Holly White HAPA ’12, “Truth over harmony… It never gets old, and it is always the best way through the muck.”

Holly White HAPA '12

We had the pleasure of catching up with HAPA Holly White, mother of Bryant Willing White (Woodstock 2012). Holly is the quintessential embodiment of what a Hyde School HAPA should be. Below Holly talks about everything from her career path to advice for fellow HAPA. Thank you, Holly, for your time and continued commitment!

Describe your career path.

I describe myself as a lucky explorer and expander of career opportunities. To be honest I am never certain I am doing exactly what I would be best at, and as such, have a keen eye out for a better way to leave my mark.  I was an average student and flew under the radar on all fronts.  I learned to be observant, nimble, and deliberate. But the icing on my career path was my competitive spirit.

Looking back now, the highlights are the glorious and generous mentors of my early years, and now my true partners and best of all, my precious mentees. I have been drawn to some, and others have sought me out… and together the combinations have made my journey rich in experience.

My first job out of college with the Muscular Dystrophy Association working with families impacted by neuromuscular disease, gave me my first taste of the impact of successful fundraising programs. I saw the money at work, serving families in need. Next stop was a fundraising agency, with great clients and also 80 hour weeks and oodles of creative energy and tactical elements that suited my personality. All great until I added “family” to my lexicon, and needed to get unconventional. For the next 18 years I worked from a home office (revolutionary at the time), and created a fundraising division under the roof of a great printing company serving dozens of nonprofits trying to get their message out. And for the last 13, as a key stakeholder at a project management firm serving the fundraising community. All whilst trying to balance family and other priorities.

Someone asked me recently “what are you proudest of in your career?” to which I answered without hesitation “I am proud of the way I crafted my employment arrangements in ways that suited my priorities …. Family and my own sense of fulfillment, growth and contribution”.

Which word or principle has stayed with you the most?

Truth over harmony… It never gets old, and it is always the best way through the muck.

Which teacher(s) had a particular impact?  

On me…

  • Pam Hardy – for her “tough love” and persistent search for the “heart of the matter”
  • Mark Duethorn – for his magnificence – in tribulation – in despair – and in the moments of truth and truce!
  • Kevin Folan – for circling back time after time to check on the White’s
  • Susie Racine – for her ever-present faith in Bryant

What advice might you give to a fellow HAPA?

To the Newly Inducted HAPA – treat yourself to seeing how far you have come by attending a regional meeting, or by signing up for SFW or FFW. You might be astonished when you see the next class of parents standing in your old shoes. You will be able to share your learnings, and in doing so, give them the resolve and support and tools along the way.

To the Reluctant HAPA – Take a sabbatical if you need one, but circle back because there is a genuineness in the experiences of all who studied at Hyde that helps keep the culture true to its commitment.

To the Veteran HAPA – Reconnect with someone you knew from your time at Hyde that you have lost touch with.  A parent, a faculty member, or a student. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to pick up where you left off.

Above all, be proud of YOUR diploma.


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