Category Archives: Alumni

TransfORming Our Globe – Jeanette Stock ’09

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe blog series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Jeanette Stock ’09, who is not only taking the tech industry by storm but also paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse tech landscape.

Jeanette grew up hearing stories from family members who attended the school before her and in 2006, she was delighted to learn the news that she too would become a Tiger.

The Ridley lifestyle was the perfect fit for Jeanette, who didn’t have to choose between music or biology, sports or activities – she could do it all. She was able to explore her many interests, strengthen her academic proficiency and learn invaluable skills (beyond the classroom) that would carry over to her post-secondary career.

  

“My time at Ridley taught me not to take myself so seriously (something I still struggle to do). Having friends who taught me to see fun in almost everything (I’m looking at you, Charlotte Macdonald) helps keep me from working too hard, or becoming boring (because really, there’s no worse fate).”                                    – Jeanette Stock ’09

Jeanette gained skills to help her stay motivated and driven and was taught the power of community, leaving Ridley with strong foundation upon which she could build her career.

Jeanette continued her education at Queen’s University, studying Life Sciences and graduating with a degree in English Literature. She spent a semester abroad, studying Chinese history and global development in Shanghai. Beyond her academic career, Jeanette volunteered as an Advanced Medical First Responder and assisted in the launch of a health education programme in Kenya over the course of two summers. Upon graduating – with a distinguished resumé at hand – Jeanette began to work for Jack.org; a charity that was started after the loss of a fellow graduate.

Her path was winding, yet Jeanette’s vast experiences were able to help her discover what she sought in a career. When she was confident in the direction she wanted to move in, Jeanette tapped into Ridley’s vast network of alumni and reconnected with Old Ridleians, such as Anna Mackenzie ’07. Jeanette was able to gather invaluable advice, that helped her navigate her way into the tech industry and uncover where she wanted to be within an organization. She leaned on the guidance of Venture for Canada to help kick-start her career and now works for Highline BETA as a New Venture Associate.

Although her repertoire is already filled with evidence of determination and talent, perhaps Jeanette’s biggest achievement has been Venture Out. Venture Out is an initiative launched by Jeanette and her peers in 2016, with the goal of connecting LGBTQA+ people, working in technology, with career and networking opportunities. In 2017, Venture Out held its first conference; welcoming over 450 individuals to Canada’s first conference for LGBTQA+ students and professionals, seeking careers in the tech industry.

Since its launch, Venture Out has hosted nearly 1,000 individuals during events held at major companies such as: Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn. On the horizon is the second conference, happening March 15th-16th at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

“We have speakers coming from coast to coast, and sponsors and partners like Lyft, Airbnb, Shopify, Intelex, Hubba, and RBC will be hosting conversations about LGBTQ+ inclusion at their companies and beyond. It’s not just a lot of fun (though it is that) – it’s also a pretty unique experience to learn about LGBTQA+ experiences in tech and celebrate the community’s contributions to the companies and technologies we interact with every day.” – Jeanette Stock ’09

Jeanette is shaping the landscape of the tech industry; making it a more diverse and inclusive place. As she moves forward, she hopes to have an impact on the future of technology in Canada, through Venture Out and Female Funders (a learning platform and community that empowers women to invest in start-ups). She is also striving to become a tech leader herself.

As she reflects on her time at Ridley and the path that has led her to where she is today, Jeanette has two pieces of advice for Ridleians who are about to embark on their own professional journeys.

1. Reach out to interesting people. Connecting with individuals who have established varying careers can help you discover the best path.

 “It wasn’t until I stopped thinking about what I wanted to be and started thinking about what I wanted to do every day, that I ended up on the path I’m on now.

Taking some strangers for coffee and learning about the ups and downs of their roles would’ve gotten me there faster, and saved me a great deal of soul-searching.” – Jeanette Stock ’09

2. Share your gratitude and appreciation for those who have helped you reach your potential.

“Thank your parents. Seriously.” – Jeanette Stock ’09

 

 

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Marina Radovanovic ’14

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe blog series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Marina Radovanovic ’14, who is embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavour to facilitate philanthropic efforts of others. Her company, HeroHub – which will change the way we connect with charities – was one of three finalists given the chance to pitch to Bruce Croxon ’79 and other successful entrepreneurs during Brock University’s Monster Pitch.

During her illustrious time at Ridley, which spanned from 2011 to 2014, Marina perfected the balance between her academic career and her co-curricular one. While maintaining academic proficiency, she simultaneously became a driving force behind the First Girls hockey team, was heavily involved in Mandeville House and was Captain of the First Girls soccer team. While she bounced from one passion to another, she could often be found living out our school’s motto, Terar Dum Prosim, which she continues to embody today. “Ridley is what made me fall in love with giving back and committing my free time to community service work,” shares Marina.

Marina was introduced to the world of business during her first year at Ridley and soon discovered that the industry held limitless possibilities.  She was enthralled in her classes, and thanks to experiential assignments, took a keen interest in the area of entrepreneurship.

