Lia Dawley ('04)

Originally published in 2013 FAIS Magazine


Years attended FAIS: 1993 to 2004    
High School: Oregon Episcopal School 
College: Wellesley College    
College Major/Minor: Economics and Art History
Current Occupation: Economic Consulting  
Employer: Horst Frisch Incorporated 

Did your FAIS education have an influence on your career choice or your field of study? If so, how?

My FAIS education provided me with a global perspective. As an economics major, I learned theory and quantitative methods to assess contemporary problems. I now apply these techniques at an economic consulting firm that specializes in transfer pricing and other international tax issues. Speaking in French with Canadian clients is a highlight. 

At FAIS, I also cultivated an appreciation for cultural history and diversity. As an art history major at Wellesley, I studied cultural history through objects. In my senior year, I pursued an independent study on the nineteenth-century American artist Anne Whitney, who traveled to France to study from original works of art. I examined ephemera and letters to her family held in the Wellesley College Archives from her French travels. 


How did your FAIS education prepare you for higher education and beyond?

I often say to colleagues and friends that attending a French immersion school was the “best thing that ever happened to me.”  During these formative years, I was taught organizational and critical thinking skills that prepared me for OES and Wellesley. The nightly homework and group presentations allowed me to hone my oral and written communication skills. I ultimately credit FAIS for igniting and fostering my love of learning; I am currently enrolled in a financial accounting course at the George Washington University School of Business in addition to working full time. 

Outside of the classroom, I have fond memories of the fifth grade trip to France and the eighth grade trip to Spain. I gained valuable life and travel skills helpful in my tenth grade trip to Mexico and my college semester abroad in Spain. The importance of giving back to the community has also resonated with me; I volunteer biweekly at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. 


Are there skills you learned while at FAIS that you have applied to your career?

FAIS trained me to communicate my thoughts clearly and succinctly. The small class sizes allowed me to participate frequently; I feel comfortable and confident contributing to client meetings in my workplace. I furthermore learned time-management strategies and developed strong quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills that are valued in my office.


How many languages do you speak? I speak three languages: French, Spanish, and English. 

What do you envision for your future? I plan to pursue an advanced degree, likely an MBA, in the next five years. Following this degree, I envision myself working in economic consulting as an associate/partner or in fine arts as the CFO of a museum or auction house. 


Please share any other information you would like.

I am forever grateful for the dedicated teachers and the lifelong friendships. Thank you to my non-French speaking parents who enrolled me at age four. Please be in touch if you live in the Washington, D.C. area, or when you visit.