hochberg, phyllisPhyllis Hochberg Siegel, Esq.

I am one of the lucky ones. I grew up in a tightly knit, loving family.  As my brother and I followed high school and college with advanced degrees, my mother, Ruth Hochberg, continued her education, earning her PhD in psychology. She began her AGPA/Group Foundation journey in 1974.

I watched and learned as Mom involved herself in the organization, as a presenter, committee member, Committee Chair, and Board Member of both AGPA and the Foundation. During those years, I wondered what drew her to devote so much of her energy to the organization.

My first meaningful contact with the Foundation occurred in 1984 following the death of my brother.  The strength and power of the group only began to make real sense to me after my mother established the Mitchell Hochberg Memorial Public Education Fund in my brother’s honor.  Here was my family standing up and saying, “we believe so strongly in the power of the group to heal, that we establish an endowment to provide an annual public education program at the AGPA meeting, open to the public and the professionals who are part of AGPA.”  This was a big deal, and its message was not lost on me. When Mom was named Woman of the Year, a scholarship fund was created for a single female parent to attend the annual meeting, to honor my Grandmother, herself a single parent raising two children alone.

I began to tag along with Mom at various annual meetings, and found a community of caring, intelligent and forward-thinking individuals whose company I enjoyed and who welcomed me in their midst.  

As I became more interested in and better educated about the work of the organization and began to observe in my day to day life how groups function and effect change, I began to think about whether there was a place for me in this community.  My work as an attorney with the Capital Group Companies, provided an entree for me with their generous matching contributions for charities actively supported by their employees.  When Mom and I began to discuss the future, she asked me whether I would be interested in continuing her work on the Foundation Board, once she was ready to move off.  We talked about how nice it would be for us to be on the Board together for some years and the rest is history. 

As I sit here today, moving into the fifth month of pandemic isolation, the absence of group interaction has left a huge hole.   The social feedback, camaraderie and reality check from my “groups” is missing.  And in their absence I am acutely aware of the power of my groups to provide balance and insight in my life.  It is no wonder that it is so effective in the therapeutic setting.

I joined the Foundation Board in 2003, to participate in the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to Group.  The Foundation is my charity of choice and I am committed to further its work.  I have been surrounded by warmth and love from this group of extraordinary individuals who have embraced me in my own right.  Mom must have known that AGPA and the Foundation would become my very special extended family.

My Mom was my best friend.  It is a privilege to be able to carry on her legacy.