Issue Produced Remotely During COVID-19 Pandemic
DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING
Andrea Carisse Ed Kidd Tanya Rohrmoser
Andrea Carisse Andrea Chan Amy Forte Mackenzie Fowler ‘11 Phoenix Gao
Mackenzie Fowler ’11 DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
Tanya Rohrmoser COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
design Andrea Chan
Andrea Carisse Tanya Rohrmoser
Andrea Chan GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PHOTOGRAPHER
Solely for valued members of the Ridley community. The information contained herein may not be published without permission.
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Table of Contents 2
LIFE ON (& OFF) CAMPUS
Grade 3 Stars Shine with Confidence
Marking Black History Month
Ridley's Got Talent!
MYP Personal Project Showcase
Virtual Arts in April
Students Speak Up
Music to Our Ears
R2L in January Lockdown
Full Speed Ahead
Medals for Mathletes
Hitting High Notes
Recognizing Ridley's Wordsmiths
"What Fools These Mortals Be"
Quick Thinking Business is Booming
Making Mental Health a Priority Conversations that Matter #AAPIHeritageMonth Student Movement Content Creators Movers and Shakers
Vitality Mentality Tiger Takes Bronze
Student Expression on Display
Toronto Star Features Tiger Athletics
Students Give Voice
Lower School Sports Awards
FEATURE STORIES Ridleian Fund Contributor Article: No Blank Sheet The Campaign for Ridley 50 Lessons from True Chaos
ALUMNI STORIES Alumni@Work: Technology •
Alex Clark '06
Jeff Bell '88
Don McMurtry '82
Nancy Ting '94
ALUMNI ANNOUNCEMENTS Class Notes Marriages, Births, Obituaries Faculty and Staff Notes Archives Corner In Dedication: A Century of Giving, Growth & Breaking Ground
TIGER | FALL 2021
A Learning Community Flourishing Lives Terar Dum Prosim Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragile is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. — Nassim Taleb, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
Innovation in Boarding Global Ridley
Flourishing Workplace Engage Niagara Strengthen the Ridley Community 4
Headmaster’s Headlines Greetings from Ridley! Welcome to the Tiger, our biannual celebration of the comings and goings at Ridley, and our commitment to student learning and human flourishing. This issue is dedicated to “Bouncing Back Stronger,” a theme that not only nods to the conclusion of a global pandemic, but to our community’s path forward—one which we know will put us in a position of even greater strength. For a physicist, the term ‘bouncing back’ suggests the motion of an object that has fallen onto a surface. Instead of shattering, the object absorbs the energy of the opposing object, remains whole and accelerates in a different direction with added strength. It is analogous to what Nassim Taleb refers to as a state of ‘anti-fragility,’ whereby an object actually benefits from shock. Related to this anti-fragile state is a concept called ‘PTG’ (posttraumatic growth). While we are all too familiar with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), modern thinkers like Dr. Martin Seligman and Sir Richard Layard recognize that though trauma elicits stress, it can also promote the development of growth and positive personal changes. In many ways—some small and others larger—Ridley has long been planning to emerge from the chaos of a global pandemic not simply unscathed and still breathing, but with added strength, prepared to accelerate. Ridley enters the new school year still feeling the vestiges of the pandemic, yet we are prepared for an exciting future filled with opportunity and growth. Guided by a refreshed and inspiring strategic plan entitled “Leading with Heart: The Strategic Priorities for Ridley College” (learn more on page 37), our school seeks to ‘bounce back stronger,’ by marshalling our talents and competitive advantages and leaning into that distinctively Ridley entrepreneurial spirit. I encourage you to reflect on our school’s future as you peruse this issue of the Tiger. In “50 Lessons from True Chaos” (page 66), you’ll read the perspective of two students on the many lessons taken from their experience during the pandemic— and their recognition that these hardships will only serve to make us more resilient. Alongside the rest of society, Ridley was challenged at every turn to seek solutions, to find new ways of living and learning.
