Phoebe Stephens ’93

Jewelry Designer and Co-Founder of Anndra Neen jewelry

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

The world is very different since I graduated from Williston but I still believe that everything is possible. Technology and social media have given us more access, for example you can create your own ideal job or start a business much younger. Even though that is the case, I would say that if you are attending college try and apply for as many internships as you can. It might feel old school but apply to all the things that interest you. That way, by the time you graduate college, you will have a better idea of what you would like to do. It is also a wonderful way to meet people and to get a future job. In the end people move the world. There is a difference between what we fantasize a job will be like and the reality of it. Once you know how the real world works then I would say push boundaries and innovate in any way you can. Stand out and make people notice your uniqueness. Be disruptive, set examples for those around you who feel they can’t. Allow yourself to take risks!

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

This year I became a first time mother and as cliché as it may sound it made me realize that my heroes are women who can juggle it all. As women, we are still fighting to have equality in so many different fields. As the world seems to be going backwards we women have to work harder together. Raising good human beings today is more challenging than ever. Because of this our kids need a range of skills, self-confidence and strong values. My role models are the mothers who get up every morning and balance children, careers, and partnerships.

What motivates you in your work and life?

Creativity, innovation, traveling and people from all walks of life. I would say that I am pretty stubborn and that when I visualize an idea I want to see it to fruition. The process of imagining something and the tension that gets created when its coming to life is what motivates me. It feels exciting not to know what will happen. Sometimes it is different than what I thought. It’s an unknown destination. In the end that is where I most learn.  In the process the more I am surrounded by different types of people and places, the more my world opens up.

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

Be disciplined, work hard, be kind and give back.