Changing The Story – Interview With MAT_Designation Moms of the Week!

Changing The Story – Interview With MAT_Designation Moms of the Week!



If you read Party with Moms regularly, you already are familiar with the work of Greenwich moms, Kaile Zagger and Diane Powis on establishing the MAT Designation to educate physicians about the early signs of Ovarian Cancer. In conjunction with Yale New Haven Health, Greenwich Hospital, and Discovery to Cure, the MAT designation is a rigorous course and exam provided to non-oncology doctors to help them understand symptoms, genetics and family history to effectively screen their female patients.

Recently, MAT held its first fundraising event – Cycle for Superwoman was a 45 minute cycling ride held at Soul Cycle Greenwich on September 17th to provide funds for the early detection education platform. Party with Moms interviewed some of the moms from the MAT Advisory Board.

What do you love to do with your children? How old are they? And what is your greatest wish for them? 

I have two boys, ages 5.5 and 2.5. I’m such a believer in the importance of spending time outside together. It’s a combination of so many important things – fresh air, sunshine, exercise, an appreciation for nature, imaginative play, and they always seem to play better together there. Specifically, Friday evenings spent at Tod’s together after a busy week are my absolute favorite. – MEGAN

Who has had the biggest influence upon you? 

My husband. He has taught me to do everything with passion and to perfection. In addition, he taught me about how to find humor everyday. He tells me a funny story every single day when he gets home. He just chooses to see the humor and entertainment value in every situation. – SYLVIA

My father. He’s no longer with us but his influence lives on. He was the definition of work hard, play hard. An accomplished dentist & horse breeder/owner by day and the life of the party by night. The most influential gift he gave us though, was an appreciation for nature – in his spare time he’d build rock walls and ponds and did a lot of outdoor sports – gardening, hiking, boating, snowmobiling, skiing. He practically lived outdoors. And in his absence I feel his presence around me in the most gorgeous sunsets, blossoming flowers, rushing waves and rural landscapes. Because of him I really do try to stop and smell the roses. – ALEXIS

I have been blessed with so many incredible mentors and influencers throughout my career but there is one that has been really defining for me. My current COO at Bank of NY Mellon, Nancy Reyda. Nancy has a profound effect on everyone who comes into contact with her and she embodies everything a leader should be. She makes us all want to be our very best and it is contagious to all around her. – KRYS 

What quality do you most admire in a mother? 

I am fortunate to know so many wonderful moms and truly admire them for countless reasons! I’d say the quality I most admire in a mother is an ability to listen.  Over the years raising my kids (now 18 and 15), in times of conflict, I have struggled with reacting to my children with an impulsive “WHAT?” instead of holding back to listen to the full story. I admire the calm listeners who can keep it under control and tune into their kids, even in those stressful moments. – DIANE

Motherhood definitely changes us in beautiful, unexpected ways. There are many qualities I admire about mothers but I think the thing I admire most is that instinctual, ‘momma bear’ mode that comes out when your child really needs something. You can always find a passionate advocate in a mother – to nurture, protect and guide along the way. It’s that unwavering love and passion that makes kids feel secure. – ALEXIS 

Besides motherhood, what other careers/opportunities have you enjoyed? 

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy many career opportunities, in America and abroad. After living in Chicago, Miami Beach and NYC, I ended up in London, where I settled with my husband (and eventually 2 children) and was blessed with the opportunity to live and work in this amazing city for many years. However, even without a language barrier, there’s a fundamental difference in the way business is conducted, relationships are handled and how one conducts oneself, all of which are learned through experience, resilience and a lot of “research” at the pub! While in London, I graduated with distinction with a Master’s in Science and went to work for the Investor Relations team of the Royal Mail, the (formerly) state-owned postal service, where we were tasked with executing the most ambitious privatization in the UK since the 1990s. That was quite the experience and I’m proud to say I was a part of it. – LIZ

What are your strongest qualities? 

A chameleon of sorts, I am highly adaptable to a change in environment and find great joy in new experiences and places (needless to say, staying still requires great self-discipline). I like to keep the peace and maintain balance, so playing the mediator comes a bit naturally. I suppose a propensity to ask questions and listen to peoples’ stories is a byproduct of that, as I love a good round of golf or going for coffee, just chatting (and… perhaps… on occasion… giving advice)! – LIZ

Were you happiest in elementary, middle, high school or college? Please explain why. 

Looking back, I was blissfully happy in elementary school in an “ignorance is bliss” sort of way. I liked school, my group of friends, I excelled in sports and my family was healthy and supportive. My beloved mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40, when I was in middle school. After a long and painful eight-year battle, she succumbed to the disease towards the end of my time in college. Her years of illness and the consequent struggles and family heartache overshadow my middle school, high school and college years. – DIANE

What do you like to do for fun and what is your idea of a perfect day?

For fun I like to travel and explore new cities. My perfect day is boating with friends and family. Anything outdoors enjoying the sunshine with my favorite people. – KRYS

What is one of your favorite books? Movies? 

I have always loved to read, especially historical fiction. I still think about The Nightingale even though I read it years ago. It is a powerful story set during World World II of finding the courage to face impossible choices, resilience, motherhood (natural and by choice), family, and true friendship. – MEGAN

Favorite Book – Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts 
Favorite Movie – The Princess Bride
– LIZ 

Book – so hard to pick just one! I really like Checklist Manifestoand on the novel side, Love in the Time of Cholera. – SYLVIA

What is your favorite type of food and what do you love to cook? 

I’m a big foodie so I like to try everything once. My favorite cuisine is probably Mediterranean or Thai. I most like to cook hearty winter soups. – KRYS

I’m glad Krystn answered the cooking part because I don’t cook! Favorite food… so many!! Mediterranean, Brazilian and Italian. – SYLVIA 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

One place I still need to go when the kids are older is Japan. Eat, explore, repeat! – SYLVIA

I love to travel. Places on my bucket list – African Safari, Back to Italy especially the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como. Greece, Paris and Switzerland. Clear to say I adore Europe 🙂 – ALEXIS

Where is your favorite place to Party with Moms and what is your drink of choice? 

Anywhere in good company. I’m loving the new Douro! Drink of choice – Caipirinha, of course! – SYLVIA

“Good Red Wine, Good Friends, Good Conversation – that’s my type of party! And on a nice Friday evening when you can do this at Tod’s Point and bring the kids to play – priceless!” – ALEXIS 

Follow MAT on Instagram @mat_designation