“Nimble” was often the overused word of the week! We were called to adopt an innovator’s mindset in imitation of the many alumni who have made this their life’s mission. I know readers will enjoy this issue’s Alumni@Work section (starting on page 70), which features ‘techsperts’ Alex Clark ’06, Nancy Ting ’94, Jeff Bell ’88, and Don McMurtry ’82. Our experience over the pandemic has also served to reinforce the essential roles both place and space play in the education and development of our youth—Ridleians are blessed to live and learn in aesthetic splendour. On page 92, Archives Corner celebrates 100 years since we broke ground and welcomed two important jewels to our campus crown; the Memorial Chapel and Gooderham House will soon celebrate their centennial birthdays! They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. As productive as our dip into the waters of virtual learning was, months of remote learning have certainly reminded everyone why campus spaces such as these are so beloved—and, as you will read, on page 41, we have exciting plans to add to the richness of our campus in the years ahead. With the philanthropic support of our community, future Ridleians will enjoy beautiful new and reimagined spaces that are designed to inspire creativity, cultivate wisdom, deepen relationships and community connections, and enhance our century-old dedication to physical activity. These capital projects are the physical manifestation of our commitment to promoting human flourishing: a Music Conservatory, a Creative Commons, a Learning Commons, a Squash Centre, and a purpose-built fitness facility. These spaces will be nothing short of transformative. Once completed, The Campaign for Ridley will help usher in this new chapter in Ridley’s grand architectural narrative—and I encourage you to claim your role in the story. Like our forefathers who built the Chapel now a century ago, your support will be historic!
Terar Dum Prosim, J. Edward Kidd Headmaster
TIGER | FALL 2021
LIFE ON (& OFF)
The global pandemic changed life for us all, but the Ridley community was determined to keep focused on goals and engaged in learning, and to ensure we prioritized wellbeing. Whether they were online or on campus, our students strove to stay active, curious and connected—knowing the best way through a challenge is together.
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The Richard A. Bradley Courtyard in peaceful silence during Ontario’s third shutdown in May 2021. TIGER | FALL 2021
A small group of graduates living on campus throughout COVID-19 closures launches their mortarboards during Virtual Grad Week. TIGER | FALL 2021
Grade 3 students immersed in a visual arts project during the winter term. TIGER | FALL 2021
TIME TO fly 14
Grade 8 students jumping for joy as they celebrate making the step to Upper School. TIGER | FALL 2021
The orange carpet was rolled out for thespians ahead of their performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. TIGER | FALL 2021
Ridleians were treated to a quintessentially Canadian confectionary during the unseasonably warm Winter Carnival. TIGER | FALL 2021
House teams go head-to-head in a ball hockey tournament in front of School House during Winter Carnival. TIGER | FALL 2021
academics When it came to learning this term, our dedicated teachers and technologies kept learning alive—but it was the commitment of Ridley’s students that deserves high marks. Students stayed on top of their studies and found creative ways to explore, reflect and learn more about the changing world around them.
MYP Personal Project Showcase In March, small cohorts of students made their way to the Fieldhouse to peruse the International Baccalaureate MYP Personal Project Showcase, which featured impressive projects by our Grade 10 students, whose innovation, curiosity and creativity brought their subjects to life.
Students Speak Up On March 2nd, our community joined together online for the annual Upper School Public Speaking Competition. From nap time to counterculture, our knowledgeable students spoke with passion and ease, earning well-deserved praise from our guest judges. Congratulations to our winners! Dr. W.H. Merritt Memorial Prize for Public Speaking (Senior): (Kiishi) Tamilore Femi-Johnson '22 The Honourable Mr. Justice A. Courtney Kingstone Memorial Prize for Public Speaking (Senior Runner Up): Abigail Sullivan '21 Ridley College Family Guild Public Speaking (Junior): Adaeze Oluwatoni Okafo '23 Tony Kwok Award for Public Speaking (English Language Learners): (Marcus) Kwan Ho Cheng '24
R2L in January Lockdown The results are in: our students are flourishing! When our community seamlessly transitioned into R2L for the second time, there was no shortage of engagement. Take a look at this snapshot of our synchronous learning, physical activity, co-curriculars, wellbeing practices, and parent events during the month of January.
Virtual Winter Clubs & Activities
TIGER | FALL 2021
Medals for Mathletes Earlier this year, a group of Ridley Mathletes took part in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC). In the AMC 12, Bohang Yu ’21 scored in the top one per cent, and Bohang, Abby Peng ’22 and David Meng ’21 all scored high enough to qualify for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam. Our Mathletes also boasted strong scores in the AMC 10 from Stephen Lin ’24, Bobo Li ’24 and David Lin ’24.
Recognizing Ridley's Wordsmiths Ridley's writers, poets and public speakers were celebrated for their love of language during the 34th Annual Literary Awards, which were held at our virtual assembly on April 27th. Attendees were first treated to an inspiring talk by The Guardian's Joe Thomas, who spoke about his career as a professional writer and explained how experience, history and social context are all a part of the stories that surround us. Each year, these awards shine a light on outstanding speaking and writing in English, both in our classrooms and co-curricular activities.
