Margaret Hardy: From Tutor to Board Chair

November 30, 2017

Some people are called to a career that allows them to serve others.

For those who wish to defend a person’s rights, law may be the logical path. For those who wish to help individuals improve their physical well-being, nursing might make the most sense.

UMFS Board Chair Margaret Hardy chose both.

Nursing diploma from Johnston-Willis Hospital School of Nursing in Richmond: Check. Juris Doctor degree from William and Mary: Check.

Somewhere along the way, she also found time to earn an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Richmond and an MBA from Old Dominion University.

“The real answer is I just like going to school,” Margaret said with a smile from the 24th-floor offices of Sands Anderson PC in downtown Richmond, where she’s the firm’s first female president.

It’s fitting then that one of her earliest involvements with UMFS was in the classroom.

“Prior to joining the Board of Directors [in 2009], Margaret volunteered as a tutor to youth in Charterhouse School,” said Greg Peters, UMFS President and CEO. “From a tutor to Board Chair, Margaret’s integrity, commitment and wise council are deeply respected and valued throughout UMFS, our community and Virginia.”

Margaret has been with Sands Anderson since 1995. She’s the firm’s healthcare group leader, and her practice focuses on the defense of healthcare providers in medical malpractice actions. Her connection to UMFS began when HIPAA was first being implemented. Margaret was leading training presentations at the time, and UMFS enlisted her expertise.

“She worked tirelessly with my staff so UMFS could become HIPAA compliant,” Greg said. A short time later she was asked to join the UMFS Board.

“She embraced our mission as an unwavering champion for high-risk children and families,” Greg said. “And when asked to join our Board, she readily and wholeheartedly contributed more of her time and talents.”

Margaret lauded the invitation to join the Board as an opportunity to gain “a greater understanding and appreciation for what the organization does and the importance of the direct services it provides to children.”

“What has always impressed me,” she said, “and the reason I wanted to go on the Board to begin with, was the commitment of the staff at all levels, their dedication to the mission and their attitude toward service to the clients.”

And of the many services provided by UMFS, there’s one Margaret knows particularly well from her days as a psychiatric nurse.

“Mental health is a pervasive issue at all levels,” she said, adding that it’s too often addressed in crisis mode and in response to tragedy. “In almost every incidence, you see in hindsight evidence of where intervention could have happened and could have made a difference.”

Proper care often either isn’t available or isn’t sought, Margaret added. In some instances, it’s that someone simply “fell through the cracks.” She said the need to look in depth at preventative care is urgent and applauds UMFS for being progressive in this area.

“As the environment changes and the way services are delivered changes, in order to stay current, organizations like UMFS have to adapt and change,” she said. “UMFS has a remarkable history of being able to do that.”

Greg credited Margaret as being vital to UMFS’ flexibility, citing her “unique professional background and adaptive leadership style.”

“Combined with her passion for high-risk children and families, Margaret has had an immense impact on me and UMFS as we adapt and grow in an uncertain environment.”