In March we are celebrating Women’s History Month. Throughout my career, I have had the great fortune to have known and to have been taught and mentored by several outstanding women. In recognition, I take great pleasure today in celebrating the life of my friend and mentor, Ann Hartman, who passed away recently at the age of 95.
Note: I will be quoting extensively in this communication from the obituary written by her partner of almost 60 years, Joan Laird
ANN WAS AN ADVENTURER
“In 1947 at the of age 21, Ann traveled to Oregon and, with a friend, built a cabin, acquired a goat named Gertrude and a chicken named Ears, taught school, and planted lily bulbs in the fields. At 40, she left her job as executive director of a mental health clinic to pursue a Ph.D. On her 50th birthday, she went for a balloon ride. On her 60th she went parasailing over Lake Tahoe. At 70 she climbed a mountain in Sicily and, still later, spent four days snorkeling off the Great Barrier Reef.”
ANN WAS A SCHOLAR
“In between these adventures she became one of the most respected and prominent social workers of her era, a national leader, scholar, writer, teacher, and administrator. She retired in 1996 as Dean of the Smith College School for Social Work but continued working until age 85, at Fordham as a visiting professor.
Ann, who lived in West Islip, L.I., for many years, loved the ocean and her condominium at Fire Island Pines. She and her enormous standard poodle Sarah (one of many) would board the ferry to the Pines every Friday afternoon during the summer months. In 1965 she was joined by Joan Laird and her 18-month old son Duncan, beginning a partnership and later marriage that endured until her death.”
ANN WAS AN INNOVATOR
“In 1969, Ann began her academic career as an associate professor of social work at Fordham University, and in 1974 moved to Ann Arbor to become professor and chair of social work practice at The University of Michigan. In Ann Arbor, Ann obtained a large National Child Welfare grant to train social workers from all over the country in family-centered child welfare practice. She, Joan, and four others formed Ann Arbor Center for the Family, a clinical, educational, and research family therapy center that still thrives. These were fruitful years, exploring the emerging, exciting family therapy field, seeing families, taking and leading workshops, bringing family theory and practice ideas into teaching, and eventually publishing Family-Centered Social Work Practice, a text co-authored with Joan and used widely nationally and internationally for many years.”
ANN WAS A LEADER
“The next move, in 1986, was to Northampton to become Dean and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor of Social Work at the Smith College School for Social Work (her Alma Mater). Her goals for the school were many, the most important among them to diversify the faculty and student body and to strengthen the curriculum. One memorable event was her invitation to all alumni of color to return for several days to help the School make plans to recruit and mentor students of color and to make the program more relevant to their needs and interests. Under her leadership, the school became far more diverse. Anti-racism work began. The curriculum was revised several times to better meet the educational needs of all of the students, and Smith, a school that had historically been a major leader in social work education but had become more narrowly focused and insulated, was once again to gain national prominence.
Charismatic, inspiring, and tireless, Ann was widely sought after as a speaker and consultant, traveling to almost every state and many different countries, perhaps most memorable her trips to Australia and New Zealand. The recipient of many honors and awards, perhaps her favorite (the prodigal daughter returning) was the Wellesley Medal in 2000, Wellesley’s highest honor. Other honors included honorary doctorates from Smith and Tulane, a Lifetime Achievement award from the American Family Therapy Academy, election to the Columbia University School of Social Work’s Hall of Fame, and being named a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers.”
ANN AN INVETERATE TRAVELER AND OUTDOORSWOMAN
“Ann loved the woods and the water and was an inveterate tent camper, crisscrossing the country several times. She liked to say that she could raise the tent, make martinis, and cook dinner over a camp stove or fire in under an hour. She loved to paint and knit, mastered carpentry producing a large parquet deck with a place for a tree, vegetable gardening, and was a gourmet cook who never tired of entertaining friends and family. The family spent 20 years visiting their “camp” on Great Pond, in Maine, sailing, swimming, canoeing, and partying with friends and family on their pontoon boat. Three generations of beloved standard poodles accompanied the family on many of their various adventures.”