“Mr. [Andrew] McNiven gave me the drive to do my best. His implementation of ‘real-life’ business projects in class formed my dream of being an entrepreneur in the future.”                           – Marina Radovanovic ’14

Marina’s entrepreneurial spirit and innate desire to give back persisted throughout her Ridley years. After graduating in 2014 and settling into life at Brock University, she chose to spend her free time improving the lives of others. She and her future business partner began scouring the web in search of charitable events in the area but had a difficult time turning up results. That is when HeroHub was born.

HeroHub will allow individuals to search for events, explore volunteer opportunities and discover what types of donations an organization will accept. On the other side, charities will be able to create a profile and in turn, gain support. Although they are still in the midst of development, Marina and her partner have taken every opportunity to research, explore and promote their new-found business.

Most recently, Marina participated in Monster Pitch; a competition at Brock University that allows young entrepreneurs to pitch their business idea to successful professionals. HeroHub was one of only three finalists to present on stage. Among the judges was Bruce Croxon ’79, Ridley alumnus well-known for his role on Dragon’s Den. Marina reflects, “to see an Old Ridleian and three other renowned judges fighting for the microphone to provide feedback for your business, there are no words to explain the jolt of adrenaline shivering through your body.” The competition offered Marina and her partner the opportunity to effectively promote their new venture while gaining valuable insight into what makes a business successful.

 

If her drive to change the world wasn’t enough, Marina has made it her goal to empower women in the field of business. She hopes her story will inspire young women to pursue their goals, regardless of what obstacles may stand in their way.

As a recent graduate and a young entrepreneur, Marina leaves her fellow Ridleians with this advice:

“Great ideas come from great passion. When you do what you love, you will never look back. The positive light from doing what you love will unknowingly motivate others to do the same!” – Marina Radovanovic ’14


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

The Gift of a Ridley Education

The story of Ben Johnson ’17 is that of a young man whose challenges seemed insurmountable – until the kindness of a stranger and the gift of a Ridley College education changed the course of his life.

Ben always enjoyed a love of learning and possessed an innate mastery of science, but prior to Ridley, he did not have a nurturing community that would allow him to excel. After years of struggling to overcome challenges, Ben came to a critical juncture in his Grade 11 year, when he was moved to an emergency shelter.

At the shelter, he found it difficult to focus on his studies while dealing with the challenging circumstances of his personal life. In spite of the hardships he was faced with, he recognized he had to persevere and pursue his dreams. With the caring guidance of his godmother, Ben’s grades skyrocketed. Encouraged by this scholastic success, he began to explore the possibilities available to him after high school.

Ben’s drive and determination did not go unnoticed. Julia Bertollo, former Director of Summer Programmes, invited Ben to attend Ridley’s Summer Academy – which included his tuition and board. While studying during the summer, he learned more than just Grade 12 chemistry. He discovered the importance of independent living. At the same time, he took advantage of Ridley’s music department and practiced his co-curricular skills.

While Ben’s talents flourished that summer, an anonymous donor took notice and decided to fund Ben’s final year of high school at Ridley. This generous gift allowed him to attend a school where he could continue to thrive, with the anticipation of continuing to university.

While in Grade 12 at Ridley, Ben embraced the vast opportunities given to him. He became an editor for the TigerPost, Ridley’s student-run publication and was a valued member of the film club, writing the score and recording music for a student film. He immersed himself in the arts, which enabled him to experience the positive influence creativity has on one’s academic achievements.

Ben viewed his academic success as a personal responsibility and took his education very seriously. “As someone who has the desire to make the most out of an education, Ridley was an exceptional place for me to study,” says Ben. Although he was at Ridley for only one year, he ensured that he absorbed as much experiential and academic knowledge as he possibly could. He loved that he was able to incorporate his personal interests into all his classes and personalize his education.

“My Ridley experience was very well-balanced, proving to be encouraging, both on a personal and academic level. My classes were all intriguing, as they expanded on the material in a way that allowed me to discover the various areas of what I personally liked about the subject at hand. My classes, in particular, were mainly in the sciences, however, I frequently took opportunities to bridge together different disciplines in a way that was of my personal interest. I also appreciated the challenges: the workload was demanding, but it was only for the benefit of my education, as it fostered important time management skills and efficient study habits that I know will be necessary for lifelong success.” – Ben Johnson ’17

Ben was the recipient of three scholarships by the time he graduated Ridley. The first was the Brock Niagara Principal’s Scholarship, which he was awarded alongside fellow Old Ridleian, David Biggar ’17. This award is presented to students in the area that demonstrate exceptional academic results as well as a dedication to community service. Not long after, Ben was awarded Ridley’s Robert J. Malyk Prize for Biology. “I was able to meet Bob in person and thank him; he generously funds this annual scholarship to those who share his passion of Life Sciences and hold significant potential in their scientific careers,” says Ben. Most recently, he was the recipient of the PenFinancial Scholarship after he submitted a moving video that expresses the obstacles he’s overcome and the goals he hopes to reach.

