Tag Archives: Alumnus

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.

TransfORming Our Globe – Nate Houghton ‘07

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of Ridley and double Ivy League alumnus, Nate Houghton ‘07, who has dedicated his life to helping Congo youth live flourishing lives through his not-for-profit, the Congo Leadership Initiative.

Nate began his Ridley career in 2005 and although his Ridley career only spanned two years, there was no shortage of lessons taught, skills learned and qualities formed. Nate came to Ridley because of the hockey programme, but soon discovered that more opportunities awaited him within the gates. As a Prefect in his final year, Nate played in the Jazz Band and went to the 2007 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in South Africa with his fellow Ridleians.

Ridley left Nate feeling well prepared for university. He had refined his time-management skills, found an interest in social impact, was held to a higher standard by his peers and teachers and the Ridley schedule had set him up for success as he moved on to his post-secondary career.

“Ridley helped me to create good habits in order to get things done… I think that a lot of the tactical habit forming things came from the rigor of the schedule.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

Nate went on to study at Cornell, where he studied economics and policy. While there, he took a trip to Congo. He had always had an interest in post-colonial Africa, and he wanted to learn more about their culture and if he could make a positive impact on the community. His visit left a great impression on both him and the youth he encountered on his trip.

It was this trip that inspired Nate to begin the Congo Leadership Initiative (CLI). The CLI is an organization that trains Congo youth to become the leaders of tomorrow – not too unlike Ridley. Through workshops, training and grants, the CLI provides individuals with the tools needed to succeed.

“We develop the next generation of leaders to be catalysts for peace and prosperity in the Congo…If you can combine leadership values with entrepreneurial skills, you have the engine for development. It unlocks the potential that a country really has.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

CLI young leaders in a training session at our Kinshasa Lea CLI young leaders at the PEREX Leadership Institute site

For two years (2010 to 2012), Nate was dedicated to establishing a firm infrastructure for the CLI. With that, he felt confident that he could divide his time to explore his other passions. He worked in New York and studied at Harvard – where he is set to complete his MBA in September – and is currently working for the investment firm, NextGen Venture Partners. Despite his busy schedule, Nate still finds time to work and connect with CLI every day. He has recently been focusing his efforts on fundraising and operations. He hopes that the CLI will be able to extend their efforts and make a larger impact by partnering with other organizations who could then administer training to those in Congo.

Nate possesses the true spirit of a Ridleian and of our school motto – Terar Dum Prosim. He saw a community in need and has ever since dedicated his life to bettering their lives and showing them their potential. To other Ridleians who are unlocking their own potential, Nate has no shortage of advice.

“There is no reason that you can’t do these [kinds of] things. There is nothing that was different about me that made that possible. Anyone can start something…The best decisions I have made are the ones where I am thinking about what is best for other people. Whether it is within the organization or more broadly in the world. The worst decisions I have made are where I knowingly or unknowingly tried to make myself look a certain way… Just being yourself and doing things for other people is really the only thing that matters.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

For those interested in supporting the Congo Leadership Initiative, there are a number of ways to give.


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 – Marc Seitz ‘08

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Marc Seitz ’08, who discovered the world of computer programming and then made his mark in the industry by founding two software development companies that would change how corporations and programmers connect – Hackevents and Hackerbay.

In 2006, Marc made the trip from Germany to Canada, where he began his Ridley career. Marc made the most of his two years at Ridley; forming strong relationships with friends from around the globe, bonding with his teammates on the soccer field and the golf course, and ensuring his housemates were well taken care of. A Strongman from Merritt South (MSo), Marc was a House Captain and ran the MSo Tuck Shop with a friend. He also excelled in academics, and earned the Academic Tie (awarded to students who’ve earned an average of 85% upon graduating). Although he was only at Ridley for a short while, Marc’s shares that his time at Ridley had a big impact on his life.

“At Ridley, I made some of the most long-lasting relationships of my life. The strong community at Ridley really made it all worth it. I made friends that I now see once or twice a year but we are closer than ever.” – Marc Seitz ‘08

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Upon graduating in 2008, Marc made the decision to travel to Hong Kong to study Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong. The challenging and competitive nature of finance and economics during the recession fueled Marc’s passion. After a short time working with exchange-traded funds, he decided he still had more to learn and explore. Marc returned to Germany, where he studied physics at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München – the University of Munich. It was the study of physics that led him to where he is now. Marc says “physics opened my eyes to a new world and convinced me to learn how to program on the side.” Marc then began to take online courses on computer programming.

Since his studies, Marc has successfully founded two computer programming companies; both of which have heavily impacted the computer programming world. Hackevents was founded in 2014 and evolved into the leading search engine for Hackathons – which are collaborative and competitive events for computer programmers. Hackathons allow programmers to network with individuals and companies and demonstrate their programming skills. Hackevents does not only offer a database of hackathons occurring around the world, but also is the largest organizer of hackathons in Germany.

