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Monday, June 20, 2011

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Georgia Shreve, Composer, Philosopher, Writer, Playwright and One of the First Female Investment Bankers

From an early age, Georgia Shreve was blessed with an extraordinary education, full of great teachers in great schools.  She studied Philosophy at Stanford and then went on to Brown to receive her master’s in Literature and Creative Writing.   She moved on to Columbia to get an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, but, after a year, inspired by the realities of life, switched to the Business School and finished an M.B.A.  While at Columbia, she returned to her musical roots, studying classical singing.  The M.B.A. led her to Wall Street to be an Investment Banker.  Later, searching for more creative work, she moved into advertising to be both an Account Executive and Copywriter.

Soon she was fortunate enough to have three incredible sons, all now living in New York–one, following in her footsteps to pursue an M.B.A. at Columbia, one a mathematician running his own hedge fund, and one an aspiring Disc Jockey.   While raising them, she studied poetry writing and music composition with two brilliant professors.   Before too long, she was publishing poetry in prominent publications and having her music performed in various concerts.  Later she published fiction in the New Yorker and won the Stanford Fiction Prize.  She is perpetually “in the process of finishing” five novels, none as yet completed.  Meanwhile she has written numerous plays–both straight plays and musicals–which have had readings, but have not yet been produced, in addition to a couple of screenplays.

Her work in music composition culminated in a concert of her Oratorio and Chamber Music at Carnegie last spring (in Zankel Hall) and a concert of her songs and Piano Concerto at Steinway Hall this year.  Another three concerts are in the works for the next year. 

She is now enrolled to do a master’s degree in Psychology next year at the University of Pennsylvania.  The pervasive spirit in her life is that of continuous change and growth.   According to her, while this process can be painful, it is vital to staying young and thriving as we age. 

She has a number of cultural pursuits, including the Madison Council of the Library of Congress, and has served on the boards of several arts organizations.  Her interests include film, theater, and literature.  She exercises almost every day and is especially devoted to Pilates. 
            She is a long-term New Yorker and, though she has a home in Greenwich, Connecticut, determined to stay in Manhattan.  Her travel is mainly focused on her love of Europe and its rich cultural heritage, which she has studied all through her life.

We are so pleased to present her as our latest Mover and Shaker.

Peachy Deegan interviewed Georgia Shreve for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: Of all of the schools you graduated from, how did they each impact you and what did you like the most about each of them?
Georgia Shreve: Stanford fueled my great love of learning and taught me how to reason; Brown fired my imagination and honed my writing; Columbia Business School trained me to make wise decisions.

What philosophers do you agree with the most and why?
I love the existentialists for their sense of the absurd; I love the Chinese philosophers for their sense of serenity and restraint;
I love the Philosophy of Art for its grasp of aesthetics.

What impacts you musically and what inspires you?
I write a lot of vocal and choral music because background in writing has sensitized me to all the fine nuances of language.

Please tell us about your career in investment banking and how you feel the industry has evolved, also in regards to women as investment bankers.
I was something of a pioneer as a woman in investment banking and hopefully helped pave the way for other women in the field.

Would you like to tell us anything about your five novels in progress?
Each has a different basis of conflict: loyalty vs. ambition; free spirit vs. repressed; joyful vs. joyless; passionate vs. devoid of passion; tradition-bound vs. spontaneous.

What was your favorite part of the famed book "I Didn't Bargain for This" by Mitzi Perdue?
The wonderful story about the little boy (a Rockefeller?) who had spent his allowance and had to walk home.

What do you enjoy the most about being on a board, and for anyone who has not been on a board, what would surprise them the most about being on one?
I enjoy the commitment  to cultural endeavors and the exchange of ideas; someone might be surprised by the central importance of fundraising.

What is your favorite part of Europe and what do you love about it?
I feel most at home in the culture of England, but I love the French sense of beauty and creativity and the Italian passion for art and tradition.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
My extraordinary and gifted teachers have continually inspired my pursuit of excellence.

What are you proudest of and why?
I am most proud of my Piano Concerto, the most challenging thing I have ever done.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
I would like to have a musical produced.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
My music, my fiction, and my screenplays have all received recognition.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
The reservoir, whether I am walking around it or viewing it from my window.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
I love Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani.

What is your favorite drink?
Vodka Tonic.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
Mistaking Bette Midler for a Westchester housewife.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Right now it is The Mark.

What is your favorite Manhattan book?

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
The Conservancy garden—my favorite in New York.

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
My incredible Pilates teacher at Integrative Care.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
Having my music performed in Zankel at Carnegie Hall.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
I have supported the arts.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrated:  natural beauty.  Overrated:  Times Square.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Can’t help saying that your column about Mitzi Perdue was my favorite, though she is a Mover and Shaker. 

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not? (please send us your picture drinking it!)
I have—at home—but no picture.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I am working on a masters in Psychology at Penn.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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