This past September, Ben began his post-secondary journey at Brock University in Neuroscience, with a focus on Neurocomputing. While he has only just begun his programme, he is setting his sights on the future. “Main career pathways are research or medicine. Both interest me, however, I am currently aiming for medical school following my undergraduate programme,” declares Ben.

“[At Ridley] I had the opportunity to experience a wider scope of an education. I find this translates effectively to the university environment, as not only am I already engaging in clubs and activities on campus, but a broader skill set makes me able to make deeper connections with the new people I meet.” – Ben Johnson ’17

As a student who embraced all that Ridley had to offer and didn’t take this opportunity for granted, Ben says this: “My advice is to embrace your opportunities. You are in a position that can bring you to great success if you put in the effort. There are others in this world who do not have the same opportunities, so always be thankful. The main way to show appreciation of your opportunities is to make the most out of them, which means putting in blood, sweat and tears. But at the same time, don’t forget to take a moment and enjoy the blessings that you have, for it will help you stay motivated.”

It is hoped that Ben’s story is an inspiration, demonstrating how acts of kindness can powerfully transform the lives of talented youth.

Donate now to enable more bright minds to unlock their potential at Ridley.

TransfORming Our Globe – Colt Iggulden ’03

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe blog series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Colt Iggulden ’03, whose diverse and creative career has led him back home, where he is hoping to change the way hard work is rewarded in Canadian organizations.

Colt began Ridley in 1998 and spent the next five years on campus. As the last cohort to receive a Grade 13 education, Colt and his peers were given an additional year at Ridley to discover and explore their passions. Colt was always invested in the arts – at Ridley and in his career to follow. He also recognized the importance of leadership skills; joining the Cadet Programme, the Drill Team and taking on the role as a Prefect in his final year.

“My time at Ridley helped lay a foundation of skills that I draw on daily. It taught me time management, collaboration, attentive listening and creative thinking. As well, my time in the theatre prepared me for public speaking and presenting with ease. Whether for a school project, Chapel announcements, being in the play, on a team or as a Prefect – these personal development skills were ones that found their way into the many areas of school life.”                                                                          – Colt Iggulden ’03

After graduating, Colt explored several areas of the arts – both in his education and his professional career.  Starting on the east coast, he studied photography at the International Centre of Photography in New York City. He was able to connect with his subjects on a deeper level. “I always enjoyed finding those stills after a shoot where you could see the flicker in an eye that was truly honest and revealed a glimpse into the soul of the subject,” recalls Colt. He enjoyed the challenge of capturing someone’s character and story in a single image. Colt also attended the Lee Strasberg Centre for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, where he studied acting. He refined his ability to read body language and build relationships while on the west coast; helping both his television production and sales careers.

As Colt gained skills, explored creative avenues and sought out learning opportunities, he found himself working with alumnus, John Brunton ’73 at Insight Productions. He began as an intern and then spent the next 10 years working his way up the ladder, producing some of Canada’s most popular shows. He worked with big names like Rihanna, Queen, Bon Jovi and Maroon 5 and on shows like Big Brother Canada and Canadian Idol. He thrived in the fast-paced and competitive nature of television. The collaboration and opportunity to learn made up for the long hours he put in to succeed.

“Ridley teaches its students how to be able to adapt to myriad situations. It is because of these skills learned that I have been able to move and adapt more readily into the differing careers that I have been fortunate to pursue.”                                                   – Colt Iggulden ’03

If you had asked Colt years ago if his media career would contribute to a successful sales career, he would have said no, but his new career path would indicate the opposite.

When the opportunity arose to join his father’s family business, Colt jumped at the chance to bring his ideas to P.I. Incentives. Colt’s father, Paul Iggulden ’72, started P.I. Incentives in 1990; bringing rewards to employees through incentive programmes. Over 20 years later – as businesses have had to adapt and compete – Colt and his sister, Britt decided they needed to bring something new to the table. With the help of Scott Snowden ’97 (who brought their platform to life), the siblings launched  WRKSHOP. WRKSHOP is a state of the art reward point platform that allows its members access to premium brands at the most competitive prices. With no initiation, setup or membership fees, registered organizations of WRKSHOP have the option to reward points to their employees for achieving milestones and accomplishments. Members can also purchase points at any time to save on hundreds of products from SONOS, Links of London, Riedel, Callaway and more. “Organizations are made up of such diverse groups of people, with a host of interests and passions both inside and outside the workplace. Why not let people be rewarded with items that speak to those interests? Why not give them the choice to choose their own reward?” asks Colt.

Beyond providing a platform that celebrates the personality of employees, organizations also reap rewards when it comes to partnering with WRKSHOP and P.I. Incentives. He shared that at P.I. Incentives, over 80% of their team has been with them for over 10 years, proving the worth of reward. The more an employee feels they are appreciated, the harder they work and the longer they stay with their employer. A positive work environment is important for both the company and its employees. Colt is hoping that (with his own hard work and dedication) WRKSHOP can become the leading incentive programme in Canada. Although his journey has been winding, taking him down many paths, Colt is eager to see where he and his family can take both P.I. Incentives and WRKSHOP.

