For Pam Smith Viscione ’79 the word retirement connotes reduced activity and contribution, but that sure doesn’t describe her life since “retiring.” In fact, she’s busier than she ever was as a supply chain executive! After studying engineering at Princeton University at a time when there were few women and even fewer African-American women in the field, she began her 35-year career at Procter & Gamble. Now, in a new chapter of her life, Pam continues to take on new challenges and learning opportunities as she works on a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University (she recently earned her M.B.A. from Northern Kentucky University). She also helps her son with a new business start-up, manages family properties and plays on two tennis teams! Read on as Pam shares how her Laurel experience helped develop her ability to manage being the “other” in life situations and why it’s important to invest in relationships with people who are different from you.
A “Laurel Lifer,” Natasha Toth ’08 first honed her confidence and creativity at One Lyman Circle. As an Upper Schooler, she founded Tasha’s Totes, which provided her first exposure to running a brand and aligning her creative vision with the needs of her customers. Now a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s fibers program and a designer and textile artist, Natasha has designed apparel and accessories for Target and Garnet Hill. At Garnet Hill she helps shape their kids’ brand, including a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Read on to learn more about Natasha’s design process (it takes a year and a half to bring a product from concept to catalog!) and life in New Hampshire.
From leading companies to mountain expeditions, Ellen Brown Lapham ’61 doesn’t shy away from challenges. “Be self-reliant” but also “build your team wisely, as they are your lifeline” are lessons learned on Everest that also apply to Ellen’s work as a CEO and serial entrepreneur at a time when there were few women leading companies. Now a tireless advocate for environmental organizations, Ellen is committed to bringing together stakeholders—such as scientists and climbers through the American Climber Science Program and land managers from around the globe through the Sustainable Summits Initiative—to share the knowledge required for successful conservation work. Read on to learn more about this second-generation Laurel alumna (her mother and three aunts were also graduates!) who has taken the risk-taking skills learned at Lyman Circle and used them to better the world.
“The ideal artist is one who knows everything, feels everything, experiences everything and retains his or her experience in a spirit of wonder and feeds up on it with creative lust.” It is easy to see why this quote from painter George Bellows is a favorite of Fran Baker Bayless ’47. Fran reared her two daughters, Margaret Bayless ’74 and Nancy Bayless Cross ’77, and taught Kindergarten at Laurel for nearly twenty years before finding an outlet for her artistic dreams. A trip to Antarctica led her to discover her passion for wildlife photography and at the age of 62, Fran started studying at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Now in her ninth decade and still braving Antarctic temperatures for the perfect shot (see them at www.worldnaturephotos.net), Fran’s work has been featured in countless galleries and exhibitions. She has been a guest artist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, was the first female wildlife photographer to be published in Kodak’s professional magazine and is featured in Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s book How Jane Won: 55 Successful Women Share How They Grew from Ordinary Girls to Extraordinary Women. Read on to learn more about Fran’s adventures and head to The Federated Church’s art gallery (76 Bell Street, Chagrin Falls, OH) to view Fran’s work on display through the end of May.
Mekala Krishnan ’01 is a museum content designer whose goal is to highlight the shared human experience and spark inspiration and connections across time and space. As a public historian and interpreter working at exhibition design firm Thinc Design, she constantly asks, “How can I transport, inspire or surprise someone who came thinking she or he was going to be bored? How can I make a subject relevant and meaningful to their lives?” After gaining confidence in her voice at Laurel, Mekala pursued subjects she loved (thanks to Mme. Andre and Mr. Connell!) and followed her passions into a field she didn’t even know existed when she was a Laurel student. She encourages others to stay true to what they love and to take the path less traveled.
Julia Saltzman ’17 has only been away from Lyman Circle for two years and already she is making her mark on the scientific community at the University of Miami. An AP Environmental Science class at Laurel, coupled with speech and debate success (she competed in the National Tournament her Senior year) sparked Julia’s desire to impact science policy. As a research and media intern for the University of Miami’s Shark Research and Conservation program, she spends her weekends tagging and collecting data on wild sharks, an essential part of the marine ecosystem. In addition to fieldwork, Julia also does photography for the lab, which helps with outreach efforts to highlight the University’s work on shark immunology, stress physiology and conservation. Read on to find out more about Julia’s marine adventures!
“Don’t let the goal get in the way of the journey,” advises Jennifer Colville ’82, who admits that it took her awhile to take her own advice. Based in Amman, Jordan, Jennifer tackles development challenges in 18 countries and territories as Team Leader for Innovation, Arab States with the United Nations Development Programme. She credits Laurel for teaching her the value of teamwork, a skill she uses daily whether it is encouraging student entrepreneurs or working on multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural teams. Read on to learn more about Jennifer’s fascinating work.