Hillary Irvine ’07

Artist, Art Educator, and Founder of Revival Fine Art & Conservation Services

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

To a girl graduating from Williston today, I would say, stay curious. Take the time and give yourself the space to pursue your interests even if it don’t look like what everyone else around you is doing.

Tell us about a woman who is your hero and why?

When I think of people who have had the most significant influence in my life, shaping who I am today, Ann Pickrell is at the vanguard. I immediately knew she would be an important person to me when I met her for my interview 20 years ago at the Homestead. Ever since, the lessons that she imparted upon me during my time at Williston, and beyond, have had a deep and echoing resonance. She has a terrifically indomitable spirit, never steering away from difficult things, an incomparable grace. She is a person who always seems to have the right words and do the right thing. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have met my hero at such an impressionable time of life. Words cannot express what her continued presence in my life means to me.

What do you think is next for women in your professional field?

I am an artist, an educator, and founder of an art services business. I’ve seen so much growth as women begin to dominate these fields. I think that more women will be pioneers, building businesses of their own, so they can create something that highlights their unique ideas and vision. Many of my professional contacts are women who, like me, have a wide range of skills and interests, and want their vocations to be more reflective of that. I am delighted to see women stepping into their power ever-earlier in their journeys—for me, it started at Williston.

What motivates you in your work and life?

There are so many points of intersection with my work and my life, and I love the interconnectedness of it all. For me, it comes down to the relationships that I forge and build upon within my communities—that’s what keeps me coming back to what I do every day.

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

The best advice I have received has been delivered by many people in different ways, but the overall message is the same: Seldom are great things achieved in a single bound, and success doesn’t usually look like a straight line. To fulfill your vision, you have to stay with it, working on it in some way, every day. Keep learning more and immerse yourself in what you love to do, and eventually, preparation will meet opportunity.