After 12 years at Phillips Andover, Rev. Anne Gardner joined Harvard-Westlake in 2020 as the school’s chaplain. While prior to Anne’s arrival, Rick Commons had framed the role as an “entrepreneurial chaplaincy,” Anne had no idea how unorthodox it would actually become. Anne spent the first year of the job remote from Los Angeles, and then the second year working with students and adults who were still adjusting psychologically and spiritually to the fear and isolation of a global pandemic. In its aftermath, Anne sees her role as helping community members ask the big questions—such as, “Who am I? How do I decide right from wrong? Whom do I emulate? What gives my life meaning?” In Anne’s case, life was given meaning by two brave and resilient parents—a mother who became a biochemist, and her father a World War II hero and amputee. It was they who inspired Anne’s sense of gratitude and public service, as well as her commitment to a somewhat unlikely career as an ordained minister. Anne admits that as a gay woman, she carries an unusual combination of characteristics for clergy—but that she enjoys leaning into this cognitive dissonance in others, as a way to demonstrate both a common humanity, as well as the many spiritual paths to intellectual and religious leadership. Anne credits both her parents and her Jesuit education as profound influences on her life and career.
Monthly Archives: May 2022
Sabrina Singh ’05 is Deputy Press Secretary to Vice President Kamala Harris. In this episode, Sabrina speaks about the heightened stakes of White House communications, the delicate balance between policy precision and personal authenticity in political speech, and how the Harris and Biden press teams collaborate as a unified administration. Sabrina also describes both her past—growing up in Los Angeles and attending Harvard-Westlake and USC—as well as her future, as she prepares for a new role at the Pentagon as Director of Integrated Campaigns for the Department of Defense. Lastly, while the conversation avoids discussing the policies of the Biden-Harris administration, Sabrina speaks about how meaningful it is, particularly as an Indian American woman, for her to work for the first woman and first Indian American to serve as Vice President. As Sabrina notes, Kamala Harris “looks like me.” Sabrina references Jane Dabel and Bob Pavitch of Harvard-Westlake, Douglas Becker and Todd Boyd of USC, Jesse Ferguson and Jennifer Krider of the DCCC, and United States Senator Cory Booker as profound influences on her life and career.