With as many experiences as he’s had, Colt had some wonderful advice for Ridleians who are looking to their futures:

“Try working in various industries. I worked during the summers landscaping, I gave tours on a tour bus and interned on the production side of various TV shows. These experiences in my career infancy helped me harness different skills that would turn out to be vital in my career now. I learned that you have to get your hands dirty, that if you want to capture attention you better be engaged in your audience, and that when the pressure is on, that’s when real leadership is most important. Don’t be afraid to reach out to contacts and continue to grow your contact pool. Set goals and then reset them regularly. Stand behind your ideas. Even if the first ones don’t take, keep an entrepreneurial spirit alive. Think outside the box. Sometimes the best ideas are the ones that break the mold.”      – Colt Iggulden ’03


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com or use the form below.

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TransfORming Our Globe – Jacqueline O’Rourke ’14

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe blog series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Jacqueline O’Rourke ’14, who recently travelled to Uganda to conduct research for Queen’s University.

Ridley has always been a part of Jacqueline’s life. Her parents were Heads of House, so she grew up on campus, before beginning at Ridley herself in Grade 5. Over the course of her eight years at Ridley, Jacqueline was fully immersed in all that the school had to offer. She was a gifted debater, skilled athlete, talented actress and valued member of the global organization, Amnesty International. She also held the role of School Prefect in her final year and was a part of Ridley’s first cohort of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme graduates. Upon Prize Day, Jacqueline was able to look back on her time at Ridley and feel pride in her accomplishments and excitement for her future.

She left Ridley to study Concurrent Education at Queen’s University – majoring in Global Development and minoring in French. “I think the fast-paced environment, and academic rigor of Ridley prepared me well for my time at university. I quickly learned that time management would be key to my success at university,” shares Jacqueline. Her programme has given her the opportunity to gain experience teaching; even returning to campus to assist teaching in the Lower School and during our Summer Programmes offerings.

Jacqueline has opted to keep her university schedule as enriching as it was at Ridley; participating in activities that span many capacities and provide a well-rounded experience. She is the Marketing Director for the Queen’s Conference on Education and the co-president of the grassroots organization, Nyantende Foundation, which helps students from the Democratic Republic of Congo enroll in school.

This summer, Jacqueline was the recipient of the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship, allowing her to travel to Kampala, Uganda to conduct research. The opportunity presented itself when Jacqueline’s professor reached out and encouraged her to apply. After her course entitled ‘AIDS, Power and Poverty’, Jacqueline was particularly interested in how alternative methods of development could lead to greater economic empowerment of the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda. The fellowship was the perfect opportunity to give back locally and globally, while satisfying her own intellectual curiosity.

During this once-in-a-lifetime research trip, Jacqueline worked with non-profit organizations, such as Rainbow Mirrors Uganda; an organization that provides employment opportunities to transwomen who have been ostracized due to their sexual orientation. Working with Spectrum Uganda, conducting interviews and attending workshops were Jacqueline’s favourite part of her trip abroad.

“Prior to travelling to Uganda, I was aware of the general political situation, as I had researched the statistics surrounding this issue and the main problems affecting the LGBTQ+ community for my research paper. However, having the chance to interview and listen to the interviewees personal stories and struggles deepened my level of understanding. The resilience, strength, and determination of the interviewees to fight for what they stand for despite the numerous, and often dangerous, obstacles in their way, is something I truly admire.” – Jacqueline O’Rourke ’14

While her focus this summer was research, Jacqueline had some personal takeaways from her time in Uganda. Jacqueline reflected, “this experience truly tested my personal level of resiliency and grit. I have always stated the importance of a growth mindset, and this summer emphasized my need to follow through on this philosophy.” During her research trip, she found herself experiencing many complications and setbacks. Instead of letting the obstacles limit her, she explored new ways to overcome them. She says remaining positive and moving forward when faced with adversity were key to her success.

Now that she’s returned to Kingston for another year at Queen’s, her passion for education has become even stronger. When she completes her Bachelor of Education in the coming years, she plans to teach youth abroad, before returning to Canada as an educator. “I want to combine my two passions of education and international mindedness to inspire new generations to think beyond their personal circumstances and promote a growth mindset,” shares Jacqueline.

This globally-minded Tiger encourages Ridleians to chase their dreams and go after what they’re truly passionate about. ” There’s a difference between extrinsic (external factors that push you) and intrinsic (personal reasons) motivation, and I believe that if you find that intrinsic motivation and are passionate about what you are doing, you are guaranteed to succeed,” urges Jacqueline.

 


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

 

Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger

When Tigers graduate, their relationships with Ridley don’t end; our alumni continue on as proud members of the Ridley community. For some, the connection to Ridley is so great, that they find themselves returning to campus, as faculty and staff members. You know what they say – ‘once a Tiger, always a Tiger‘.

