Tag Archives: Transform Our Globe

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.

 

 

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 – Greg Stremlaw ’90

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Greg Stremlaw ‘90, who has had a record-setting career in public and private sport, and is now the Head of CBC Sports as well as General Manager of the Olympics for Canada and the Chef de Mission for the Rio Olympic Games.

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Greg began his Ridley career in 1987 and graduated in 1990. He excelled in academics – graduating as an Ontario Scholar – and was heavily involved in athletics. For all three years that he spent at Ridley, he was a member of both the First Boys’ soccer and hockey teams. Greg also competed on the track and field team and the golf team. It was clear that he had a special place in his heart for sports. Although athletics were a huge part of his Ridley journey, that wasn’t the only aspect of Ridley life that impacted Greg. He graduated in 1990, with a well-rounded skill set that truly benefitted him in his post-secondary career and beyond.

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“Ridley placed a heavy emphasis and mandate on being well-rounded… Prioritization was critically important for success at Ridley and that skill set has come to serve me very well as an executive in my career.” – Greg Stremlaw ’90

After graduating from Ridley, Greg began his post-secondary career at Western University, completing his undergraduate degree in business. He then attended the University of Maine, where he obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. After achieving his Master’s, many opportunities arose for Greg, but his thirst for knowledge was insatiable. He took a position at the Orange Bowl and enrolled at the University of Miami for a Master’s degree in sports management. It was this decision – combined with the skills he gained from Ridley and his business knowledge – that launched Greg’s career in sport management.

Once he had experience with the Orange Bowl and a new sports management degree from University of Miami, he returned to Canada to step into his role as the Director of Bobsleigh and Luge and Vice President of Sport Services for the Calgary Olympic Development Association – now known as WinSport Canada. After six years in Calgary, Greg became the Chief Executive Officer of Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort in Ontario. In 2007, Greg was named the Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada. While there, Greg encouraged innovation that led to the organization’s massive financial turnaround. His work with Curling Canada also helped the country become the number one nation in the global rankings for men’s, women’s, and wheelchair curling. In 2015, Greg made his next big move, and joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as the new Head of CBC Sports.

2015, Calgary Ab, 2017 Curling Canada Announcement, Curling Canada C.E.O. Greg Stremlaw, Curling Canada/michael burns photo
2015, Calgary Ab, 2017 Curling Canada Announcement, Curling Canada C.E.O. Greg Stremlaw, Curling Canada/michael burns photo

Greg says his favourite part about working at CBC has been the atmosphere created by the passionate and enthusiastic colleagues he is surrounded by every day.

 “Ultimately, there are some exceptional staff at CBC and the experience and extensive corporate knowledge is impressive. CBC Sports is one of the most iconic brands in Canada and the staff fully appreciate this and want to continue to deliver broadcast and digital excellence. It is a real privilege to come to work and see this enthusiasm and passion each and every day.” – Greg Stremlaw ‘90

Since he began at CBC, Greg’s career has been nothing short of remarkable. In this past year, Greg was also appointed as the General Manager of the Olympics for Canada and the Chef de Mission for the Rio Olympic Games that happened this summer. This year, along with his team in Rio, he set a record for most coverage and most accessibility of the Olympic Games in Canadian history; providing 1,300 hours of televised events, 100 hours of 360-degree coverage and 4,000 hours of live-streaming event coverage. More Canadians tuned into watch the Summer Games than ever before, with a total count of 32.1 million viewers.

“The Olympic Games are the largest sporting event in the world and there is absolutely nothing like the excitement they bring and the stories generated from them. The best athletes from Canada and around the world inspired us day after day in Rio and it was our privilege to share these moments of triumph and heartbreak with so many Canadians. CBC/Radio-Canada is proud to be Canada’s Olympic Network through 2024, and to continue to shine a spotlight on these athletes and their stories at the Games and also year-round through our weekly coverage of high-performance sport.” – Greg Stremlaw ’90

Greg’s accomplishments don’t end there. He was also named to the Globe & Mail’s Power 50 List of Sports Leaders in Canada and recently completed a Harvard Executive Education program at Harvard Law.

Greg’s endless drive, determination and dedication has led him to have a successful and rewarding career. To other Ridleians who are trying to decide which path to take, Greg says this:

“There are an incredible amount of opportunities that exist out there and before you commit to anything, be absolutely sure that you are going to be fully satisfied with your career choice. There is no doubt that Ridley provides you with an incredible advantage over most high school students in Canada. With that, take the time to grow that into something that you will be passionate about in life. It is an amazing feeling to get up every morning and love to come to work to do what you enjoy and feel that you are making a difference.”

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 – Megan Breukelman ’11

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of an Old Ridleian, Megan Breukelman ’11, who transformed her passion into a business that connects and inspires people all over the world – Atlas Magazine.

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Megan Breukelman began her Ridley career in Grade 5 and carried out the duration of her secondary school studies here at Ridley. With a passion for visual arts and more specifically, photography, Megan took advantage of every opportunity she had to refine her craft. She was a photographer for the ACTA Ridleiana, could often be found photographing major Ridley events and frequently used the stunning Ridley campus as a backdrop for her personal projects. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Megan ensured her school curriculum aligned with her goals, taking courses such as AP Visual Art and Media Arts.

