Hockadaisies Plant Seeds All Over the World

Hockadaisies Plant Seeds All Over the World

Spread across the world, Hockaday’s approximately 6,500 alumnae have made the school a global institution. Director of Alumnae Relations Amy Spence sees how Hockaday has prepared students to succeed on a global scale. “Hockaday women have the confidence to take risks in life and try things they might not normally do,” Spence said. “There are no opportunities in the world that are too big or small for alumnae to pursue.”

 ALUMNAE TAKE ON THE GLOBE Numbers represent number of alumnae living in each country. GRAPHIC BY MANISH RATAKONDA
ALUMNAE TAKE ON THE GLOBE Numbers represent number of alumnae living in each country. GRAPHIC BY MANISH RATAKONDA

 

Ailsa Miller ‘04

London, England

Living in London is not Ailsa Mill­er’s first experience living abroad. In fact, Miller moved to Dallas from Scotland and entered Hocka­day as a fifth grader in 1996. She then be­came a boarder after her parents moved to London during her sophomore year.

After graduating in 2004, she at­tended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she studied Inter­national Relations and Russian Foreign Policy, and, although not indicated by her study choices, began to pursue a ca­reer in journalism.

“I knew I wanted to work in maga­zines or newspapers, and my brother, who works for the BBC, recommended international relations [instead of] journalism, as it’s more highly regarded in the U.K.,” Miller said.

After starting with an unpaid intern­ship at Tatler, a British fashion and life­style magazine owned by Conde Nast, the company who also owns Vogue and GQ, Miller worked her way up the company to her current position: Fashion Associate.

“Everything!” Miller said, in regards to the differences between Dallas and London. “The weather; the fact that a lot of my London friends have never learned to drive; the fact that we don’t have Target over here. They have just opened a Chipotle, though.”

Miller believes that her experiences at Hockaday, especially as a boarder, prepared her well for living abroad.

“I felt fully capable of living alone and far away by the time I got to college,” Miller said. “At Hockaday, we are all taught to think and act independently.”

Not only does she feel this way, but Miller’s colleagues have noticed this as well.

“I actually brought my boss to Hockaday when we were in Mexico for a shoot and had a layover in Dallas, and she was blown away by it,” Miller said. “She said that she could tell instantly that my independent way of thinking and confidence at work was something that was instilled in me by the school from a young age.”

Mariana Pickering ‘00

Cavriago, Italy

Although Mariana Pickering is now living over 5,000 miles away from Dallas, Hockaday has al­ways been a large part of her life.

“I was a “lifer” in every sense of the word. My mom, Mrs. Camp, the Head of the World Languages Department [World Language Department Chair Lisa Camp], brought me around even when I was an infant,” Pickering said. “So you could say I was kind of born into Hockaday.”

After 14 years at Hockaday, Picker­ing graduated in 2000. She went to un­dergraduate school at the Architecture School at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, spent a couple of years in Los Angeles and then went on to pursue her master’s degree in Architectural Science in Sustainable Design at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Before moving to Australia and later Italy, Pickering was no stranger to inter­national travel.

“I had studied abroad in Copenha­gen and Florence when I was in college, and I travelled a lot every summer,” Pick­ering said.

While in Sydney, Pickering met her husband, also an architect, who sug­gested that she join him in returning to his hometown in northern Italy after they completed their studies. She took his offer.

Six years ago, the couple opened Emu Architetti, an architectural design and consulting firm.

Pickering, who calls herself a “Texpat,” meaning an American expatriate from Texas, has used her time in Italy to explore.

“I think what’s great about living in Europe in general is that you can see a whole range of cultures without travel­ing very far. I can spend a weekend in Paris, another in Prague, or I can even get a completely different Italian experience by heading down south for a few days,” Pickering said.

For many, living in another country could be daunting, but that is one of Pick­ering’s favorite parts about living in Italy.

“It is very, very challenging to live in another country, and I’m someone who needs to have that challenge,” Pickering said. “There is always something to test your ability to adapt.”

Hockaday lifer Joan Gass has lived in India, Tunisia, Uganda and, more recently, Lagos, Nigeria.

Gass, who graduated from Yale University, double-majored in In­ternational Development and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. After graduation, she decided to live abroad in order to use her development skills internationally.

Joan Gass ‘08

Lagos, Nigeria

Now, living in Nigeria and working for Bain and Company, a management consulting firm, she is helping a Nige­rian bank reach out to potential custom­ers, especially those who may not be fa­miliar with formal banking.

She focused her career path on Sub- Saharan Africa because of her aim for social justice.

“We have enough resources in the world to ensure that every child has an education and enough food to alleviate extreme hunger,” Gass said.

Moving to a foreign country re­quires a lot of adapting — something Gass has learned to do.

“I think a lot of expats come into a country with ‘their way’ or ‘the right way,’ but if there’s not a deep understanding of the cultural context or local leadership, efforts will be futile,” she said.

While living abroad, Gass has en­joyed meeting inspirational leaders in the communities.

“Whether it’s LGBT activists in Uganda or youth leading grassroots edu­cation projects, their commitment and the visible transformation they make is incredibly energizing,” she said.

Gass attributes some of her experi­ences at Hockaday as motivators that led her to work in Africa.

“Through the Hockaday debate team, our coach encouraged me to ex­plore the question of how much privi­lege I received through the ‘lottery of birth,’ and the corresponding and even more difficult question of how to ethi­cally act on that privilege,” Gass said. “For me, the international exposure at Hock­aday, combined [with] an emphasis on critical self-reflection, has fundamen­tally shaped who I am.”

– Megan Philips