Eighth Graders Network with Holton Alumnae
Holton eighth graders participated in Make Your Way Day, an inspiring event where Holton alumnae come back to campus – both virtually and in-person this year – to share about their lives after Holton and show the wide range of career opportunities and paths that await students after graduation.
Speakers ranged from everything from small business ownership to the intelligence community to international environmental law, and many more. Groups of students heard from three speakers, then networked with alumnae to practice asking good questions, initiating conversation, and answering questions.
Sejal Makheja ‘17 shared about her journey to start her commercial real estate private equity firm while she was still in college.
“There were so many opportunities along the way for me to quit,” she said. “What I hope for you all is that you find something in your life that makes you that relentless, something where you are willing to risk everything – your time, your sleep, you’re willing to go against what everybody else is saying, because you really believe in yourself and you believe in what you want to do.”
The event also served as the kickstart of the 8th grade Capstone design project, in which students learn what it means to have a voice, to effect meaningful change, and how to build their network to support their efforts.
Throughout the year, students will be designing and implementing their own project and investigating a topic they find interesting. They were designed to complement the classroom curriculum and help students further cultivate the skills, competencies, and habits of mind to thrive and be changemakers in the world.
Thank you to the alumnae who gave their time for this important event! See more photos of the day on Vidigami.
Alexa Adams ‘98
Alexa Adams’s career is highlighted by leadership roles that exemplify the combination of creativity and new technical development in design, fabrication, and construction. She spent the earlier years of her career working under the direction of Helmut Lang where she held the title of Women’s Designer. Subsequently she became the Women’s Design Director at Karl Lagerfeld. Adams then spent 9 years as the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Ohne Titel, where she had a key interest in the use of technology and craft to create personalized fabrics with unique volumes and surfaces to designs. In 2009, Ohne Titel received the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for womenswear and was a finalist in the 2009 and 2011 CFDA /Vogue Fashion Fund Awards. After closing Ohne Titel, Alexa began consulting for a range of contemporary and performance brands such as Nike on projects empowering athletes with disabilities. In 2017 she joined ALALA as Creative Director and led the team until April 2020.
As the result of the coronavirus pandemic, Alexa volunteered to create medical supply chains, bringing in over 60 million pieces of PPE to hospitals, healthcare orgs, and governments in need. Based on her charitable work on Covid-19 PPE, she created the brand barrière to empower everyday people with rigorously tested, medically certified, and efficacious protective products with innovative designs and materials. She currently runs barrière with her co-founder Cleo Davis-Urman and is developing further products around insect repellents and sun protection amongst others.
Briana Green ‘97
Briana Green '97 is the Director of Operations at Mamatoto Village. She received her B.A. from Spelman College and her J.D. from Howard University School of Law. In 2015, Ms. Green left the corporate world after practicing corporate law and being a real estate professional. Choosing to follow her passion for supporting women, she trained with and ultimately joined MamatotoVillage, in Washington, DC, as a Perinatal Community Health Worker, where she provided perinatal education as well as labor, postpartum and social support to over 200 at-risk mothers and families. After several years of providing direct service to clients in the community, Ms. Green transitioned to being Director of Operations at Mamatoto Village in 2019, merging her legal and corporate background with her passion for maternal health equity. Ms. Green is mother to two daughters, Arden (15) and Amaris (9).
Sarah Greisdorf ‘17
Sarah Greisdor graduated from Holton in 2017 and Boston University in 2020. Sarah Greisdorf is the CEO & Founder of Holdette. She founded the company during her freshman year of college at Boston University where she majored in Computer Science. Sarah became invested in the lack of pocket’s in women’s clothing in high school and took action on it once reaching Boston University. After a year of developing this platform through a newsletter and affiliate programs, she took the leap to manufacture and design her own workwear. Her company brings practical pockets to women’s clothing. Sarah also started the Backpocket community to connect women during Covid-19.
Janaki Wickrema Kates ‘98
Janaki Wickrema Kates ’98 recently joined Northrop Grumman as a Director of Government Affairs, following a 17-year tenure with the CIA. She began her career analyzing foreign space capabilities that could affect U.S. national security. As a manager, she led a variety of technical analytic teams that focused on aerodynamic missiles and counterproliferation operations. Janaki was also an intelligence briefer to executives at the Department of State and National Security Council. She worked at the White House for both the Obama and Trump administrations, preparing the Director of National Intelligence for daily meetings with the president and cabinet. Her last position at the CIA was as Technical Director of Counterintelligence Analysis. Janaki holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from MIT and an M.A. in security studies from Georgetown University. While at Holton, she was President of the Swing Choir, a four-year member of the Upper School Chorus, and a Thespian. Janaki is now a member of Holton’s Alumnae Board.
Karin Krchnak ‘86
As an international environmental lawyer, Ms. Krchnak has worked to improve policies and procedures related to environmental management and resource conservation worldwide for over 25 years. She has spent the last 15 years in leadership positions around improving water resource management. This has included managing initiatives focused on advancing corporate water stewardship, water security, and building better governance through increased transparency, rule of law and institutional strengthening. She currently leads the 2030 Water Resources Group, hosted by the World Bank Group. Ms. Krchnak received her B.A. in Political Science from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. She has published extensively in international environmental policy and sustainable development, particularly on freshwater issues.
Sejal Makheja ‘17
Sejal Makheja is currently the Founder and CEO of SKM Equity Partners, a commercial real estate private equity firm, bringing a fresh approach to relationship investing. She just graduated from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business this past May and was the Class of 2017 at Holton-Arms. Sejal has a deep passion and curiosity for the ways in which the real estate industry can uplift communities and be a force for positive social change. While at Holton-Arms, she wrote and published The Unlimited Power of YOUth, a youth self-help book that consists of the 24 most valuable life lessons every young person should know. She owes much of her passion and work ethic to the amazing faculty and administration at Holton.
Helen Sears ‘16
Helen Sears graduated from Holton in 2016, and attended Colby College, graduating in 2020. At Holton, Helen was involved with the Environmental Club, as well as a member of the Sustainability Committee. At Colby College, she double majored in environmental studies and geology, studying climate through various lenses. Currently, Helen is working at Dartmouth College in the Thayer School of Engineering, studying biofuels in order to help produce them more effectively and efficiently.