“I had a leg-up in my career thanks to the Media Arts programme at Ridley, taught by Mr. Reimer – I was comfortable with the Adobe Suite way ahead of time!”

– Megan Breukelman ‘11

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By the time Megan was graduating high school, she was well versed in the world of art, had the experience necessary to jumpstart her career and had the work ethic and time management skills necessary to succeed. It was then that Megan made the move to Florida, where she attended Ringling College of Art and Design. After a few years in the sun, Megan decided that in order to advance her career, New York was where she needed to be. Megan took a year off of school to intern in Toronto, while she prepared for her new life in the Big Apple. In the Fall of 2014, Megan moved to New York to finish her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

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SVA gave me a focused education on the business of photography, rather than just the creative and technical aspects. Both sides are essential to a career in the arts.”

– Megan Breukelman ’11

While attending school, Megan met Olivia Bossert, her overseas business partner, on an online photography community. Both had similar goals, and after some discussion, they founded Atlas Magazine. Atlas is a quarterly publication that showcases creative talent from all over the world. “The publication found its focus in fashion while maintaining its roots in fine art, setting it apart from the typical fashion magazine,” says founder, Megan. It began as an online publication, but two years after releasing the first issue, Megan and Olivia launched a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter that allowed them to begin selling print publications in the United Kingdom. As of today,  Atlas is now available internationally.

Since its inception, Atlas has grown in size and popularity within the art world and now receives thousands of submissions, releases both print and digital issues and maintains a robust website – with lookbooks, articles and editorial sections.

“The best part of creating Atlas is seeing the spectrum of work that is submitted to us every issue. We receive thousands of submissions from artists of all parts of the world, and I am always surprised and delighted at how much pure talent there is out there.” – Megan Breukelman ’11

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Alongside Atlas, Megan has maintained a flourishing career. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at SVA and over the years has gained professional experience at agencies, magazines and even a fashion brand. She intends to continue working in creative production and says, “…as long as I’m doing something I’m passionate about, I’ll be happy.”

For anyone who is trying to discover what they want to do or where they want their path to lead, Megan says this:

“Take your time in figuring out what you want to do. There is a lot of pressure to pick something and stick with it, but I think careers and passions grow and evolve just as we do.”

Megan’s story shows that your passion can evolve into a flourishing career and that art can truly connect people.

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 – Ted Chen ‘08

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We’re proud to introduce the TransfORming Our Globe blog series. Each month, we will feature Old Ridleians, who are making their mark on the world. The inaugural TransfORming Our Globe story is about a young man that identified an area of need, produced a solution, and was recently named to the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list for his work in the Manufacturing and Energy industry.

Evercomm co-founder Ted Chen holding their wireless sensor chip
EverComm co-founder, Ted Chen holding their wireless sensor chip.

Originally from Taiwan, Ted Chen ‘08 came to Ridley College in 2002, as a Grade 7 boarding student. Ted spent six years at Ridley, and was highly involved in both academics and extracurricular activities while he was a student. Ted was a boarder in Burgoyne House in Grades 7 and 8 before realizing how cool it is in the North, spending Grades 9 through 12 in Merritt North House. During his time here, Ted demonstrated his willingness to try new things and work hard, both in and out of the classroom. Coming from Taiwan, Ted had the opportunity to pick up new sports and hobbies, and was most grateful for the opportunity to learn how to play basketball. He started playing on the Under-16 team, and eventually made the cut for the First Boys basketball team in Grade 12. Ted was also a member of the First harriers team and First lacrosse team. He earned the Duke of Edinburgh’s silver award, was a House Captain in Merritt North, and was a member of the Students with Advanced Technology Team (S.W.A.T.).

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Upon graduating, Ted attended Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where he studied Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He later took part in an entrepreneur bootcamp at Stanford University that helped motivate him to start his own business. He then returned to Singapore and cofounded EverComm in 2014.

EverComm uses data analytics to identify cost savings for companies with high energy bills. On average, his customers spend between three and six million dollars on energy per month. The EverComm platform allows these clients to save roughly one to three percent each month on their onerous energy bills.

In true Ridley fashion, Ted says his motivation lies outside of money or comfort. He wants to help transform our globe. Our planet is currently mired in a worldwide energy crisis that impacts everyone and Ted aims to do what he can to make a difference through the work of his venture. Ted’s team continues to grow and work towards combatting the issue of climate change. The industrial sector, with which Ted works most extensively with, consumes more than fifty percent of the world’s energy.

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In addition to citing many of the lessons he learned at Ridley, Ted claims he, “discovered who [he] was, discovered a love for computers, and learned to persevere through challenges.” Through athletics, he learned about his drive and how to compete to the best of his ability. He enjoys traveling the world and, thanks to Ridley, he knows, “someone in almost every pocket of the globe.”

Ted’s story is an excellent example of how hard work, opportunity, and a desire to improve the world around you can truly help to TransfORm Our Globe.

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 have discovered their passions and found success and happiness along this path. 

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.