko, an ethical and sustainable jewelry and technology startup featuring items handmade by artisans in East Africa. In May 2018, she joined Hewitt’s upper school students for Sustainability Day to discuss how sustainability relates to fashion and the ways in which they can make fashion choices that are not detrimental to our environment.
Of her time at Hewitt, Vivienne has shared, “I am so thankful to Hewitt for giving me such a strong foundation, from my first day as a kindergarten student to today, when I visit the school as an adult. When I face obstacles or crossroads, I often hark back to our old motto, ‘By Faith and Courage’, and the image of a ship on stormy seas. In life, we cannot control all that comes our way, and in challenging times, picturing that very boat and saying those special words reminds me of how brave I am. Hewitt taught me to have faith and courage in myself, which is one of the greatest gifts I could ever ask for.”
Laurie Gruhn '79
Laurie Gruhn ’79 has been named the next head of The Gateway School and looks forward to stepping into her new role on July 1, 2020. Laurie started her teaching career at The Chapin School, where she taught elementary and middle school drama for fourteen years. Most recently, she served as head of lower school and assistant head of school at The Browning School. Laurie holds an M.A. from New York University School of Education and a B.A. from Chatham University.
As a student at Hewitt, Laurie knew that she wanted to pursue a career that gave her time in the classroom. She recalls her teachers fondly, including Anita Edwards, Dee Kittany, and Becky Strum, and considers them to be role models and mentors. When Laurie started teaching drama at summer camps during college, each day she thought about her time at Hewitt, asking herself, “Am I doing for my students what my Hewitt teachers did for me?”
Laurie explains that the confidence she gained at Hewitt allowed her to push herself out of her comfort zone and recover from setbacks. She remembers being asked to apply for head of middle school at Chapin: “That didn’t work out, and while that was hard, it motivated me to look elsewhere, which led me to Browning. At the time, I was teaching at a girls’ school, I had attended a women’s college, I went to a girls’ school, I had a sister... what did I know about boys? But, because of my time at Hewitt, I knew Browning from our partnership around performing arts, and I knew New York City independent schools. The move felt like a stretch within my grasp.”
That stretch led to a 22-year career at Browning, where Laurie had oversight of all lower school faculty and played a key role in Browning's strategic plan, professional development and hiring initiatives, and community-building efforts. Of her work as an administrator, Laurie says, “I love the triumvirate of working with parents, teachers, and students.” On her appointment as head of The Gateway School, a K-8 school for students who learn differently, Laurie explains, “I learned so much by working with Stephen M. Clement and John Botti, the two heads at Browning during my time, and I feel honored, humbled, and excited to join Gateway’s professional community. For 55 years, Gateway has been transforming the lives of students, and I am privileged to play a part in the next chapter.”
Laurie has served on the Hewitt Board of Trustees and Alumni Association Board. She finds her volunteer work with Hewitt both personally and professionally rewarding, and she enjoys staying in touch with classmates and former teachers. Her advice to Hewitt students and alumnae is, “Your lives may take different paths than you expect. To the extent that you can, remember the places that helped form you. Hewitt will be there for you; it’s part of your cornerstone.”
Photo credit: Leslie Delano '79
Morgan Monaco '02
Morgan Monaco ’02 is the deputy director of project management for the New York City Mayor's Office of Operations. Morgan credits Hewitt with helping to set her on the path of public service through a two-week internship with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation during her senior year of high school. She attended Vassar College, where she explored the role of gender in the political landscape while majoring in international studies before going on to earn a master of public administration with a specialization in public and nonprofit management at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Morgan came to Hewitt in second grade, and she has fond memories of the close-knit community she joined here. Morgan remembers the meaningful relationships she formed with classmates and faculty as she worked on the yearbook, The Hewitt Times, student council, and the earth committee. Hewitt offered “a top-notch education in an encouraging environment. When I graduated from Hewitt, I was well prepared for the next step in my academic career, with a strong intellectual foundation that gave me the confidence to share my opinions and ideas. Hewitt helped me hone my voice as a feminist.”
At the New York City Mayor’s Office, Morgan’s project management team works with agencies throughout the city to help launch projects that cross multiple agencies’ jurisdictions. One such project, ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All, is an unprecedented, comprehensive mental health plan for all New Yorkers. With six guiding principles — change the culture, act early, close treatment gaps, partner with communities, use data better, and strengthen the government’s ability to lead — the plan depended on collaboration among several agencies including the department of health, department of education, emergency services, children’s services, and hospitals. “We function as internal consultants for the city. We bring everyone together to explain their roles and responsibilities and decide how to track progress over time, and we encourage people to adjust and improve work based on data. Our work, whether it’s mental health or modern infrastructure, is grounded in promoting economic opportunity and equity, particularly for marginalized populations.”
Morgan has advised on projects related to environmental conservation and criminal justice reform, and her advice to Hewitt students today is to “recognize that you have a role to play in affecting change. Decide which of the many problems facing society — racial justice, economic inequality, environmental sustainability — speaks to you. Figure out some way to have an impact. Volunteer your time, use what influence you have, make a difference. Make service the hallmark of a Hewitt girl.”
