Hank Phillippi Ryan Visits APH

The latest in the series of powerful and accomplished women to address the APH community, Ms. Ryan had an inspiring message for our APH students as she drew on 40 years of investigative reporting experience, activities which had the effect of changing significant public policies, in addition to her very successful later-in-life turn to crime fiction.  Certainly, her testimony of incredible drive with an eye toward the unlimited potential available to us in life was stirring and very well received — her presentation was met with applause from the community several times.

“Yes, every person has a song.  Now, go find yours and sing it out loud.”

The message Ms. Ryan brought to the community was an inspiration, centered on taking chances, never knowing what exactly lay around the next corner, pursuing dreams, acting on personal principles, and holding fast to one’s values.  “If you can’t own it, you can’t be it,” she stated, “follow your dreams and your soul.  Take a chance on what you truly want to accomplish, and that will change your life.”  Her directive for our students was definitely one of women’s empowerment, with a focus on never accepting an unfair world, leaving a mark on history, and doing something that makes a difference.  Ms. Ryan was part of an active and ambitious group of women (she counts Jane Pauley among her peers in this effort) who fought to break the gender barrier and bring women to greater roles in media and politics.

The conversation certainly hit home with the APH students.  Norah Como ’21 stated afterward, “I really liked her emphasis on taking chances and looking for possibilities around every corner.”  Similarly, Ellie Pollard ’21 noted, “Her presence was so impressive.  It was very inspiring to hear her story.”

Ms. Ryan’s message is one of energy and bravery.  Quoting musician Judy Collins, she stated, “We all have songs.  It’s never too late or too early to find and follow your dreams.  Be confident, be brave, and someone will say, ‘Yes’ to your ideas.”  To this, she added, “Use your intelligence and honor and combine them with a desire to change the world.  All it takes is one gem of an idea to open up infinite possibilities.  Look for moments, it could be anything, anywhere, and will always be unexpected.  That’s where books and actions are born.” In a response to a question by student Hannah Verdun, Ms. Ryan recalled being bullied at age 14, but refusing to accept or tolerate that bullying with the powerful thought of “Yes, I am.”  In closing, she gave a final challenge to our APH students:  “Yes, every person has a song.  Now, go find yours and sing it out loud.”