Global Citizens: Making meaningful differences across the world
by Miller Wild Callen '94
Harpeth Hall educates young women to think beyond familiar boundaries by exploring diverse cultures, communities, and perspectives. Students learn that understanding complex global issues requires deep research, a critical lens, and unwavering empathy. With this framework for the future, the girls and young women at Harpeth Hall develop the skills and understanding necessary to make informed contributions and succeed in an increasingly connected global society. Then they launch into the world. On (nearly) every continent, (not to Antarctica … yet), Harpeth Hall alumnae are taking what they learned in school and using it to make a notable difference internationally. They are teachers, communicators, connectors, advocates, and financial experts. Let’s go global.
Amy Alderman ’78 lives in Mfuwe, Zambia, in southern Africa where she is the operations manager for The Bushcamp Company. In Zambia’s iconic South Luangwa National Park, the company operates six exclusive bushcamps in the remote south of the park, as well as the award-winning Mfuwe Lodge — which is best known for the elephants that walk right through the reception area. These secluded, intimate camps offer an unrivaled wildlife experience in one of the last unspoilt wilderness regions in Africa. Ms. Alderman’s journey across the world began in 2009 when she visited Zambia on holiday and was “bitten by the Africa bug.” Six months later, she left her career as an attorney (she worked for the Navajo Nation for 20 years in the Office of the Navajo Tax Commission in Arizona) for a six-month stint running one of the six bushcamps. The move quickly became permanent as she fell in love with Africa, and she has now lived at Mfuwe Lodge for 13 years, working in reservations and now bushcamp operations, as well as managing the social media presence for the company and doing some marketing. The lodge was voted as one of the top 100 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure, and Ms. Alderman often gets the opportunity to meet many of the interesting and distinguished guests, including Gloria Steinem. Ms. Alderman is also involved in the company's conservation efforts and community programs.
I firmly believe that my Harpeth Hall years had a huge impact on the choices I have made in my life. Starting with my AFS Domestic Exchange to Byron, Wyoming, with Mary Phil Hamilton Illges ’78 during Winterim when we were juniors, my Harpeth Hall years taught me that useful growth often means stepping outside your comfort zone. Moving to a different continent and changing careers at age 49 is one way to get pretty far outside your comfort zone, but there are many other paths, and the faculty and friends from my Harpeth Hall days are all great role models in this area. — Amy Alderman ’78
Reed Harrison Nirula ’00 lives in Panjim, located in India’s North Goa district. She was most recently head of development for Andolan Films in Bombay, where she developed and produced content for films, television, and the OTT streaming services platform (Amazon Prime and Netflix) for the Indian market. One of her career highlights was being cast as a presenter for a National Geographic show on wildlife rescue, an opportunity that arose in connection with Wildlife SOS, an NGO she and her husband, Arjun, support. Filming included the annual exam of a Bengal tiger named Jowarah. “Even when sleeping, you can imagine how majestic he was,” Ms. Nirula recalled. “I would never feel comfortable touching a tiger in any exploitative scenario, so the chance to be so close to one in a supporting capacity was really special.” Ms. Nirula also co-founded the Literary Foundation of India and serves on the boards of Wildlife SOS and the Nirula Family Art Trust based out of New Delhi. She credits Harpeth Hall for nurturing her enduring curiosity about the world and says her education provided foundational communication, writing, and analysis skills that helped her become versatile in expressing her competence across a variety of business verticals. Ms. Nirula is currently taking time off from the corporate world to be home with her daughter, Rumi.
Living abroad gives you a well-rounded perspective on the U.S., the global community beyond, and what life on this planet is like for much of the world. It is not an easy path, but you can stand firm in the hard-won truth the experience yields. ‘Satisfying my head’ is important to me, and this is undoubtedly one way to do that. —Reed Harrison Nirula ’00
Betsy Daugherty Pie ’76 has lived on the Australian continent since 1985, originally settling in Brisbane. She worked in public relations and communications at The Queensland Art Gallery and 1988 World Expo, followed by an 11-year stint as public relations manager for the Brisbane Hilton. In 2000, Ms. Pie moved to Melbourne and launched Betsy Pie International Communications, a boutique international travel and lifestyle public relations firm for the tourism, travel, hotels and resorts, food and wine, design, and lifestyle sectors. She offers personalized hands-on service to a small and enviable portfolio of internationally acclaimed clients who are leaders in their respective industries and geographic locations, including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and the U.S. She also maintains a strategic alliance with Petrie PR, an Asia-based PR and digital agency. Together, they cultivate and drive relationships and digital content with the most influential media partners and key opinion leaders across mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Ms. Pie said she honed her social skills and made lifelong friends at Harpeth Hall, in addition to receiving a good education. This grounding was instrumental in building an international communications reach and a global network that she utilizes to deliver results and grow businesses.
