Throughout her life, Bridget O’Connor Garsh ’04 has always enjoyed pursuing what she loves and making an impact where she goes. But exactly what life path she would take, and where she would end up, she never anticipated. A few career changes and a Sed Ministrare Volunteer Award later, Garsh has combined her passions for Wellesley College and for collaboration by working in the Resources Office.
Growing up in Belmont, Massachusetts, Garsh never expected to attend Wellesley, since it was close to her high school and her parents. However, after touring the college during Spring Open Campus, she realized it was where she wanted to be. Growing up inspired by her mom’s devotion to her work and family, Garsh valued the student body’s engagement with the college community.
“I think one of the things that really drew me into Wellesley … was the way that the campus kind of came to life because of the student body, because of the women who were in leadership roles, because people were involved and there were so many ways to be involved,” she said.
Attracted to the engagement and vibrancy of the Wellesley College student body, Garsh couldn’t wait to dive in and get involved. As a student, she coordinated students for staffing the front desk of residence halls to collect mail and found it to be a lovely way to engage with students in her residence hall. In addition, she was a member of Tau Zeta Epsilon, where she planned events, and Schneider Board of Governors (SBOG).
“[SBOG was] really where I fell in love with, I think, my connection with what I could bring to the community and have a ton of fun doing it,” Garsh explained.
As the head of SBOG in her senior year, Garsh participated in College Government and College Government Cabinet, allowing her to work closely with the administration and giving her a voice in Academic Council, the alcohol committee and the Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events.
After frequently being in rooms full of faculty members and being asked to share her voice, Garsh learned to be confident in the workplace and to sit at meetings and share her opinions. Majoring in psychology and minoring in economics — a tough choice for her since there were so many classes that interested her — Garsh worked at a theater in Cape Cod upon graduation and then moved to a law firm.
However, she soon realized law wasn’t for her and transitioned to AIRINC, a company that researches cost of living around the world and advises companies on how to send their employees to other countries. She worked there for nine years, starting off in client engagement, which allowed her to travel to several countries including Venezuela, Trinidad, Malaysia and China, then progressing to focus on product strategy and marketing.
When she felt like it was time to stretch her wings in a different venue, Garsh moved to work at InsightSquared, a technology startup based in Boston, that built software to allow small companies to access sales performance analytics. Drawing from her experiences in product marketing at AIRINC, she worked to build the product marketing structure at InsightSquared.
Outside of work, Garsh found herself missing the natural, supportive community of Wellesley women after graduating. As a result, she became heavily involved with the Wellesley College Alumnae of Boston (WCAB), which helps the Admissions Office and also connects and supports alumnae with one another. It felt like a natural continuation of her work at SBOG, where she loved working together to create a positive impact on the community. In WCAB, she progressed from being the Vice President of programming, to the Vice President of Technology, to Co-President and then President of the entire club.
In October of last year, Garsh was awarded the Sed Ministrare Volunteer Award for her work in WCAB.
Since Wellesley alumnae are diverse in many ways, including age, geographic location, culture and interests, Garsh works to ensure that a large group of alumnae are involved and that WCAB offers a wide range of events so all of the alumnae in the area feel included and connected to each other and to Wellesley College. Garsh also has a unique strength to bring to the table: she works within groups to create structures that will help strengthen and expand organizations.
“I truly, truly believe that by having different opinions, by having different voices in the room, that we are stronger, and we end up with the best result. That’s something I’m really passionate about: building frameworks in scenarios where we can have a multitude of voices, but doing that in a way where everybody is able to be heard, yet it doesn’t impede any progress,” she said.
Garsh credits Wellesley for helping her discover the importance of diverse representation. Continuing her mom’s legacy of making an impact and improving the quality of life of people around her, Garsh recently traced her steps back to Wellesley to work at the Resources Office and is pleased to rejoin the college community.
“There was an opportunity to join the Resources Office here at Wellesley, where I could really combine sort of my skill set of marketing and then to be able to do that for Wellesley, which is such a passion of mine, and to be able to convey that message to primarily alumnae, encourage them to support the college, and then to make them feel really appreciated, and help them to see the impact they’re having on the college through their gifts. I mean it was really just a dream job for me,” she said.