“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ann Hight, a stalwart supporter and tireless advocate for Women At Work from its beginning in 1979, and an early member of its Board and later its President, died peacefully on May 7, 2017, at Kaiser Sunset Hospital in Los Angeles. With humor to the end, she advised friends who came to visit: “Wear something black.” Ann was a working woman for the ages: From bowling alley pin-operator to supervising a typing pool; from Saks Fifth Avenue model to becoming the second woman hired by Dean Witter Securities and its first woman Senior Vice President. She was in the field of stockbrokerage and financial services for Dean Witter (now Morgan Stanley) for 28 years at its offices in Pasadena.
Those associated with Women At Work through the years had nothing but praise for Ann. Betty Ann Jansson, first Executive Director of Women At Work who held that position for 25 years, said: “Ann was a great friend and wonderful leader. She was extremely helpful to me when I was Executive Director at Women At Work. She always advocated for women in the work place and truly made a difference in many women’s lives. She will be greatly missed.” Melinda Carmichael, current Women At Work President, said of Ann: “Ann Hight was a bigger-than-life personality in the history of Women At Work. Originally founded in 1979 as the ‘Women’s Public Policy Research Center,’ Ann’s signature appears on the Articles of Incorporation on June 23, 1987, that changed the name of the organization to ‘Women At Work’ and amended the Articles to ‘…perform services and programs in areas of special concern to women in order to help women become economically independent and in order to promote the welfare of women.’” Former President Uma Shrivastava’s words echo those of Betty Ann Jansson: “Ann will be missed and remembered as a woman pioneer in the field of financial consulting. Women At Work will most remember her ardent support of women’s rights, her many leadership roles, her candor and her support and generosity toward Women At Work.” Sandy Greenstein, also a former Women At Work Board President, said: “Ann was notorious for insisting on efficiency and quality, applying good humor in her quest to keep fellow Board members on track. She consistently excelled at fulfilling all Board responsibilities, generously contributing her time, talents and funds.”
Ann was born in Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in psychology, then in moved to Southern California in the early 1950s.
Ann was a leader from the very beginning. After moving to Pasadena in 1966, she was appointed to the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education in 1970. She, along with PUSD Board member Albert Lowe and Superintendent Ray Cortines, led the effort to integrate the PUSD school system, a courageous stand at that time in the civil rights movement. She served as President of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, President of Woman At Work, and was a Board member of the League of Women Voters, the YWCA, the Pasadena City Council Foundation, the Civic Center Operating Company, the Pasadena Utilities Commission and many other organizations.
In 2015, Ann moved to the Monte Cedro senior living community in Altadena, where she spent her last years. Although a life-long Republican, Ann’s liberal convictions grew stronger in recent years as she saw the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”
Ann was preceded in death by her husband Tom Hight in 2002 and her son Donald in 2015; she is survived by her son Jim, and granddaughter Lindsey Clint.