Alumnae News & Highlights

A true chameleon, Annie Morris Tait ’73 recognizes that her path has been unconventional: “I can’t summarize my life. There are many jobs and many things I’ve learned from each experience.” Through all life’s twists and turns, Annie’s commitment to nurturing relationships has remained steadfast. From her home base in Australia, Annie maintains contact with alumnae despite the nearly 10,000 miles between Melbourne and HB. As fellow award recipient Holly Boyer Scott notes, “No one has held HB closer to her heart for all these years than Annie.” Kind and hardworking, humble and generous, Annie is – despite her insistence to the contrary – as distinguished as they come.

The Importance of Friendship

“Friendships are everything to me. Living so far apart, friendships take a lot of work. You have to be willing to put in the effort. Like right now, I’m thinking, I haven’t called Jane Doe in a week. I would be lost without my friends. Even people with whom I wasn’t particularly close while at HB, I consider close now. One of the things I do here for fun is play mahjong, and I have found since I became a class correspondent that there are fellow classmates who play mahjong. HB gave me a sense of community in which I could flourish and I will always be grateful for that and the friendships.”

A Change of Perspective

“There were two pivotal moments in my life. First, a car accident my father and I had in 1989. We were hit by a drunk driver in December just before Christmas. Neither of us was seriously hurt, but it made me realize that life is short and you should take jobs that you like - don’t take jobs just because you need to make money, take a job because you’re excited about it and you’ll be happy. The other pivotal moment was meeting my husband. I was on vacation in Australia, and I was 46 years old. I’d never been married. On the third day of the vacation, I started talking to a man standing behind me in a coffee shop. I married him the next year. That was in 2000 and we married in 2001. I left my job, my home, my family, everything - that was a big change.”

A Love of Books

“In the early years of my life, we did not have a TV in the house, and my parents read to us constantly. I love reading. Right now it’s a lighthearted series about an old folks home in England – Richard Osmond’s Thursday Murder Club books.”

An Eclectic Résumé

“At the time of the car accident, I was working for the US Government on a steady pay check, but I was bored out of my mind.  When I returned to DC, I quit.  I don’t remember how it came about, but I went to work at a startup microbrewery.  While I was there, I got a call from a woman I knew from my days doing advance work on the campaign trail.  She worked for the Washington Speakers Bureau as the coordinator of Margaret Thatcher’s speaking engagements.  She asked if I would be able to accompany Mrs. Thatcher on an upcoming trip to Akron.  I said sure.  That led to two years of work for, and travel with, the former UK Prime Minister and then subsequently General Colin L. Powell, James A Baker III, and Lee Iacocca.  It was quite an exciting time.  My most rewarding job was working for The Friends of The Cleveland School of the Arts.  I was their Development Director.  I loved that job.  I loved being around those talented kids, and it was an inspiring place to work. Miss Jensen’s grammar lessons came in particularly handy when writing grant proposals!  I don’t have any regrets about any of my jobs, from being the bridal registrar at Beachwood’s Higbee’s to working on political campaigns, to running the American Cancer Society’s Bike-A-Thon.  I grew along the way.  And, by the way, many HB friends volunteered their time at that Bike-A-Thon to assist!”

A Point of Pride

“I’m glad I’m still here, and I’m proud of my adaptability because I certainly jumped around a lot. I think coming to a foreign country and coming into the situation I did, marrying a widower with children who missed their mom, adjusting to a new country, missing my family and friends, not knowing anyone but my husband – that took enough out of me. I have a great life. I look after my family here and our friends, and that makes me happy.”

Advice for the Next HB Generation

“I don’t consider myself particularly academically inclined, but I know I have other attributes. If HB students can find an attribute, any attribute, that can see them into their future, they should stick with that strength. Mine is guts – gut feelings, intuition, and being in the right place at the right time. I would love the opportunity to talk to kids and say, just find your little something and you’d be surprised what opportunities can arrive.  

  • Distinguished Alumnae Award