ANN WAS AND IS A FRIEND
“Her personal qualities gained her many friends. Interested in everyone and everything, she was a consummate listener, a person who always looked for and found the best in everyone. Highly energetic but unfailingly calm, patient, generous, and optimistic. She always looked for and found the best in everyone. Her students at Michigan, many of whom kept in touch with her for years, lined up in the halls hoping to register for her classes.
Passionate international travelers, Ann and Joan, who both loved wildlife, went on two safaris, the first in Kenya and the second in Botswana and South Africa. Also memorable were trips to Australia, India, Israel, Greece and Egypt. Their many travels included three guided walks, the most challenging the famous Milford Track in New Zealand.
Ann is survived by her life partner of 56 years, Joan Laird, and their son Duncan Laird, whom Ann adored and helped raise from the time he was a toddler. After the death of his father, when Duncan was 39. Ann adopted him. Duncan and his wife, Meg, have three children”
As we celebrate women’s history month, I can think of no better person to exemplify the progress made by women over the past 100 years. Ann was a true pioneer. In addition to all her achievements, she was a wonderful person who never seemed to lose her temper or equilibrium. Even as she grew older, she maintained her independence and her positive spirit. She continued to make those around her feel better about themselves and more optimistic about the world that we are in. I am a better person for having known him for over 40 years. We will all miss her but her voice will go with us as we travel in this uncertain world.
Michigan Leaders Connect Community Read
Buy and read your books now to be ready for the author lead discussions of these two important books on leadership by Michigan based authors.
Richard Sheridan will present his book Chief Joy Officer on Friday, April 22 from 8:00am-9:00am
John U. Bacon will present his book Let Them Lead on Friday, June 3 from 8:00am-9:00am
Rich Sheridan’s Joy, Inc. told the story of how his small yetrenowned software company in Ann Arbor, Michigan achieved success and renown by embracing offbeat culture and human-centered values. In Chief Joy Officer, he turns his attention from culture to leadership, and draws on his experience running Menlo Innovations and consulting elsewhere to offer a wise, provocative guide on how anyone can build leadership capacity for joy within their own organization. Chief Joy Officer offers sage, hard-won advice to any manager or leader who yearns to make more of an impact on the lives of others.
Filled with colorful anecdotes from Sheridan’s personal journey and wisdom from many leadership mentors, Chief Joy Officer offers an approachable, down-to-earth philosophy and practice that will help even the most disillusioned of middle managers bring a renewed sense of purpose to their work building others.
UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP FROM AMERICA’S WORST HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY TEAM
An uplifting leadership book about a coach who helped transform the nation’s worst high school hockey team into one of the best. Bacon’s strategy is straightforward: set high expectations, make them accountable to each other, and inspire them all to lead their team.
Thomas Zurbuchen – Webb Space Telescope First Images
Thomas will be speaking on the Webb Space Telescope in May 17 from 8-9am for Leaders Connect.
Growing up in Switzerland, Dr. Zurbuchen was a keen observer of the natural world from an early age. His curiosity led him to pursue degrees in physics, and he has served on and led innovative scientific teams that have helped enlarge our perspective on the solar system and the universe. Previous points of focus have been the planet Mercury and our Sun. He was also a professor of space science and aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was the founding director of UM’s Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering and developed and ran several campus wide innovation initiatives, one of which led to the top-ranked undergraduate entrepreneurship program nationally.
On a daily basis, Zurbuchen works to ensure that NASA’s science missions build partnerships across disciplines and with industry and other nations to generate new questions and help advance the frontiers of knowledge and exploration. He brings a wealth of scientific research, engineering experience and hands-on knowledge to NASA’s world-class team of scientists and engineers. Zurbuchen sets the NASA Science strategy and inspires the teams to carry it out.