Alumnae Share Their Professional Journeys During Career Day Workshops, Part 2

During Reunion 2021 Career Day, eight alumnae offered students opportunities to hear, and ask questions, about their education and career journeys. Last week we shared the career journeys of Patia Fann ’16, Adela Griswold ’06, Caitlin Lighthouse ’06, and Flora Theden ’07. 

Following are highlights from the remaining alumnae who participated.
Wendy Arundel ’80
Professional Organizer
Wendy grew up on a 1000-acre farm with an 8000sf home in The Plains with her parents, all her siblings, and a veritable menagerie of animals. It was a great childhood. After graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine and several disparate careers, including equestrian Olympian, riding instructor, and journalist, and even more moves around the country, she settled in Natick, MA, where she lives today in a much smaller 700sf home on a tenth of an acre. As she says, “Happy is within. Wherever you are, there you are.” While her proudest accomplishment is her two children, next is the career that she has pursued since 2005 — professional organizer. Her clients need her help to break through emotional clutter blocks so that they can live a more mindful life in an organized space. She helps them recognize the reasons they are clinging to things, whether it is sentiment, guilt, or fear of being wasteful. She looks at each job as an archeological dig of sorts, seeking the nuggets of gold in the clutter. Clients also benefit from Wendy’s vast knowledge of how best to dispose of or recycle virtually any item — what can be donated and where, what can be recycled, even how to think about your shopping habits so you can avoid adding new clutter to your living space. Her parting words of wisdom for the girls were, “The place you go home to should not be an orphanage for stuff you never use.” 

Margaret ‘Meg’ Midyette Barber ’00
National Security
Meg Barber is a national security researcher in the Joint Advanced Warfighting Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a US Department of Defense Federally Funded Research and Development Center. For over 10 years, she has helped tackle some of the nation's most pressing national security concerns. Due to the sensitive nature of her work, we did not record her sessions, but they were full to the brim with current Foxcroft students who were excited to learn all about Meg’s career analyzing trends in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, evaluating current Department of Defense policy and guidance for security cooperation programs and activities, and Red Teaming the Secretary of Defense's National Defense Strategy. (If you were there, you know what that means!)

Claire Foster ’01
Healthcare Manager
After graduating from Foxcroft in 2001, Claire took a gap year to participate in a semester at sea and then intern for Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf, eventually enrolling at the University of Colorado at Boulder and earning a degree in political science fully expecting to work in Washington, DC or New York. But after some soul searching, realized that wasn’t what she wanted and instead moved to Wilmington, NC. After a brief stint as a realtor, a friend at Maxim Healthcare Group encouraged her to apply there. Starting at an entry-level position she grabbed every opportunity to learn and was promoted quickly; seven roles in seven years. But the path was not always smooth and she notes that her journey included the challenges that many women face as they progress in their careers, from being hushed at the conference table and told that she was too emotional to navigating unwanted attention and bias. Still, she worked hard ultimately earning an MBA from Wake Forest University. Today she leads more than 500 people across the country as the National Director of Field Support at Maxim. She implored students to “give yourself the grace to explore, to change your mind, to make mistakes. Trust your instincts.” And her final piece of advice, applicable to both our professional and personal lives, was to “never make a decision out of fear. You are stronger, smarter, and more capable than that. You do not need to be reactionary. You can be in your centered, solid self, and make an informed decision.”

Lisa Lowman ’87
Fashion Designer 
A two-week summer program at Parsons School of Design after her junior year at Foxcroft crystallized fashion design as the creative field for Lisa. She went on to Pratt Institute and upon graduation, hit the pavement with an old-school portfolio, landing a job at Liz Claiborne. Even though this women’s workwear company was not really her personal style, Lisa’s hand was the first one up for any opportunity throughout her 11 years there, even golf designer — "I don't know anything about golf, but I’m going to do this. I'm going to like any opportunity I'm in." She calls her time at Liz Claiborne her master’s degree in fashion, and it set her up for a stint in Milan at Versace, where she learned about the different creative muscles in her head. The Versace position required her "to use a very different creative muscle." That experience was followed by an invitation to return to Liz to build their new brand, Lucky. Then, to her current position at Hollister six years ago, where she discovered that she thrives on having a roadmap, a strategy, and architecture as a designer. When she arrived at Hollister, she had to excavate that DNA and rebuild the brand as well as nurture, mentor, and bring back the confidence of the designers who are all still with her today.
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.