1987, Alexandra Reid – Development Director, International Justice Network

After graduating from college, I was torn between the publishing world and the academic world. I pursued a Ph.D. in Medieval studies at Harvard, in which I brought my interest in History and in English (I was a double major) to look at the historical context of hagiographies from the late middle ages. However, after obtaining an M.A. in the field, I realized the ivory tower was not right for me and spent the next 14 years of my life as a children’s book editor at a major publishing company in New York. I started as an Editorial Assistant and when I left to move to Chicago for family reasons, I was an Editorial Director and Vice President. I now work as the Development Director for a non-profit organization called the International Justice Network, and work as a mediator at the Center for Conflict Resolution, where I mediate landlord/tenant, neighbor/neighbor, and matrimonial fee disputes, among other cases. Apart from my graduate work, it seems like my history major has had little to do with my job choices, but I do believe that the skills I got from this major, including how to do good research (critical for development work) honing my research skills, trying to uncover the underlying context (historical, emotional, financial) for a particular issue (essential for successful mediation), and learning how to write clearly and carefully, without grandiose or vague statements, but with a point of view (a skill I have used in every job I have ever had) have been with me throughout my careers.