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Career Day reveals a breadth of future opportunities

Students listen to Harpeth Hall alumnae share professional stories and advice during Career Day 2022.

In the high-stakes, male-dominated field of investment management, Deena Raja ‘93 began her career dodging chairs tossed across the room and insults hurled her way. But her time at Harpeth Hall taught her how to be forceful and stand up for herself.

“My leadership skills really started here at Harpeth Hall,” said Ms. Raja, who in her role as a portfolio manager now oversees $4.3 billion in fixed-income assets for a woman-owned firm. “If it were not for my time here, I wouldn’t be able to be tough and be successful.”

Ms. Raja was one of more than 40 Harpeth Hall alumnae who had upper school students on the edge of their seats during the annual Career Day as the alumnae shared personal experiences about college pursuits, their journey through career paths, and the many lessons they learned along the way.

From stories about celebrating alongside individuals as they become U.S. citizens to starting daily medical rounds by monitoring infants struggling to breathe, upper school students were exposed to the breadth and depth of the career opportunities that await them.



“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. In searching for my career, I always followed what was real for me, and when I started, there was no path already created in my field. Stay connected to what you enjoy and what you feel is right for you, and your path will unfold as it should.”

Amanda Wentworth ‘98, yoga therapist at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center


“When you get to college, use internships and job shadowing to get exposure to career opportunities. Bringing studying and work experience together while you are in school can pull things together for you early in your career.”

— Ellen Fuson ‘02, architect at Gresham Smith


“You can’t lead people if they don’t trust you, and one of the ways you lead people is to get to know them as a person first.”

— Ryan McLaughlin Wood ‘05, market head for UBS Financial Services


“At Harpeth Hall, they really teach you to speak up and invoke change in your own way, and that sets you apart. We are all one step up, because Harpeth Hall prepared us in that way. Go out and use those skills so that you can set yourself above other candidates.”

— Molly McConnell ‘14, junior developer for


“Your voice and your opinion matter. If you see something not being done right, you have every right to step in and communicate. Find the ground you want to stand on.”

— Ann Francis Garvey ‘09, consultant for Ancore Health


"It’s important to have not just one mentor but many mentors. You should think about your strengths and your areas of growth and find a mentor who is your expander. Someone who fills in your weaknesses and serves as a guide for you.”

— Kate Berry '00, senior project manager in the department of special education at the University of Texas Austin


“Working in a male-dominated industry, I think I made a lot of mistakes trying to blend in and act like a guy. It wasn’t me. You don’t have to do that. You can be a woman, be yourself, and be good at your job.”

— Annie Baron Flanagin ‘99, chief operations officer for Baron Construction LLC


“Learn to delegate and empower others. It’s harder to learn than you may think, but it’s very valuable.”

— Emily Manning ‘08, national security advisory for Sen. Marsha Blackburn


“It’s always nice to have someone you can trust and ask the hard questions to. Once you find that person, hold onto them.”

— Kaitlin Ray ‘07, assistant program director and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center


“In my job, helping people is the daily inspiration. You're not just solving the medical problems, you’re solving situations, and that sustains me.”

— Kim Bueno Frigon ‘84, pediatric and neonatal hospitalist for Pediatrix Medical Group

Harpeth Hall alumnae share professional stories and advice during Career Day 2022