Grace (Taferner) Hoefig ’81

    Grace (Taferner) Hoefig ’81

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    Current job title and employer and briefly describe what it is you do: Senior Vice President, Director of Research/Portfolio Manager, Franklin Templeton.

    In a few sentences, tell us about yourself: I live in New Jersey with my husband, Don, of 33 years! We have two grown sons who are my proudest life’s effort. I have worked in finance/asset management since graduating from SMC in 1981. This was not a field that I ever thought I would pursue or enjoy but I found it satisfied my intellectual curiosity on many levels. Our family of four are passionate outdoors people and my time in Vermont still runs through my blood. We love to hike, kayak, mountain bike, and fish.

    Please tell us about your Saint Michael’s experience: I knew Saint Michaels was the College for me within minutes of being on the campus. For me, it was all about the powerful sense of community and relationships. I have always liked to be associated with people that have a sense of purpose to their life. The friends I made during my time at SMC (it all started in Lyons!) are still important relationships to me 40 years later. When I think back on our 18-year-old selves and see where we all are today, families created, careers that flourished, hardships overcome, I am truly grateful for the values instilled from my time at Saint Michaels.

    What advice would you give to women students: Don’t be afraid. The world is always telling women what to do or how to act. Be your most authentic self, and lead your most authentic life. You get to choose what that looks like, although it might not be obvious from the start. When thinking about a career path, you don’t always need to frame it as “I want to be an X.” Think about the times of your day or week when you were the happiest and most engaged. What were you doing? There are probably many careers that would provide you that setting.

    Don’t be afraid to change direction or take a different path. I decided mid-career to leave the world of finance and stay home with my children. I decided not to be afraid that the career train was leaving the station without me. It was the best decision I ever made.

    What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations: I do not always embrace seeking leadership as a “goal” or end-game as it can many times lead to poor everyday decisions. I think simple, everyday strategies will result in a leadership outcome. Everyday passion and integrity about your work and kindness regarding how you treat your colleagues are efforts that never go unnoticed. I have always embraced the notion that “it is amazing what can be accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

    What keeps you motivated and driven on a daily basis: I like having a sense of purpose to my life and I have a lot of intellectual curiosity. There is something I learn or am generally amazed at every day! I am also very motivated working with younger people as I find we learn from each other.

    What woman most inspires you and why: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: a lifetime spent laboring away with perseverance and quiet resolve and she changed the world! Amazing.