Here are our Old Ridleians who are contributing to future generations of students:

Mike Moulden ’70
Years at Ridley: 1967-1970
Position: Senior Development Officer & Manager of Planned Giving
Favourite thing about Ridley: “A diverse family of faculty/staff with amazing students from around the world.”

 

 

Geoff Park ’80                                               
Years at Ridley: 1976-1980 (Gr. 10-13)
Position: Teacher, Department Head, Soccer Coach,  Squash Coach & Former Head of House
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The relationship between faculty and students. Because we do so much together, we know each other better and form stronger bonds that last forever.”

 

Charlene (Ebert) Hutton ’83
Years at Ridley: 1981-1983
Position: Guidance & Academics Administrative Assistant
Favourite thing about: “The community feeling among faculty and students.”

 

 

 

Paul Filion ’86
Years at Ridley: 1981-1986
Position: Teacher & Ridley College Cadet Corps No.162 RCACC Commanding Officer
Favourite thing about Ridley: “Being in the classroom with students and watching them absorb new material and watching their eyes light up is a wonderful experience.”

 

Derek Dunkley ’87
Years at Ridley: 1980-1987
Position: History & Economics Teacher
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The cultural mosaic that is our community.”

 

 

 

Jay Tredway ’96
Years at Ridley: 1992-1996
Position: Director of Athletics & Department Head – Health and Physical Education
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The opportunity for students from all over the world to come to Canada and find their niche, their special place to thrive and grow in this amazingly diverse community.”

Anjali Kundi ’97
Years at Ridley: 1993-1997
Position: Health Centre Physician
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The great memories and friends I made.”

 

 

 

 

Wendy (Crossingham) Darby ’99
Years at Ridley: 1990-1999
Position: Librarian, Archivist & Extended Essay Coordinator
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The connections. I love that I can sit down with an alum from the 40s or the 80s and we can speak the same language and have a common understanding about life.”

 

Marcie Lewis ’03
Years at Ridley: 2000-2003
Position: Grade 6 Teacher & PYP Coordinator
Favourite thing about Ridley: “My favourite thing about Ridley is the wide variety of options that we provide all students. This allows students to explore and discover their strengths, interests, and passions in academics, athletics, the arts and service.”

Alexandra Little ’03
Years at Ridley: 1998-2003
Position: Admissions Officer (International Markets)
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The connections. Over the years, I have met so many people, from all over the world, who are strongly connected to and passionate about Ridley and their experiences here. The network of Ridleians is wide, but surprisingly closely knit.”

Kenn Corfield ’03
Years at Ridley: 1997–2001
Position: Sports Attendant
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The wide selection of programs available from sports to academics to extra-curricular clubs for students – there’s never a boring day here”

 

Celeste Doucet ’07
Years at Ridley: 2004-2007
Position: Primary/Junior French Teacher
Favourite thing about working at Ridley: “The wonderful group of colleagues I get to work with every day.”

 

 

Mackenzie Fowler ’11
Years at Ridley: 2003-2011
Position: New Media Coordinator & TigerPost Supervisor
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The nostalgia. In my position, I am tasked with capturing all of Ridley’s biggest moments and brightest achievements and because of that, I get to relive some of my favourite Ridley experiences and revisit my home away from home every day of the week.”

Nick Blaikie-Puk ’12
Years at Ridley:
2010-2012.
Position: Admissions Officer
Favourite thing about Ridley: “The connections! Thanks to Ridley, I’ve been fortunate enough to have more global experiences throughout my life. I’ve made friends from around the world, both as a student and as a staff member. I continue to learn through being in such a uniquely diverse environment, sharing my stories, and creating worldly opportunities for others.”

Jacob Toms-Boudreau ’13
Years at Ridley: 2008-2013
Position: General Maintenance Assistant
Favourite thing about Ridley: “Seeing students excited about playing/using with something I helped to setup/install.”

 

 

Additional Faculty & Staff: Robert Poe ’90, Alyssa Toffolo ’14

 

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Luc Brodeur ’14 & Laura Court ’14

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumni, Luc Brodeur ’14 and Laura Court ’14, who both recently competed for Canada at the U23 World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria.

Luc’s Journey
Luc Brodeur ’14 became a Ridleian in 2010. A natural-born athlete, he jumped at the chance to row when he began at Ridley. When Luc wasn’t out on the water, he was developing a passion for biology and acquiring leadership skills through the Cadet Programme. It wasn’t until his Grade 11 year that his rowing talents began to soar. Under the guidance of Olympian and Coach, Jason Dorland ’83, Luc quickly excelled in the sport.

“[Coach Dorland’s] philosophy and training program allowed me to push my limits every day and to become a humble, mature, and disciplined oarsman. Improvements in terms of my fitness, technique and mentality were made in very large amounts over the two years spent with him. This was when university coaches began to pay attention to how I was doing and when they became interested in me. I owe a lot to Jason.”
– Luc Brodeur ’14

When Luc graduated – alongside his fellow U23 National teammate, Laura Court ’14 – he took the skills he learned on the water and in the classroom with him, beginning his post-graduate studies at Brock University before heading to the University of Victoria to study Biology and row with its varsity team.

