Leah Driska ’08 had always known that music would be in her life. However, she never expected to end up back at Wellesley as the Assistant Director of Clubs for the Alumnae Association..
Driska grew up in Kensington, Connecticut. She is an only child, and her family was very close when she was growing up. Her mom was a nurse, and her dad worked for the town; both parents made a big effort to get Driska involved in activities, such as taking her to cultural shows and supporting her musical interests. Despite her parents’ help, however, Driska felt unqualified compared to the other students upon arriving at Wellesley.
“Everyone seemed so worldly and intellectual…My first year I felt kind of unsure and academically behind,” Driska said.
Once Driska started taking classes that interested her more, and joining extracurriculars, she began to make friends and become involved in the community. She credits her on-campus job with helping her gain confidence as well as many skills that help her in her adult life.
“Working at the Pub forced me to have a social life and forced me to put down books as well,” Driska said.
She and her new friends would have group dinners, sometimes in the dining halls and sometimes even cooking for themselves.
“Those times when we got together usually over food…were probably the best,” Driska said.
Driska also continued to play musical instruments at Wellesley. Her flute tutor, Suzanne Stumpf, one of the senior performance faculty in the music department, had a close relationship with Driska. Stumpf helped Driska not only with music-related development, but also with her personal growth.
“I think Suzanne was one of the most important people that I interacted with [at Wellesley],” Driska said.
Driska spent the summer after graduating with a double major in American Studies and Music applying for jobs, and went right to work in the fall with Pearson Education in academic publishing. Although this job did not allow her to directly use her degrees or to write as she initially hoped, it permitted refinement of her project management skills.
“It was a good bit of project management, working with freelancers for the supplements and having a little bit of a relationship with the authors,” Driska said.
During this time, she began volunteering with the alumnae club in Boston, and ended up doing programming for the whole club.
“I liked staying involved with Wellesley alums and meeting alums,” Driska said. “I’ve always enjoyed doing programming for events.”
It was during one of these events that Driska became interested in her current job as Assistant Director of Clubs. She spoke to someone at the alumnae office, and they mentioned that there was a position open in the office. Her experience volunteering with the Boston alumnae club proved to be applicable, and she got the job.
“I think that’s how a lot of jobs come about—just through personal connections and networking,” Driska said.
Currently, Driska works with about 80 domestic and a few international regional alumnae clubs. She responds to emails from alums, manages websites and helps puts on programming. All the alum volunteers work diligently, she says.
“I love meeting people in person…It’s always nice to put a face with a name,” Driska explained.
Driska got married this past July, and the wedding required the majority of her free time to plan. Nevertheless, she continued to volunteer with the Boston Symphony, sitting on their volunteer executive committee. She also does programming for the Wellesley Asian Alumnae Alliance.
“I like volunteering because it gives me perspective, it keeps me interested in other things, it helps me meet new people, and people of different age groups,” Driska said. “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t volunteer in my free time.”
Somewhere down the line, Driska plans to have kids. She also might want to go back to school, but isn’t sure what she would study. However, for now she is content working for the school that helped her move from a self-proclaimed “shy” first year to an exemplar for current students.
“If there’s some way I can help out and I can stay involved and do something good for the college…I should do that,” Driska said.