Jill Hand Hautzenroeder '71: An Extraordinary Journey
"I move yachts up and down the East Coast and teach power boating skills to new boat owners," Jill Hand Hautzenroeder '71 replied when asked what would most surprise her former classmates about her life today. Jill has a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton master license. During the past four years, she's traveled over 20,000 nautical miles from the Great Lakes to Newfoundland and down to the Bahamas. Check out her website to read all about these exciting journeys.
Jill credits Hathaway Brown for the moxie it took to begin a new career in her mid-50s. She retired from a health care management position and knew she "never wanted to wear pantyhose, high heels or a suit again." She grew up power boating on Lake Erie, so she applied to work on a ferry at Cedar Point. The man who interviewed her also was hiring 100-ton captains and Jill asked what it would take to obtain that license. When he said it was way too difficult and doubted she could do it, her response was, "You don't tell an HB grad that." Within two years, she had her license and started her second career.
For Jill, attending HB was a defining experience. "It was all about empowering women. We were told we could do and be whatever we wanted." She also feels fortunate to have lived in the dormitory, which taught her independence. "It was before cell phones. I could only call home once a week, so I had to learn how to solve my own problems."
Jill has made a bequest for Hathaway Brown School in her will and states matter-of-factly, "My father taught my sisters and I that when you live in a community, you give back to that community. I once lived in HB's community." Jill's older sister, JoLynn Hand Wright is also an HB alumna, class of 1965.
While Jill has an unusual profession, she doesn't consider herself extraordinary in most respects and wishes Hathaway Brown would highlight more alumnae who "focus on keeping their marriage healthy, raising their children, managing their careers and making a difference in their communities through church or other activities." She believes these are her greatest accomplishments and wants current students to realize, "It's not about the destination—it's all about the journey."
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