To kick-off Reunion Weekend 2019, Sacred Heart Greenwich welcomed back alumnae Stephanie Mellert ’14 and Dr. Joanna Groden ’74 to speak to Upper School students during Career Morning.
Mellert, an analyst at Rothschild and Co. and magna cum laude graduate of Notre Dame University, gave Upper School students a primer on different career paths in finance from sales & trading to investment banking. As an analyst, Mellert provides advice to CEOs and CFOs on whether or not to consider bankruptcy. It’s a unique position: a recent college graduate providing advice to executives with thirty years of experience. Mellert shared that Sacred Heart prepared her for this current role by teaching her how to speak up and how to listen. Apparently, providing feedback to seasoned executives is simple for anyone who has taken an English class with Upper School teacher Linda Vasu!
Dr. Groden, a human geneticist and Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois, began her talk by assuring the Upper School students that they do not need to know exactly how their path must unfold by the time they graduate. In fact, Groden earned her B.A. in biology at Middlebury College and practically fell into her Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics at the Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences after a post college job and before going on to a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Human Genetics/Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Utah. Groden emphasized that she knows Sacred Heart will prepare each student academically but the values acquired on King Street—caring for others, being ethical and honest, and a commitment to making the world a better place—are the things to be most proud of upon graduation.
Students had the opportunity to ask the alumnae questions and many were interested in how Sacred Heart as an all-girls school prepared them for male dominated work environments. Mellert said that her team at work is entirely men, but that’s not a problem. She advised the students to know the respect they deserve and command that respect, just like they do at Sacred Heart, and regardless of the people in the room. Groden and Mellert also recommended that the students networks with Sacred Heart alumnae. Mellert says she owes her career choice to conversations she had with Sacred Heart alumnae, so she always recommends sending what seems at the time like an awkward email introduction. Groden closed the program by reminding the students that friendship, family, community, and their value systems will remain the most important components of being successful, no matter what careers they choose in the future.