AlumnaeNov 17, 2021

updated Dec 5, 2021

The invaluable strength of sisterhood

Pickett Scholar Cedar Manganiello ’07 on lifelong friendships and her path to leadership in the law

Cedar Manganiello ’07, recipient of a Pickett Scholarship while at Miss Hall’s, is a Senior Compliance Attorney, leading a Houston-based team of seven lawyers and fifteen analysts. She is also the sister of Solitaire ’23.

“I love that Solitaire's at MHS,” says Cedar. “The School will post a picture of her on Instagram, and all my friends will text me. She’s a little sister to all of us. I was at Miss Hall’s when she came home, and I went to the airport to meet her, so all of the girls met her when she joined our family, and it’s been fun to watch her grow at Miss Hall’s.”

It was at MHS, Cedar notes, where she herself began to grow into the person she is today. “From soft skills to hard skills to friendships, no one institution prepared me more than Miss Hall’s,” she says. “The School shaped me, and every person there contributed to who I am. I knew who I was when I went to college, and I knew what mattered to me, and that makes a huge difference when you go out into the world beyond Miss Hall’s.”

In 2007 she received a Mansfield Pickett Scholarship, named in memory of Mansfield E. (Peter) Pickett, a longtime teacher at the former Lenox School and Miss Hall’s School. The scholarships are awarded each year by the Lenox School Alumni Association to two Miss Hall’s students who exhibit outstanding performance in academics and extracurricular activities.

Cedar’s path from MHS took her to Salve Regina University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Administration of Justice. From there, it was on to New England College of Law, where she earned her J.D. A law school internship with Clean Harbors, the environmental, energy, and industrial services firm, led to her first job in Houston, where Cedar moved in 2015 and where she and her husband Adam have now built a house.

She joined Norton Rose Fulbright in 2016 as a Compliance Attorney, reviewing potential ethical conflicts with incoming business or new hires. In 2017, she was promoted to Senior Compliance Attorney and now oversees a team doing that work. The team also reviews potential work as it relates to clients in countries where the U.S. or other governments have placed sanctions. The team will determine if the firm can accept the work, and, if so, with what conditions.

“In many ways, we are like a general counsel within the law firm, making sure our own firm is following all of the rules,” explains Cedar, who has enjoyed the transition from being part of the team to leading the team. “It’s a different skill set, because when you’re an attorney, you need to be able to take a position and hold it, but being a manager means you need to be much more receptive to ideas. I’m also learning how to manage different styles of people, taking a hard line when I have to, but also being understanding, especially during COVID. It’s challenging, but I like it.”

In her role, Cedar thinks back to teachers and peers at Miss Hall’s who modeled leadership and prepared her for post-MHS life. “My first Proctor, Ali Moore-Ede ’05, her door was always open if you needed to vent, and sometimes, she would just listen, and other times she would offer advice or an angle I hadn’t considered” Cedar recalls. College Counselor Sarah Virden, coaches Mercedes Pour and Malik Farlow, Science teachers Gary Gray and Bill Doswell, Math Teacher Pam Walters, and History Teacher Sarah McFarland as particular influences.

“A lot of people assert that college or law school prepared them for their role, and that’s true, they do, but I see every day how Miss Hall’s prepared me,” she adds. “As an attorney, I have to stand in front of a judge and speak out and explain myself. That ability to stand and deliver, that was something Ms. McFarland forced us to do in A.P. U.S. History. Hard skills, like time management, I learned how to get my homework done in a two-hour Study Hall, and I took that skill with me to college and law school.”

It’s not only in her professional life where Cedar sees the Miss Hall’s influence. In many ways, 2021 was a trying year, but it was also a year that showed her how much MHS is a part of her life. In November, best friend Caroline Vreeland ’08 passed away, and the support from classmates and other MHS-ers has been immeasurable. “I probably had 50 girls reach out to me,” Cedar notes. “Truly, I have a network of sisters I was given by Miss Hall’s, and 15 years later, they are still there for me. I don’t think you get that in a larger school; I don’t think you get that in a co-ed school. Being shoved together with 50 girls for four years is really a blessing.”

And they’re all Solitaire’s sisters, too.

We will celebrate sisterhood at Come One, Come All Reunion, May 13-15, 2022. Mark your calendars and make plans to bring your MHS sisters, cousins, besties, roommates, Bigs/Littles, or someone who was like a sister to you!