The best part of living abroad is that you are able to look at the world from more than one perspective. While I have had to work hard and travel a lot to maintain all my U.S. friendships, I feel I have two full lives rather than one
Swimming legend Tracy Caulkins Stockwell ’81 lives in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia, where she is a highly respected sports administrator. In 2022, she was named president of Swimming Australia, after serving on its board of directors beginning in 2016. Swimming Australia is the peak governing body for swimming in Australia, with nearly 1,000 clubs and 90,000 registered members nationally. She is the second female president in the organization’s history. Her appointment followed her federal government nomination to join the Board of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (BOCOG). After her remarkable swimming career, Ms. Stockwell began her professional career with the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS), where she worked for two years before assisting in the establishment and operation of several family businesses, including Splash Leisure. She is a founding member and past president of Womensport Queensland, has served on the Board of Queensland Events Corporation and as chair of the Queensland Academy of Sport, as well as being a former member of both the Queensland Advisory Board for Women and Brisbane City Council Sports Advisory Board. She is also a current member of the Advisory Council for The Committee for Brisbane. Ms. Stockwell is regarded as the greatest American swimmer of her time. When she was a 15 year-old Harpeth Hall student, she won five gold medals and a silver at the 1978 World Championships in Berlin and became the youngest winner of the AAU’s Sullivan Award as the United States’ top amateur athlete. She won three Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 48 U.S. National titles, after missing the 1980 games due to the United States boycott of Moscow. She is a member of the Olympic Hall of Fame, Swimming Hall of Fame, and Harpeth Hall/ Ward-Belmont Athletic Hall of Fame. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to sport as an administrator and proponent of sporting opportunities for women.
Swimming has played such an important role in my life, and I feel privileged to take on a role that will empower me to give something back to the sport that has provided me with so many opportunities. —Tracy Caulkins Stockwell ’81 as told to Swimming World magazine
Carrie Oliver ’90 lives and works in London during the week. Weekends are spent in France — in Paris or on “the farm” in Normandy with her horses, donkeys, chickens, cats, and dog. Ms. Oliver started her career on Wall Street before transitioning to management consulting after getting her MBA at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. She has more than 25 years of international experience, having worked with a number of private and public sector clients in the U.K. and U.S. She returned to the financial industry in 2021 and is currently a managing director at Deutsche Bank in the chief transformation office. Ms. Oliver worked for a minister of Parliament in London for Winterim her senior year, which is when she knew she wanted to live and work in London one day. Her favorite thing about living abroad is being exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking.
It is hard to believe that I have been in Europe for 20 years as it all started with a six-month assignment in London. There has been a lot of sweat over that time but also a lot of fun—and some unique opportunities such as getting to try on a ‘bearskin’ when I did some work for the Ministry of Defense. —Carrie Oliver ’90
Meade Wills ’12 lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where she works for Amazon Web Services (AWS). As an enterprise account manager, she supports a global $13-billion semiconductor client with offices throughout the world. Ms. Wills joined Amazon’s MBA rotational program in 2021 after receiving her MBA from INSEAD in France/Singapore. She began her career on the Amazon Netherlands team, helping vendors sell on the marketplace before switching to AWS. Through her work, she has traveled extensively across Europe and in India. Ms. Wills was a Latin scholar at Harpeth Hall, a language she deems “insightful” and “great for your vocabulary.” She also wanted to pursue a spoken language. After her sophomore year, she studied abroad in Jordan with Columbia University, where she delved into Middle Eastern studies. When she returned for her junior year, her Latin teacher, Benny Abraham, encouraged her to pursue her interest further and apply for a state department grant to study Arabic through National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) in Morocco. From there, she studies Arabic in college at the University of Texas at Austin, and she is now fluent. Although Ms. Wills does not utilize Arabic in her current job, she is forever grateful to Mr. Abraham and Harpeth Hall for pushing her to see more of the world, to widen her viewpoint, and to learn diversity from other points of view.
