Tag Archives: Washington

TransfORming Our Globe – Jillian Evans ‘06

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Jillian Evans ’06, a Toronto-based tech entrepreneur in the media and entertainment space.

Jillian began her Ridley career in 2001 as a Grade 8 student. During her five years on campus, she was a School Prefect, Editor of the Tiger Tribune and a member of the Rowing, Harriers and Golf teams. Jillian credits Ridley’s strong emphasis on developing interpersonal and public speaking skills with her success in careers that have almost exclusively involved networking and negotiation.

 

“Ridley was the best thing that could have happened to a bored and unmotivated twelve-year-old me. My teachers, coaches and friends challenged me to grow as a person every day, and I left with an unshakeable confidence and set of skills that have served me very well in my career.” – Jillian Evans ‘06

After Ridley, Jillian went on to do a gap year at Marlborough College in England as an English Speaking Union Scholar. She then returned to Canada to pursue her BAH in Political Studies at Queen’s University, where she served as President of the Arts & Science Undergraduate Society and represented the interests of over 12,000 students. Upon graduating, she headed to London to complete her M.Sc. in Political Communication at the London School of Economics, and worked in the office of a Cabinet Minister in the UK Parliament.

Having completed her Masters, Jillian moved to Washington, DC to pursue an internship in Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada, working mainly on the educational outreach and think-tank liaison files. She also completed her U.S. Private Pilot’s Licence and Restricted Airspace designation, and once had to maneuver around Air Force One in midair!

Returning home to Toronto in 2013, she decided to pursue a career as a lobbyist at the provincial level, tackling files from special needs funding to telecom and everything in between. While she found the work both fascinating and rewarding, she had begun to pursue a side project that would soon require her full attention.

In March 2015, along with a couple of friends, Jillian founded PETE, a second-screen experience for entertainment television. Best described as “fantasy sports for reality TV,” PETE offers a comprehensive fantasy, content and engagement platform for fans of over 20 reality shows and four award shows, including The Bachelor, Survivor, Big Brother, The Oscars and The Grammys. With 20,000 users so far, PETE also offers brands and sponsors the opportunity to reach targeted, engaged audiences. As a company, PETE has raised $750,000 in seed funding and counts seven Old Ridleians (and two past parents) among its investors.

“A lot of people – even in the tech establishment – thought we were crazy. If you believe in your idea, get out there and make it happen. The worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out, you learn an absolute ton, and you nail it the next time. So many decisions are driven by the fear of failure – don’t let yourself fall into that trap, and keep taking big risks!” – Jillian Evans ‘06

As the media landscape evolves over the next several years, Jillian believes the balance will shift from one-way consumption to two-way interactivity, where consumers become active participants. She hopes PETE can play a role in this process by working with media companies to better engage viewers, and by pushing the envelope on what’s possible for fans with real-time interaction. She strongly encourages young Ridleians interested in media and/or tech to pursue it – and the more outside-the-box the idea or career path, the better.


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

Students Think Big at Annual Model U.N. Conference

During the February long weekend, a group of students, along with their supervisors, travelled to Washington, D.C. for the 54th annual North American Invitational Model United Nations, hosted by Georgetown University‘s International Relations Association. This annual trip is an opportunity for our Ridleians to gain experience, develop research and thinking skills, and engage in great discussions about current global issues.

With over 160 schools and 3,500 students from around the world present, this event is a superb opportunity for students to network with peers. The Ridley College Model United Nations team – made up of Ridley’s model U.N., politics and debating clubs – was comprised of students from seven countries; adding to the diversity of the prestigious experience.

  

In addition to the debates and discussions that took place at the Model U.N. Conference, the students had the opportunity to listen and engage with experts on topics within international relations. One of the highlights was Retired Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs, Thomas Countryman’s keynote address.

While in D.C., our students were able to explore Washington’s vast cultural and political offerings – from the African American Museum of Culture and History to the Lithuanian Embassy.

