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Monday, July 18, 2011

Meet My Family

As a native-bred northerner, I think it’s fair to say that my parents were a little worried about me traveling alone one thousand miles in to the land of the peaches. However after almost a year away from home, I have a confession to make. Though I temporarily left one family of four, I walked straight into the arms of another a mere 28 members larger.

I know you’ve met them through their hard work on all of the programs that make up the Emory Alumni Association. But like all families, I bet there’s a side you don’t know yet. Let me introduce you.

If I could wave a magic wand and turn someone in to the big sister I never had, I would choose Drew Dotson. I think I’d fill the little-sister role perfectly as I already fill the only criteria for the job: I want to be her. From her sense of humor to her unique ability to take 50 of your words and say them better in five, you name it, I’m officially jealous.

And while we’re on the topic of people I want to be, if I could have even an ounce of the organization and sweet nature the Fiona Reidl embodies or the hospitality that comes with Carey Smith-Marchi 09C I’d be beyond incredibly lucky, though it’s really Kelley Quinn’s concentration I’m after. How she manages to get anything done with the amount of giggling, story telling, and racing that goes on right outside her office door (guilty…) and still manages it with a smile I’ll never know.

If that magic wand came with a fairy godmother, a lot more about my life would make sense, as I decided a long time ago that Charlene Hyman is a guardian angel in disguise. I turn away for a minute and popcorn, brownies, cake, jokes, compliments, smiles, and Emory paraphernalia (you name it) pop up in front of me out of the blue! I think its safe to say she’s magic.

Michael Parker and Shawn Scott 09T have reassured me that its perfectly socially acceptable to hold on to certain parts of childhood, such as frequenting Disney Land annually or jumping up and down in the hallway screaming in excitement over a new toy (Ipad2 anyone?). Also, I swear on my life that if you’ve never indulged in at least one bite of Valrie Thompson’s I’m-pretending-to-be-cake-but-I’m-really-a-slice-of-heaven-in-a-dish creations, you haven’t lived.

I admit it, Ariane Fitch intimidates me in a big way. As managing this blog is one of my summer projects, one of the first days on the job I was responsible for uploading her witty blog post on the Boston Leadership Conference. It took me three days to write my first contribution (a one paragraph spotlight) because I was so nervous about trying to meet the precedent she had set. I’m still working on that one.

I don’t know how Laura Weekly and Kate Gregory have figured out a way of getting paid to party but it’s pretty unfair. And genius. Though I’m glad that I have this blog as an excuse to go out and see some of their plans in action, I’m still waiting for the day when I find an excuse to travel with them, (hello…official nametag ripper?) Then again I have a feeling that those evenings wouldn’t be nearly as fun without the life and personality these two incredible women bring to their events…

Please don’t tell anyone, but I have secret plans to sneak on to every single trip that Allie Hill has organized over seas next year (I assure you I’m not joking.)Though on the topic of inventing excuses, a lot of the time I’ll take the long way somewhere and walk through the upstairs hallways just so I can jam out to Chardina Choate’s radio, and if I’m lucky overhear one of her jokes. On my way back down the stairs I have to admit that I’ll always pop in and make up something to ask Jule Taylor just so I can slip my most embarrassing office questions in to the conversation (my all-time superstar moment: “Jule how do you dial an extension?!”). She may be the only person I know who makes me feel better when she makes fun of me because her laughter is so incredibly contagious…

If the world were to end tomorrow, we would all be in the absolute best hands possible with Martha Fagan, Carolyn Bregman 82L, and Leslie Wingate 82C in the building. These three women anchor the entire staff with their smiles, wealth of experiences, and voices of reason.

I want to thank Tom Brodnax from the bottom of my heart for giving me such a different perspective on both this city and the world. From hiking trails to new and intriguing ice cream flavors, Tom has the incredible talent of making you stop and pay attention to amazing details that you overlook everyday. And while I’m speaking of the end of the world and incredible knowledge bases, I’m pretty sure our world here at the EAA would end if Frances Stanfield just didn’t show up one day.

Our other two summer interns, Dylan Jackson 14C and Ben Weinstein, are the reasons why I want to come in early and leave work late. Dylan has the unique capability of turning your entire day around with a simple smile or joke, while Ben embodies the word reliability both as a friend and an unbelievable project manager.

There is only one word in the English language that I could possibly use to describe Jennifer Crabb 98Ox 00C and that word is superwoman. People need things from her 24/7, and yet she still goes completely out of her way to give to others beyond the incredible amount that is required from her. There is absolutely nothing in this woman’s heart but kindness.

Miles Cliatt is honestly the most patient person I have ever met. With a mountain to do since the minute he started, he quietly stays here until all hours until the job is done and asks questions until he has all the answers. And speaking of close to effortless transitions, Carol So has amazed me with how gracefully and thoroughly she’s stepped up to the plate. Mea culpa, I was expecting to really not like her as her start date meant I had to snap back to reality and return to my cubicle after a month or so of playing office and feeling important. With anyone else it might have taken quite a bit to win me over…

Missy Rodil and Tania Dowdy 08Ox 10C are two of those rare people who you know that you can genuinely trust with anything. They will always, without fail, go out of their way to help you with anything and everything. The amount of patience and kindness they have put together seriously make me wonder if there’s any left for the rest of us.

I have never met anyone who can tackle problems so thoroughly, patiently, and brilliantly as Stacey Gall. No matter how trivial or pressing the inquiry she gives each the same level of careful thought and attention. I am also completely amazed at Sarah Cook’s ability to keep a discussion on topic (though admittedly staff meetings did get a lot more productive after she discovered our love to free food from Willies and our tendencies to trade tangents for tacos in its presence.)

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but all I knew about Allison Dykes was from books, pictures, and letters from her sprinkled all over the house. I have to say though the confident, eloquent, and welcoming voice from her writing was only better in person…

After an entire school year of working for her, I’ve yet to see Gloria Grevas at rest. And yet she’s never too busy to check on you and get the details of how things are really going. And how Veronica Roman 09Ox 11C is always smiling and so friendly when I know the unbelievable daily to-do-list she has I honestly can’t tell you.

So there you have it, Mom and Dad. You’ve left me in good hands among a plethora of genuinely kind, beautiful, and wonderful people. By the way, the truth behind why I’m always one of the last ones in the building at night? I can honestly say I don’t really feel like leaving.
-- Liz Speyer, communications intern, EAA


  1. Liz, I love this blog post!! You did such a great post! Aw, now I miss everyone!