This summer, Luc was named to the U23 National Team, competing for Canada in the Men’s quadruple sculls race. This was Luc’s third time competing at the World Championships – once at the Junior level and twice at the U23 level. Team Canada performed well this year in Bulgaria, with Luc’s quad placing 7th in the finals.

While Luc is making headlines in the world of rowing, he doesn’t plan to stop there. He’s striving towards goals in both rowing and science, with hopes of making it to the Olympics and becoming a researcher in the field of human genetics.

Laura’s Journey
Laura Court ’14 began Ridley in Grade 5, making her a “Lifer” by the time she graduated high school in 2014. She started her rowing career as a coxswain in Grade 9, where she was tasked with the responsibility of both steering the shell during a race and coaching her crew to the finish line. She spent all four years with the Ridley College Rowing Club, was involved in the arts on campus and was a House Captain during her final year.

Upon graduation, Laura began her studies at Brock University. She is currently in her fourth year of Psychology and has been an important member of Brock Rowing. “Ridley helped me understand what it was like to work hard and persevere and taught me time management skills, which help me juggle my studies and a hectic rowing schedule,” says Laura.

While rowing as a Brock Badger, Laura was given the opportunity to represent her school at the Canadian University Rowing Championships and has done so for the past three years. Laura’s coach recognized her drive and introduced her to the Rowing Canada coach in the Spring of 2016. In May 2017, Laura was invited to the Rowing Canada selection camp – alongside several Old Ridleians – and was named to the U23 National Team.

During the U23 World Championships in August 2017, Team Canada’s women’s eight crew captured gold during the finals. Laura’s big win has motivated her to take her talents even further, with hopes of making the U23 team again next year, followed by the Senior National team when she graduates university.

“Knowing that I still have a lot to learn and that I know I’m willing to put in the work to continue to progress is a big motivator. But another is the women I train with. They are a big reason I still enjoy waking up early. Having a taste of international competition at the U23 World Championships has made me that much more motivated. ”
– Laura Court ’14

Both Luc and Laura have worked tirelessly to pursue their goals, both in the classroom and on the water. To Ridleians who are unlocking their own potential and discovering their passions, they say this:

“One of the biggest things that current and future Ridleians should remember is to never stop believing that they can do great things. Anybody can do anything that they set their minds to. No matter how much adversity one must face to achieve greatness, it is important to never lose sight of what you want and to never give up. If there is something you want, go for it and don’t hold back.”
– Luc Brodeur ’14

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be patient. If I had never asked my coach what my next steps were, I wouldn’t have been able to take them. Then I had to be patient and wait for the right time. It’s all about the process, enjoy it. If you have a passion for something, don’t be afraid to pursue it.”                        – Laura Court ’14


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

 

 

Transforming our Globe – Radley Mackenzie ’03

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Radley Mackenzie ’03, who recently moved to Toronto after spending seven years in China, studying the language and advising multinational companies and smaller enterprises on how to navigate the Chinese market.

Radley had a culturally enriching childhood – living in Europe, the United States and Asia, before attending Ridley.  After three different high schools in three years, Ridley became his home away from home, as he attended the school from Grade 11 to OAC (formerly Grade 13). His two younger brothers also joined the Ridley ranks, spending four years at Ridley while their parents were posted to Beijing and Shanghai. Some of Radley’s biggest Ridley accomplishments include becoming a proud hockey player and team captain of the championship-winning First soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as potentially being the only student who persevered through two unsuccessful Prefectship applications.

“I suppose I studied pretty hard and did make one appearance for Ridley Idol somewhere in the mix”, shared Radley. “My grandfather was a champ boxer at Ridley back in the 1930s and my family has always had close links to the St. Catharines community, so Ridley was the perfect fit for a proper Canadian education when my folks shipped off to Beijing in 2000.”

Following graduation, Radley pursued a uniquely rewarding career path; accepting internship opportunities in Beijing, Shanghai and Chicago. After receiving his degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, he decided to reignite the momentum he had built in China. He returned and began with two semesters of Mandarin at top Chinese universities in Hanghzou and Beijing, which he notes as an undeniable advantage for native English-speakers looking to compete in the Chinese job market.

Radley’s grit paid off and allowed him to realize his ultimate goal of working for the Beijing 2008 Olympics as a Chinese speaking host for VIP/Sponsor guests – attending the opening ceremonies, cheering on Team Canada in rowing in its quest for gold, witnessing Usain Bolt win three gold medals and receiving a high-five from the sprinter on the streets of San Li Tun Bar Street were some of his expressed highlights.

Following the Olympics, Radley went on to work for the Ernst & Young advisory team in Shanghai and spent five years working for Washington, DC-based public affairs consulting firm, APCO Worldwide. While in Shanghai he was also elected to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for two terms (2011-2015) and was the Ridley Shanghai Branch Vice-President.