“Reflecting on my weekend in D.C., I will have a lifetime of memories with friends, teachers and new friends I’ll never forget. I have learned exactly the format of real UN Conferences and now create awareness for new issues and resolutions discussed around the world through different conferences. My collaboration skills improve year by year through these experiences, and will definitely continue to only get better in the future.” – Bart Scala ‘19

“The MUN to trip to D.C. was a wonderful experience. That was my first time visiting the USA and I really enjoyed it. I had the chance learn about US and also take part in MUN and improve myself.” – Alp Sagra ‘18

“I got to know more about United Nations and different people. I went to Washington for the first time.  This was a great experience. I learned a lot and MUN indeed expanded my horizon.” – Nicole Liu ’19

The Speaking Arts at Ridley continue to thrive, thanks to the support of parents, faculty and of course, the W. Darcy McKeough ’51 Fund. The importance placed on debating, public speaking and active global commitment engages students and student interest has grown, year after year. This year’s Model U.N. Conference trip was a chance for our Speaking Arts students to further instill a love for this co-curricular, while contributing to the wider community.

Ridley’s Model U.N. and Politics Club heads to Washington, D.C.

During the February break, a group of students from the Ridley Model U.N. and Politics Club travelled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the 53rd North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN LIII), hosted by the Georgetown International Relations Association. The group consisted of Philip Brenninkmeyer Noel Cousins, Caitlin Hyland, Alex Jones, Gracie Lowes, Daniel O’Rourke and Jesse Wydman, chaperoned by coaches, Mr. Hutton and Mr. O’Rourke.

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NAIMUN is a conference that offers students the opportunity to interact with like minded individuals by taking on the rolls of international diplomats, members of parliament, ministers, Catholic cardinals and even CIA operatives.  All of this occurs as part of respective conferences and committees that students are assigned to prior to the conference. Ridley students conducted extensive research in preparation for their assignments, which included: the International Atomic Energy Agency, the British House of Commons, the 2012 Chinese Cabinet, the 2012 Papal Conclave and The CIA, post 9/11.

The conference featured over 3000 delegates which, while being mainly from North American schools, sported nationalities from all over the globe. This offered opportunities for friendships (that extended past the borders of Ridley and Canada) to develop. Each committee or council offered its own challenges. Some councils consisted of almost 150 students, while others were made up of as little as 18 students. This meant a varied experience for each student, that may have required intense lobbying to get one’s idea heard over the crown or using their expertise to guide one’s council to the solution of a complex, nuanced political issue. Regardless of the challenge, the Ridley team used the skills it had developed in their weekly meetings, as well as its research in order to stick out from the crowd; prospering and often succeeding in its endeavors.

While the conference schedule was quite rigorous in its nature, it also allowed time for the team to spend exploring the magnificent city of Washington, D.C. Arriving just a few hours before the beginning of the conference, students managed to get a special tour of the U.S. Capitol and Senate offices. The tour included a ride on the Senate subway, which allows for fast and secure transport between offices and the capitol. It was on the subway that students met the president of the Senate and the longest serving U.S. Senator, Orrin Hatch. The group even managed to get a quick picture with him.

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While visiting Washington D.C., the group also visited the Polish Embassy, the oldest serving embassy building in the country.  The building has remained in service, by no means from a lack of newer real estate, but instead, due to its architectural beauty.  Included below are pictures taken at the embassy that sported fabulous paintings wherever space was not already being occupied by the beautiful interior architecture.

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The group also had the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), located only a stone’s throw away (they will tackle you if you throw stones) from the White House. After the end of the conference on Sunday, students even got to take in a show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show was a classic who-done-it, in which the audience guesses the killer, and the oldest running show in the United States, Shear Madness. Our final night in Washington was spent visiting the Lincoln Memorial as well as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

All in all, the trip offered students the chance to use some of their hard-earned research, lobbying and debating skills acquired over the year in Model U.N., and also provided the opportunity to see how the U.S. government functions and explore the heritage of the United States. The Politics Model U.N. Club looks forward to more great opportunities in the future. The trip was made possible through the generosity of the parents of the students involved, as well as the W. Darcy McKeough’51 Fund supporting Speaking Arts at Ridley College. We are most grateful for the support.

– Philip Brenninkmeyer ‘16