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July 25, 2016 40 Under Forty 2016

Liz Schmitt

Liz Schmitt Liz Schmitt
Liz Schmitt pictured with her father and siblings, who she said have taught her the most important lesson in life: to thrive and flourish requires endurance, agility, resilience, strength, optimism, the ability to find meaning, and more than anything, connection to one another.
Liz Schmitt and her husband and step-daughters (Brendon, Natalia, and Isabella Welker) served as a host family for an international student from Mexico who was studying at Porter's for the year.

Age: 38

Company: Miss Porter's School

Title: Chief Enrollment and Student Affairs Officer

Town where I live: Farmington

Town where I work: Farmington

College: Union College (Bachelor's), University of Pennsylvania (Master's)

Q&A:

What do you do and what are your goals in your current job? I oversee admissions and student life at Miss Porter's School, and I seek to ensure the consistency and quality of the student experience from entry through graduation. In my work, I focus on leadership, culture and community, and inspiring a shared vision for the school's success.

What are your goals for your community involvement? By further developing Porter's Leads, my aim is to inspire girls to become comfortable with their own personal power. We offer various workshops to girls in grades five through nine, providing them with the leadership competencies and confidence necessary to shape their worlds — and our world.

What's your biggest passion? Education. I believe schools have the power to shape the lives of students. I also believe, as Parker Palmer wrote, 'Good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.' Good schools come from the identity and integrity of their educators.

What are your future aspirations? Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, 'At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.' For now, I am practicing contentment. I derive great joy and challenge from my work, and I am investing in my new family — my husband, two step-daughters, and a labradoodle.

What needs to happen for Hartford to become a more vibrant city where people work, live and play? Vibrant cities have vibrant educational systems — from public schools to charter and magnet schools to independent schools. To achieve the vitality it seeks, Hartford must invest in its schools and its educators. Paired with a jobs program and parent workshops, high-quality schooling (especially in early childhood) has the potential to break the cycle of poverty.

List four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty:

Founded Porter's Leads, a leadership program for middle-school girls.

Champion girls' education as a member of the board of trustees of the National Coalition of Girls' Schools.

Serve as a member of the board of directors of the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals.

Advocate for boarding schools as a member of the executive committee for an outreach and marketing initiative with The Association of Boarding Schools.

Time Tested:

What personal possession in your life has withstood the test of time? I have two rings — one was my grandmother's and the other was my great-grandmother's, which my mother also wore. The rings remind me of the lives lived and lost and the legacy of strong women I am proud to be a part of.

What hobby did you develop at a young age that you still enjoy today? I love to read, to lose myself in stories, to reflect on the pure poetry of others.

Twenty years ago, what did you envision as your future profession? I dreamed of joining the Peace Corps, working in corporate America and everything in between.

Who do you consider your mentor? Kate Windsor, Head of School, Miss Porter's School

See the complete list of Forty Under 40 Winners for 2016! 

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