I am always so thankful as Principal of St. Clement’s School that I am also an alumna of the school. I feel this way because there are many times when I am able to step back 25-30 years and consider how I felt as a student at our special school. It is so often our past that informs our future, and on Thursday evening this was impressed upon me again.
As St. Clement’s School moves into the future, we know that our alumnae will play a key role in supporting the School on a variety of levels. Our strategic plan expresses the need to ensure that we have ‘Proud and engaged alumnae of all ages’, and within that context, that we ensure that they are ‘highly engaged throughout their lifetime and have increased opportunities for engagement with the school’.
Last week, our Alumnae Association held its first ever Alumnae Networking event at the School – and what a success it was. Ruth Bastedo ’87 facilitated an authentic, open and frank discussion about women in leadership with three alumnae: Brooke Hunter ’87, Tara (Regan) Jan ’87 and Rachel (Telch) Megitt ’99.
Discussions revolved around questions such as:
- How do we embrace the demands of professional leadership while balancing personal roles and responsibilities?
- How do we integrate community contribution, personal health and self-care into our lives?
- What impact can a supportive network and community have on our careers and personal lives?
What was heartening to see was not only the large number of alumnae in attendance but more importantly the varying ages, with women from the classes of 1969 through to 2008. In fact, we had a current Grade 12 and her mother in attendance as well.
As I sat listening to the discussion and comments from our outstanding women, I was struck by the importance of their insights to the work we do at St. Clement’s to develop our present students. Despite each alumna’s unique approach to her own life, the poignant comments resonated with me:
- Take risks: women who do move further along in their careers
- Remember that the definition of success varies depends on what stage you are at in your life
- Don’t become complacent: if things are great, how can you make them even better
- Go with your gut; don’t be so hard on yourself, and
- Allow your intellect to take you to unexpected places
The end of the evening saw women of all different ages mixing and talking- providing a concrete example of proud and engaged alumnae of all ages.
I cannot wait for the next opportunity for alumnae networking, enabling the past to inform, guide, and shape the future of our Clementines.