Ann Futter Lomeli ’73

Former Senior Vice President, Co-General Counsel and Secretary at MassMutual

What advice would you give to a girl graduating from Williston today?

The following is the advice my older self (Williston Northampton School class of ’73) would like to have been able to give my younger—just graduating—self:

Work hard at what you do, but don’t neglect the importance of keeping healthy, which means regular exercise, among other things.

Stand up for what you believe; speak out in life and at work. At work, despite advice from those around me to the contrary, I spoke out a lot. If I’d been afraid to speak out, I would not have succeeded in my career. It’s not without risk. But, early on, I decided I wouldn’t work at a place that didn’t support the free expression of ideas—and I didn’t.

Good friends are very important. It is not the number, but the quality. Good friends are supportive and kind, and they listen well. Friendship is a two-way street. You may not find your closest friend(s) until you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s or later. There’s no rush.

What motivates you in your work and life?

The things that motivate you in work and life change over the years. In my generation, when we were young, we were motivated to do well, advance in careers, etc. Later, people—friends and family—became most important. Helping others is always important. Finding things that interest and intrigue you keeps you excited about life. Time becomes more valuable than money.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I believe my parents would always say, work hard and get a good education. They certainly helped me with both of those. Education doesn’t end with schooling. Learning is a lifelong process. All learning is valuable in ways you might not even imagine now. Continuous learning keeps your brain active and strong.