Samantha Haber Wasser '05
Of her inspiration for by Chloe, Samantha says, “I wanted to create a welcoming, non-intimidating brand that serves delicious food and targets non-vegans, as well. We make vegan eating fun for everyone.”
Samantha explains that her ten years as a Hewitt student had an impact on how she manages and leads today. “Being in a close-knit community, working together, and knowing everyone was a wonderful experience. At Hewitt, our learning was hands-on, with teachers who took the time to get to know us and gave us the freedom to make choices.” She recalls fondly the support and dedication of her advisor, Joan Wolf (Hewitt 1999-present), and the drum circle that she and her classmates formed with the support of long-serving faculty member Daniel Denver (Hewitt 1993-present). “He helped us orchestrate a Ben Harper song. I’ll never forget that. That personalized attention, that’s what I try to emulate in my team now.”
Now that Samantha is in a position of leadership, she makes it a priority to know and empower her employees, much in the same way her Hewitt teachers modeled for her as a student. Her management style is clearly successful: Samantha’s work in restaurant development earned her spots on both Zagat's and Inc. Magazine’s prestigious "30 Under 30” lists. Samantha also serves on the advisory board of WeWorks Food Labs, which is supporting entrepreneurs as they address the biggest challenges in food today. Central to the company’s values is a commitment to sustainability, and by CHLOE regularly donates portions of its proceeds to charitable causes, including LGBTQ advocacy, environmental non-profits, and social justice organizations.
Samantha’s advice to Hewitt students today is, “Try not to give into the pressure of having to declare your career and purpose at a young age. Life may take you in a different direction than you imagine. Try to fix or solve a problem that no one else is looking at, and learn along the way. I am constantly learning. I always loved the idea of creating spaces and experiences that would bring people joy, and now I also know the difference between a convertible note and equity.” Samantha also encourages people to work with their friends. For example, when by CHLOE launched a chocolate bar in January, Samatha’s former Hewitt badminton doubles partner, Morgan Curtis ’05, founder of the Morgan Lane clothing line, sold the vegan treats in her pop-up retail shop. “It’s an exciting time for the brand. We are actively hiring, looking at different markets, and seeking investors. That I can do this work with people I know and love makes it even better.”
Stephanie Reyes '14
While a student at Hewitt, she worked on Venturer magazine, focusing on art selection for the publication. In her free time, Stephanie continues to be involved in the arts by serving as a pro-bono translator for artists in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Spain, and by appearing in puppet productions throughout New York City. “Hewitt, more than any other school I attended (including my college), taught me how to think critically and share my thoughts with conviction and confidence.”
Alexandra Nicklas '08
“My time at Hewitt planted the seed of altruism within me. In my life I've had to overcome a few challenges, but I always had the support and encouragement of my family, peers, and teachers throughout my journey. I learned that no challenge is insurmountable with the right support, but I also recognized that not everyone has access to the supports that they need. Since graduating Hewitt, I've worked to increase access to necessary supports for those facing their own challenges.”
Alexandra earned her B.A. in speech-language pathology from Marymount Manhattan College, and pursued graduate studies in speech-language pathology at CUNY Lehman College. In her free time, she volunteers with many programs and organizations that serve people with an array of health conditions.
Diana Marin '07
"Hewitt, a place that shaped me and which I love, taught me where to find my anchors. Faith and courage don't originate in external movement and action. They're anchored in the deep rooted sense of who I am. Serving on the Alumnae Diversity Committee is a way for me to honor these roots and to strengthen them with the ever-growing Hewitt community."
Dr. Raygine DiAquoi '00
Dr. DiAquoi is co-editor of the book Education For A Multicultural Society (2011), has written about the specific competencies required of African American students and their families (2012; 2014; 2015, in press), and has discussed her research on Al Jazeera America. She earned her doctorate in culture, communities, and education and her master's in education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She earned her bachelor of arts in sociology from Columbia University.
“Hewitt taught me that the greats, people whom we admire and emulate, are characterized by their faith and courage. They have faith in their gifts and the courage to share them with the world. Be great.”
Susannah Meyer '15
While at Hewitt, Susannah served on the Community Service Board, edited The Hewitt Times, and led audio work for the theater technical crew. She was a runner-up for the prestigious Award for Aspirations in Computing from the National Center for Women and Information Technology in 2014.
“The tight-knit, girls’ school environment that Hewitt fostered around me for 13 years gave me the confidence and drive I've needed to pursue my interests without hesitation, stay curious and open-minded, and prevent gender barriers from blocking my goals.”
Sofia Caballero Stafford '13
“Hewitt showed me the value of seeking achievement not for achievement's sake alone, but because living a life of consequence, and recognizing that my actions, whether positive or negative, intentional or unintentional, impact the lives of others. I am discovering the ways in which my actions can contribute to making the world a better place.” While at Hewitt, Sofia initiated what would become a multi-year partnership with Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation and a community of nearly half a million passionate student advocates focused on girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.
Sofia is currently a market strategy associate at Gradian Health Systems.