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Marc pictured on the right.

Marc’s second company, Hackerbay was inspired by the success of Hackevents. It was founded in January 2016 to enable computer programmers to connect with large organizations that lack a software development department. Through Hackerbay, programmers can provide their services – such as application, software and prototype design – to top companies. To date, Hackerbay has connected over 1,600 programmers and developers with companies like Twitter and Google.

“Being a founder, you have the unique ability to influence the success of your company… This source of power encourages me to be better and make a difference.”

Both Hackevents and Hackerbay are becoming increasingly popular, and Marc hopes to grow latter into the largest software solutions company. He also desires to return to the study of physics, as space exploration and technology continue to evolve.

Marc’s thirst for knowledge led him to a rewarding career, that continues to grow and evolve.

To past, present and future students of Ridley, Marc says this:

“Challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Test out different subjects and hold on to what does not let your mind rest.”

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 – Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Jordan Brock Fowler ’05, who took the road less travelled and founded his own eco-friendly business – Echo Farms.

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Jordan attended Ridley from Grade 6 to 12. During the course of his Ridley career, Jordan excelled in academics, was actively involved in sports – especially Rugby – and could often be found backstage during many of Ridley’s theatrical performances. He embraced every aspect of Ridley life, and because of that, he formed lifelong relationships, obtained useful skills and tools and built character. Six years later, Jordan found himself at graduation, addressing his classmates as the Valedictorian; on that day, he was taking home more than just a diploma.

“My time at Ridley greatly affected my career path but not in the way that you would expect. Ridley didn’t particularly help me realize my passion for agriculture, but it was integral in the formation of my character, helped me establish my hard work ethic, and prepared me for the relationship building that would be key to building my business.”

– Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

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After graduation, Jordan attended the Toronto Film School for Film Production. He was certain that a job in the film industry would satisfy his creative drive, but it soon became apparent he was missing something. The career opportunities he found himself in left him yearning for more meaningful interactions with the environment and the people within it.

In need of a change of scenery, Jordan moved to Vancouver, where he became involved with a not-for-profit organization called the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC). At the time, this organization was advocating community and school gardens in the city core. While working on a media project for the SPEC, Jordan witnessed how strongly a connection with nature can impact someone.

“The wholesome, instinctual reaction of the youth to the food they were growing was infectious. I became increasingly interested in ideas around sustainable design and the serious impact climate change was having on our environment.”

– Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

Equipped with his new-found passion for the environment, Jordan set out to gain the knowledge he’d need to make a difference. He travelled to the United Kingdom, where he partook in a course led by a number of climate activists. It was this life changing experience at the Schumacher Institute where Jordan realized the importance of sustainable agriculture. He then studied Organic Agriculture at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

Travelling down a new path, Jordan returned to Niagara in 2010, where he began to grow a business known as Forworld Farmstead. Utilizing family owned land, Jordan experimented with organic vegetable production, community supported agriculture and began raising livestock. In 2015, after purchasing a 50-acre farm in Cayuga, Ontario, he and his wife, Whitney (Peterson) Fowler ’05, started Echo Farms.

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Echo Farms is an all-organic farm that produces wholesome, high-quality, organic produce and meat. This naturally grown food is sold to local restaurants and at markets. Echo Farms just launched its newest product, known as Minigreens™ – a packaged blend of microgreens, packed full of nutrients and flavour, that can be used to garnish sandwiches or as a salad mix. These greens are delivered fresh, each week, to grocers and health food stores in Southern Ontario, such as Grand Oak, the Good Earth, the Peanut Mill and 13th Street Winery, all located in the Niagara region.

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Wanting to continue to help in restoring the earth, Jordan hopes to continue to grow Echo Farms and shorten the supply chain between farmers and consumers.

“Working alongside nature has its challenges… I find that we humans seem to be in a perpetual war with nature, constantly searching for ways to control it. Whether it’s the miracle cure to a disease caused by environmental degradation, playing God with genetic engineering or dowsing our food in chemicals, it is our reluctance to change which keeps us from unlocking Mother Nature’s vast wisdom – a wisdom cluttered by modern conveniences.”

– Jordan Fowler ‘05

Although his journey was long and winding, Jordan was able to uncover his passion and with it, grow a business; one that is giving back to the community and to the earth, one seed at a time.

To all those who are on their own winding journey through life, Jordan says this:

“Remember what it means to be a positive part of a community. Don’t get caught up trying to clamor to the top. Build strong supportive relationships with your peers and your competitors, think globally, act locally.”


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.