Living abroad has pushed me to understand ‘why’ people around me have different views from the status quo as I know it and to work to understand those perspectives. Because of this, I can formulate my own thoughts. I can see myself and my perspectives changing constantly, and I love that. — Meade Wills ’12
Marla Mazer ’96 lives in Toronto in Ontario, Canada, where she works as manager of international programs for The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). In her role, she contributed to the development and implementation of a new two-year dual certificate program for international students to study at the school. Her responsibilities include program development, evaluation, budgeting, student support, and advising. Passionate about learning languages, Ms. Mazer studied French up to the AP level at Harpeth Hall and went to France for Winterim her senior year. After a series of bombings in Paris in the months leading up to the trip, the Winterim group’s scheduled week in the City of Light was canceled. Instead, they traveled to Normandy, where they saw sites that they likely would have never visited on their own. “It was a good lesson that the world is an unpredictable place,” Ms. Mazer said. “Itineraries may need to be changed or canceled, and there are many incredible experiences beyond the obvious popular tourist destinations.” For Ms. Mazer, the past five years have been an exciting time to work in international education in Canada, which has seen consistent growth in the last 10 years as one of the most preferred destinations for international students. Canada is known for its high-quality education, work opportunities after graduation, and immigration policies that favor applicants who have studied in Canada. “It has been very rewarding to work with international students,” Ms. Mazer said, “and I now have a much better understanding of the challenges that they face making a new life in a new country.”
Living abroad as a parent is very rewarding because you experience your new country more fully by being exposed to the education system, celebrations, and history. Having a child in school here really helps to integrate faster and gain exposure to a typical Canadian childhood. I also love the multicultural environment of Toronto, which is considered the most diverse city in the world. I have made friends from many other countries, and the variety of food and cultural events in Toronto is incredible. — Marla Mazer ’96
Isabel Kennon ’15 credits her experiences in South America for launching her on her current public policy path. As a Spanish student at Harpeth Hall, Ms. Kennon traveled to Argentina during Winterim, a trip that improved her Spanish language skills and provided an immersive cultural experience that quickly normalized Latin American food and lifestyles. She pursued degrees in Spanish and Latin American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and she returned to South America, first to Peru and then to Santiago, Chile, to work on her senior thesis. Driven by her interest in neighborhood dynamics and stories, Ms. Kennon began examining the state of public housing policies in Santiago. “A single block in Santiago would have a lot with manmade, corrugated-metal homes, next to a brand-new fancy museum,” she said. “I'd noticed this spatial proximity of wealth the summer before in Peru, and four years prior when in Argentina for Winterim.” Through connections with her host mother, Ms. Kennon interviewed women in two of Santiago's public housing neighborhoods about community and crime. Those interviews became the basis of her senior thesis, which led her to further study public housing policies and opened up the wide world of public policy. After college, Ms. Kennon interned at a Latin American policy firm in Washington, D.C., then decided to take her knowledge of Latin American policies to work on domestic issues at the community level. She now lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she will soon complete her Master of Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She works with the Illinois Justice Project, assisting with projects on incarceration and reentry, specifically reentry housing, as well as juvenile justice and other areas of criminal justice reform. Along with five fellow Harpeth Hall alumnae, Ms. Kennon also runs the Abolish Prison Slavery project that aims to humanize people in the criminal justice system and works to build support for abolishing the 13th amendment loophole allowing slavery to continue "as punishment for a crime." Ms. Kennon has hiked extensively in Patagonia and the remote Easter Island. She will hike the Camino de Santiago, which she first learned about in and has wanted to hike since Senora Allen’s Spanish 5 class.
The best part of living abroad is getting to explore new places and bring new perspectives back to my own home. . . . Taking Spanish at Harpeth Hall really helped show other cultures and ways of life in a pretty normal way. It also gave me confidence that knowing Spanish would be really useful, and it was. I got three jobs after college from knowing Spanish. — Isabel Kennon ’15