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Laura Sloate – A Minor Impairment

Laura Sloate offered a memorable, engaging chapel talk on December 14. Laura is a managing director and portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman in New York City, and she is blind. She has known Headmaster Charlie Cahn for several years. At age six, detached retinas caused Laura to lose her eyesight, yet she feels “Not seeing is a minor impairment.” She credits her mother with patiently teaching basic life skills and never once considered her blindness an obstacle. Instead, Laura learned early on how to become a problem solver. She accomplished her school work with readers, tapes, and oral exams. Resilient and ambitious, Laura followed her interests and accomplished goals. She loves going to the movies, her passion is classical music, and she has a deep interest in sports. Laura’s intellect is profound and her words offered an invaluable perspective on education, career, and a balanced life. In regards to her own work, she reflected on successes and failures. “You can only be as good as you are today and you are going to make mistakes,” she said, “Learn from them. Study them. Let them make you better tomorrow.” Now at age 70, there are no signs that Laura is slowing down. Instead, she is actively engaged in her passions and career. When asked about her job she concluded, “Wall Street is very competitive. You fail a lot, often many times a day. You learn that you are going to make bad decisions, and when you are wrong you instantly know it. But you also know that you have to get back up and try again. I never think of something as an obstacle in my way. I just think about how I am going to get something done.” Her talk clearly resonated with Suffield’s students and faculty, who asked many questions and eagerly thanked Laura for visiting campus.
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