Mayo woman on getting with the programme in Boston

Wild Geese: Ann Marie Maxwell, MIT Sloan School of Management in Boston

Ann Marie Maxwell: “I support the creation of classroom materials, creating and updating the programme website and communicating with the participants”

Ann Marie Maxwell: “I support the creation of classroom materials, creating and updating the programme website and communicating with the participants”

 

Ann Marie Maxwell is programme manager of executive programmes at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Boston. She moved to the United States in 2000, where she worked as passport officer at the Consulate General of Ireland, going on to work as a marketing executive and then a consumer retail market adviser for Enterprise Ireland.

She lives with her husband in Quincy, Massachusetts, south of Boston.

Maxwell says that the initial move to the US meant missing her friends and family but that she had some solid advice and support from her mother.

“My mom’s advice was ‘Do not come home for a year, otherwise you will be more homesick and not want to stay in the US’. My parents met and married in the US so my mom knew about the difficulties in adjusting to living away from home. In the end, she found it more difficult to settle in Ireland,” says Maxwell.

College

“I had the luxury of coming to the US to my older sister. She moved back here when she was 18 and put herself through college. I ended up doing the same. I worked during the day and went to school at night,” says Maxwell whose current role at MIT involves both classroom management and logistics.

“In terms of classroom management, I am responsible for working with the client, participants or director and faculty. I support the creation of classroom materials, creating and updating the programme website and communicating with the participants. I also work on-site setting up the faculty for their sessions and sitting in the classroom to support them and to address any issues,” she says.

The logistics side of her role is, essentially, event management including researching and organising outings, team building events, site visits and graduation ceremonies.

Maxwell feels she has come a long way: “Sometimes as I’m in the back of the classroom listening to the lectures I think: ‘Here I am at MIT – a girl who left the west of Ireland without a college degree, now sitting in the back of the classroom at MIT supporting world-renowned experts in their field’.”

A typical “on programme” day involves an early rise for Maxwell. She gets up at 4.30am and drives to work, arriving there before 6.45am. The days are often long and frequent evening events means she arrives home any time between 6pm and 9pm.

“At the end of the day, you are really not fit to do much by the time you get home,” she says. Working “off-programme”, the days are spent planning new programmes and closing old ones, writing reports and compiling budgets.

Despite having little time to spare, Maxwell still finds time to enjoy yoga and spin classes and, harking back to the home country, Irish dancing.

“It’s a lot of fun with women of all ages doing the Siege of Ennis, the Fairy Reel and whatever else Breda, our teacher, is brave enough to introduce us to. It’s great exercise and most of all great craic!”

Networking

Martin Ridge

The couple have been together 13 years and married recently. The wedding theme was “Home” and included traditional music, rustic decorations, GAA and flowers from her mother’s garden.

At the end of 2013, her husband established Ridge Remodeling Solutions, a construction and carpentry company. “He too has been putting himself through school and received a degree in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston,” says Maxwell.

When she worked for Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Consulate, Maxwell says she spent a lot of time networking at Irish events.

Since leaving Enterprise Ireland three years ago, her spare time has been spent attending college at night and preparing for her wedding.

“Now I tend to help folks out on an individual level, so, for example, today I was helping out a young Irish girl who is planning to move to Boston to work in the medical device field and an Irish guy living in Boston wanting to move his technical services business to Ireland.”

Maxwell has worked with many other graduates and has supported Enterprise Ireland (EI) in the area of online learning and training programmes for client companies.

“I have connected EI and former colleagues with MIT,” says Maxwell. “I really enjoy being a connector; so, where I cannot help directly, I’ll certainly do my best to connect you with someone who can.”

The coming year will bring exciting times for Maxwell who is currently exploring her own route through graduate school.

She was nominated to participate in the 2014/15 Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s leadership programme as part of a cohort of 50 women from various businesses “exploring ways to develop our own leadership skills and support other women”.

She has also taken on new committee roles with the Sloan School of Management and says that participation on such committees makes life all the more interesting.

Maxwell may be a sentimental home bird who had a nostalgic wedding theme, but one gets the impression she won’t be doing the Siege of Ennis near Clare any time soon.

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