As is the case for many savvy Ridleians, Radley was forced to pivot and adapt in the early years of his career, having left the corporate world in Shanghai planning to pursue an MBA to help him transition back into North America, but instead deciding to write a book about his experiences in China and start his own consulting company to help him build his footprint in the North America market.

Today, he continues to advise North American companies on how to succeed in China and is now concentrated on his recent start-up, SinoSports Development (瑞麒国际体育教育有限公司) – with teams based in Beijing and Toronto focused on youth sports development in China. SinoSports is quickly emerging as the leading camp, tournament, training and market entry support platform for athletic development institutions and foreign sports companies. Radley and SinosSports recently partnered with the Ridley hockey programme this past April, to provide the first-ever prep school hockey camp in China for 40 skaters in Beijing.

Every Ridley graduate will chart their own path, but some advice from Radley to fellow Ridleians who are about to explore professional careers include:

Don’t be complacent: “Follow your curiosity and always look for ways to improve. This may require further education and certification, volunteering with people different than you, or taking on a side-gig, but compounding curiosity will open you up to opportunities you may have never thought of.”

Don’t be a conformist: “Life can take us in so many directions and don’t be afraid to create your own opportunities in ways friends, family, or colleagues may have never thought of. I love my cottage and the Toronto Blue Jays, but it is a big world out there.”

Think big: “Make sure you have a future vision or goal in mind as you gain experience and develop your skills at all stages of your life – even if your goal at that moment is only to take time to figure out what you truly want to do with the next chapter of your life.”

Radley remains a proud Ridley alumnus (with his foursome winning the 2017 annual RCA Golf Tournament!) and is happy to share his experiences of living, working and studying in China with ORs both young and old.

 


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

Alumnae Make Waves to Transform the Globe

Gillian Burt ’08 and Sarah McCusker ’08 spent the last year travelling the world, filming their documentary, Tied to the Sea – a call for greater protection of the world’s oceans. With a Ridley education deeply rooted in community service and global outreach, it is no surprise that these alumnae reconnected over their shared passion for changing the world.

Sarah McCusker ’08 & Gillian Burt ’08

About Gillian

Gillian Burt ’08 grew up with environmentally and socially conscious parents, instilling in her a lifelong commitment to community service. So much so, that when she graduated from Upper School, she had completed over 300 volunteer hours. She spent her final year of high school at Ridley; actively participating in sports, such as swimming and activities that focused on bettering the environment and the world. Her Ridley experience influenced her long after her graduation – increasing her global-mindedness and inspiring her to follow her dream of entering the education sector.

Upon graduation, Gillian went on to study Sociology and Anthropology, with a focus on International Development at the University of British Columbia Kelowna. She even volunteered abroad in Haiti and Uganda. She began her career working for notable non-profit organizations such as Right to Play, Engineers Without Borders and The Centre for Social Innovation. Gillian also spent time in Korea teaching English.

About Sarah

Coming from a long lineage of Ridleians, Sarah McCusker ’08 was well-acquainted with the school before even attending it. She began her Ridley journey in 2004, spending her entire secondary school career on campus. While at Ridley, Sarah was a part of the Environmental Club with Gillian and was a devoted Tiger athlete – leading the First Girls field hockey team and playing on the soccer team for all four years.

Like Gillian, Sarah also attended the University of British Columbia, where she studied Art History, before completing a programme in Communications Design offered by Emily Carr University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Sarah currently works as a graphic designer in Vancouver, British Columbia.

During their time in university, these Ridleians remained good friends. When Gillian left the West Coast, they lost touch; not reconnecting until 2016 through social media. While catching up on lost time, Gillian shared her vision for a short documentary she was eager to create. Soon enough, Sarah became a member of the team and they were aboard a flight to Thailand, beginning their Tied to the Sea journey.

The Documentary

Tied to the Sea Teaser Trailer from Tied to the Sea on Vimeo.

Tied to the Sea is a short documentary that explores the negative impacts that humanity has on our oceans. Through personal narratives, science and shocking footage, Tied to the Sea aims to evoke a sense of urgency and illuminate what we, as citizens of change, can do to protect the world’s marine ecosystems and water sources.

The idea for this documentary transpired while Gillian was teaching and living in Korea. She was spending most her time in or on the water and began to take notice of the marine devastation that was lying just below the surface.

“I had always been aware of the vast amount of pollution in the ocean, but I don’t think it fully hit me until I was up close to it on a regular basis and began to see, firsthand, the devastating effects on the environment. My inner academic started researching the problem and watching every documentary on the topic. I found that there were gaps in information covered by other documentaries and I recognized a need to speak directly to young people, equipping them with the knowledge and resources necessary to take action,” explains Gillian.

Over the course of the last year, Gillian (Co-writer, Director and Producer) and Sarah (Visual Designer) – along with their team – travelled to nine countries, across four continents to speak to scientists, activists and individuals with a commitment to defending the future of our planet.

