AlumnaeSep 1, 2022

updated Jan 10, 2023

Moving Forward

A conversation with former Trustee Natalie Cook Culley ’62

Board Chair Nancy Gustafson Ault ’73 and Director of Philanthropy Jennifer Kerwood P’21 caught up with Nat and her dog Bertie just before Thanksgiving to talk about Nat’s time on the MHS Board of Trustees and her time as a student at Miss Hall’s. Here are just a few highlights from their conversation.

How did you come to MHS?

It was a given that I would attend Miss Hall’s, following my mother, Helen Dick Bronson ’38 and my grandmother Helen Aldrich Dick ’12. I never saw the School before I enrolled!

What are your favorite memories as a student?

I made my best friends, classmates Lucy Warner Bruntjen and Charlotte Stetson. We are still the best of friends and regularly vacation together. The bonds are so strong after all of these years. We love each other, because we knew each other at such a formative time in our lives.

Why did you join the MHS Board of Trustees?

I was looking at Miss Hall’s with my daughter, and that’s how I came to be involved, even though she ultimately chose another school. I came onto the Board at the same time as my classmate Josie Sentner, and it was clear we needed to build an endowment for the School.

This is a time in your life when there are hundreds of doors open to you. You can choose which doors you want to open. TRY one.

What did you learn about yourself as a Trustee?

I realized that I knew more than I thought — that I was smarter than I thought.  I loved the camaraderie of the Board, which was mostly women. I loved seeing the School change and knowing that the work we were doing was moving the school forward. After my term ended,  I found myself being asked to be on other boards. People saw the leader I had become. I was the only woman on one local board, and through my experiences on the MHS Board, I had learned how to make myself heard.

What advice would you offer to today’s students?

This is a time in your life when there are hundreds of doors open to you. You can choose which doors you want to open. TRY one. If it doesn’t work out, who cares? You are going to make mistakes. This is the time in your life to make mistakes — that’s the point — so you can learn what you like.