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Five Questions with Samantha MacInnis, President of the Marymount Alumnae Board

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When Samantha MacInnis, MC ’00, wanted to start a rotational program for new hires at the Department of the Treasury, where she works as a program and management analyst, she drew upon the lessons she’d learned in college.

“Marymount showed me the importance of working as part of a team. But I also learned that you can’t always wait for someone to give you an opportunity,” she says. “If you want things to happen, sometimes you need to be the one to push it through.”

MacInnis celebrates Founder's Day with other Marymount alumnae

From left: MacInnis with Sister Mary Heyser, R.S.H.M., MC ’62, Marymount’s alumnae chaplain, and Julene Caulfield, MC ’02, vice president of the Marymount Alumnae Board, at Marymount Founder’s Day

MacInnis, who joined the Marymount Alumnae Board in 2016, is taking that same initiative in her new role as the board’s president. “Some of it is about looking backward, being able to continue coming together and getting this cross-section of women that really helps you see the progression of history and how similar and yet radically different things are,” MacInnis explains. This is especially important for Marymount, MacInnis says, which began merging with Fordham shortly after she graduated in 2000 before closing in 2007.

“But I also want to look forward with the women of Fordham, and see where we might be needed to help create future women leaders.”

She’s already begun by reaching out to Deanna Howes, FCRH ’07, the leader of Fordham’s Alumni Chapter of Washington, D.C., who gave her helpful advice on working with alumni. And she hopes to continue growing the Marymount Legacy Fund, which just reached $1 million in June 2017 and provides scholarships to talented female Fordham students with a Marymount affiliation. MacInnis also hopes to find new ways to bring together Marymount alumnae and Fordham’s current students, perhaps by partnering with campus clubs.

“I’m still getting my sea legs,” she says, “but I want to continue supporting this special community.”

What are you most passionate about?
My favorite hobbies are reading and going to the theater. Both are great ways to learn about experiences outside of your own, and you really develop empathy and respect in the process. And when I’ve gone through difficult times, such as when my father passed away, I took great comfort from reading about how others went through the same experiences and seeing our commonalities.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t tie your self-worth to your job. Obviously your job is important, but you can’t hang everything on the outcome of a meeting or project. I’ve always taken things to heart more than I should, and I’ve been trying to separate myself from that habit recently.

What’s your favorite place in New York City? In the world?
I don’t know that I have one particular favorite spot in New York, but whenever I visit, I try to walk wherever I go. It’s amazing to see the different neighborhoods and people, a cross-section that is hard to get anywhere else. As much as I love New York, I’m originally from New England, so I immediately feel at home there more than anywhere else in the world.

Name a book that has had a lasting influence on you. Explain how and why.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn stays with me to this day. It was one of the first books I read that described individuals—and especially family—as flawed and complex people that you still love. And the ending is so melancholy—not tidy like children’s books. More recently I loved Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds, which takes place during an elevator ride. It’s a short book, but he packs a lot of emotion and complexity into it.

Who is the Marymount or Fordham grad or professor you admire most? Explain why.
I have great memories of meeting Geraldine Ferraro my freshman year at Marymount. I still remember asking her about public financing of elections! She attended the Marymount Convent School across from Marymount College, and she graduated from Fordham University’s Law School. I’ve always admired how she was able to combine her commitment to helping others and her professional work, especially at a time when it was not necessarily expected that women would become lawyers, members of Congress, or vice presidential candidates.     

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