“From Coastal First Nations groups in B.C. to scuba diving instructors in Thailand to marine scientists in Australia, everyone has a story to share and ideas on how we can take action.” – Gillian Burt ’08

The state of the environment is at a tipping point and an urgency exists to act now. Through their travels, the Tied to the Sea team discovered just how detrimental plastics and pollutants are to the health of the ocean. Speaking with concerned citizens around the world, Gillian and Sarah devised a plan of action to reverse these negative effects. Equipped with the knowledge of both the problems and the solutions, they hope to educate and raise awareness before it’s too late.

 

Returning home, the alumnae are now focusing on sharing their message on a global scale. To complete their film, the Tied to the Sea team has started a crowdfunding campaign, seeking support from friends, family and those who believe in the cause. The finished product will be shared online, at festivals and in schools around the world.

Support Tied to the Sea.
Follow Tied to the Sea on Facebook and Instagram.

“We want the film to act as an educational tool to use in schools as well as a catalyst for change, inspiring young people to take direct action… we are the generation with the greatest capacity for bringing about positive changes in the world.” – Gillian Burt ’08

The dedication and determination to changing the world shown by Gillian and Sarah are true traits of a Ridleian. To their fellow Tigers, Gillian and Sarah left this advice:

“Be patient with yourself and stay open to opportunities you wouldn’t normally go for – as you’re starting your career, no job is “beneath” you and you never know where you’re going to find your passion.  Don’t be afraid of an unconventional path. And pay as much attention to the person you are becoming as the career path you want to take. A strong character will often take you farther than academic achievement or bullet points on a resume… Do what you love, take time to figure that out, explore all your options and always remember you have the power to make a difference.”

TransfORming Our Globe – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ‘94

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of Ridley alumnus, Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94, who fell in love with music on campus and turned his passion into an award-winning career – producing music for Sony/ATV and many major artists.

Tawgs’ Ridley career began in 1989 and continued until 1992. During his three years, Tawgs would often find himself in the music studios, practicing on any instrument he could get his hands on. The more time he spent there, the more he fell in love with music. A Ridley faculty member encouraged Tawgs to join the orchestra, where he would have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow musicians on campus. While the time he spent honing his musical abilities left an impact on Tawgs, it was the facilities and programmes that he had access to through Ridley that put him on the right path, leading to where he is now.

Tawgs’ passion for music and the chance to succeed was solidified after a school talent show, when we received praise that made him feel he was where he belonged. Then Headmaster, Douglas Campbell, approached Tawgs the following day and congratulated him on his performance.

“It was the first time the Headmaster spoke to me in a positive way like that. That really propelled me. That was what I needed to go forward. Especially as a child, when there is someone in an authoritative position who says that, you think ‘maybe I should do [a career in music]’.” – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94

When Tawgs finished high school, he spent some time pursuing other interests, but he always came back to music. At the time, he was performing in an original band named Dunk, who was then signed by Sony Music Canada. After signing he decided it was time to get serious with his passion. While he enjoyed performing, it was producing and writing that he loved most.

He began writing music and eventually, Gary Furniss, President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada, took notice of Tawgs’ talent. He began songwriting for the publishing company and took a second position at Sony Music Canada as a Staff Producer. While he had little free time working two jobs, his exposure to an array of artists, professionals and opportunities was extensive. After he got his feet wet, he decided to work solely with Sony/ATV, under the mentorship of Gary Furniss. Gary fostered Tawgs’ career from the beginning and helped him move up through the ranks to a point where he was working with high-profile artists, including Lights and Josh Groban.

“The first song I wrote that received international praise with a big artist was ‘You are Loved’ by Josh Groban. I made the demo in my basement in St. Catharines 10 years ago,” says Tawgs. His song was picked up and he found himself at Abbey Road Studios, working with Groban and his producer.

Tawgs has been in the business for 18 years now and has experienced great success during his career. He has received an ASCAP award, was nominated twice for producer of the year at the JUNO Awards and has won awards for nine of his hit songs. Beyond his personal accomplishments, he has worked on a number of records that won pop album of the year and worked on the JUNO winning song, ‘Young Artists for Haiti’.

While winning awards and working with some of the biggest names in music are certainly perks, Tawgs says his favourite part of the job is the job itself.

“When you are a song writer or a producer you start with a total blank page in the morning. Your success for that day is dependent on what you are going to do in the next ten minutes. The best part of the day as a song writer is when you sit down to write a song with another collaborator. You’ve got fifteen minutes of awkwardness and then thirty minutes of inspiration. It is that inspiration that I wait for, and why I find my work so enjoyable.”  – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94

To Ridleians who know what their passions are but are unsure of how to get there, Tawgs says this:

“It’s not easy. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t wake up today and think – can I do it again today? That’s what you have to go through as an artist, telling yourself to not give up. You really have to want it and you have to silence the inner voice that tells you that you may not be able to do it.”

“You can’t rest on what you have done before, what you did last month, or five years ago. You really have to every day try and create something new that is going to help you out down the road.”  – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.