Haydee Searcy remembers Mrs. Wilson, her first grade teacher at Glendale Elementary School, as a stickler for penmanship. She credits Spanish teacher Ms. Gibson with sparking her passion for world travel. And she thanks Metro schools and her fellow students for giving her the skills and encouragement needed to succeed in college and in her career.
Searcy gets to combine two of her passions – travel and fashion - as the Senior Director for International Marketing for Polo Ralph Lauren. She is a product of Metro Nashville Public Schools, and this week’s Alumni Achiever.
“My parents encouraged me to have a well-rounded school experience. I was definitely interested in school, especially literature and history,” Searcy says. She attended Glendale, Eakin Elementary, Meigs and Hume-Fogg, choosing to enter the magnet program not only for the academics, but for the environment fostered by the students.
“It was an environment that fostered my intellectual curiosities and encouraged my exposure to a wide range of topics.”
Far from fashion, she gravitated toward literature, history and language classes in school. Her parents also encouraged her to have a well-rounded school experience that included time spent in extra-curricular activities across the spectrum – from debate team to cheerleader, dance program to student government.
Alongside her textbooks, she started studying Vogue magazine at 14. “Outside of the classroom, I always was interested in and fascinated by travel and international studies. However, I no idea then that my career would so be so focused on these areas.”
Of course, academics and school were still number one in her life.
“[High school] was an environment that fostered my intellectual curiosities and encouraged my exposure to a wide range of topics,” she says. “Hume-Fogg taught me how to become a better communicator through literature classes, defending my point of view in the classroom and writing. When it was time to enter the workforce I had confidence in these areas and then had to figure out how I wanted to use these skill sets.”
Now married and living in New York City, Haydee Searcy got to where she is today by following her passion and her dream. “I always wanted to live in New York City, so when I graduated from college, I moved here, slept on my best friend’s couch, and took my resume to company after company until someone would hire me.”
Searcy’s dreams came true. And she says others can, too.
“Be open-minded when it comes to learning. You never know which areas will end up piquing your interests. It is really up to each individual to decide how to use what they have been given.”