Quick Thinking On April 24th, Ridley's Intermediate School Reach team participated in the virtual London-Niagara 2020-21 Junior Reach for the Top League Finals—a fast-paced quiz challenge which tests both knowledge and speed of recall. Jackson Charlton '23, Joshua Hanna '23, Ho Lam (Edgar) Lai '23, and Nanjinglin (James) Xiao '23, played three strong rounds against four other teams. The competition was tough, but our boys played with confidence and were excellent school ambassadors!
Business is Booming Members of Ridley's DECA Chapter joined fellow future business leaders across Ontario to compete in the 42nd Annual DECA Business Competition. The business club provides students interested in pursuing careers in business-related areas with hands-on experience in the fields of marketing, business and entrepreneurship. More than 6,500 students took part in the virtual event, with the top five candidates from each category advancing to the ICDC 2021 Competitive Event. Taking part in categories on everything from innovation to financial operations, Ridley students made it their business to stand out amongst the competition. Impressively, Kechun (Tony) Wu '23 placed in the top 10 at Internationals!
Student Expression on Display How do we express ourselves? Our Grade 6 students tackled this question for the annual International Baccalaureate PYP Exhibition. Through extensive research, reflection and interviews, each student group focused on different essential agreements— everything from creative expression to social media to overcoming fake news—and shared their findings virtually with their peers.
Students Give Voice Grade 7 and 8 students participated in this year's Public Speaking Finals under atypical conditions— participants reached through the screen via pre-recorded videos to deliver their speeches, which covered a variety of interesting topics. Congratulations to Jacklyn Saddler '26 for her speech shedding light on the lottery, and Grade 8 student, Okechukwu Okafo '25 who spoke on the importance of following your passion.
TIGER | FALL 2021
arts The world is a little more beautiful following a year filled with thoughtful student expression. Finding an artistic outlet is a proven way to support flourishing, and our students moved and inspired us through performance, canvas, stories, and song.
Grade 3 Stars Shine with Confidence We have some budding superstars in our mix! As part of their Music class with Mrs. Wiley, four of our Grade 3 students wrote and performed "Confidence," an uplifting song about friendship, empowerment and, you guessed it, confidence!
Ridley's Got Talent! This February, Upper School students went headto-head in a virtual talent show to earn points for our inter-House competitions, while viewers hopped online to witness Tigers shred on the guitar, swim in synchronicity and dance their hearts out.
Virtual Arts in April Every April, we celebrate the arts in Upper School, and this year that tradition continued as students gathered virtually to celebrate the achievements of Ridley's musicians, thespians and artists alike. Following the awards presentation, students and faculty perused the online art gallery—designed by David Meng '21—which featured stunning creations from our student-artists.
1. "What Fools These Mortals Be" 2. Music to Our Ears 3. Full Speed Ahead 4. Hitting the High Notes
1. "What Fools These Mortals Be"
3. Full Speed Ahead
Upper School thespians took to the screen in March, delivering a modern take on William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The virtual production was the result of an exciting collaboration between Theatre, Film and Media Arts, and retold one of the Bard's most playful works through the lens of the digital world in which we've all become immersed. Things got glam at the orange-carpet premiere, and viewers were treated to a talk-back with our actors and production team following the play, which was live-streamed to fans.
Calling all car lovers! Competing students from Grades 4 to 8 raced to an impressive finish in the Pine Car Derby, held May 14th in the Lower School Meighen Courtyard. Things may have looked a little different this year due to the extended Stay-at-Home Order, but our designers only got more creative, dropping their creations to campus and sending in photos from afar.
2. Music to Our Ears Grade 12 musicians, Francis Yang ’21 and Jacob Lytle ’21 have been accepted to two of the world’s most prominent music schools: Francis will be attending the Berklee College of Music and Jacob, the Eastman School of Music. Access to these schools requires a series of rigorous auditions and interviews, along with a high level of musicianship. Jacob played the trombone for his performance and Francis auditioned on the French horn. We look forward to seeing them on the world stage in the years to come!
4. Hitting the High Notes Lower School's singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists came together for the Spring Music Concert, streamed live on May 12th. This virtual event featured stellar student performances and our talented Tigers showed off what they've been working on in class. The result? A beautiful musical medley pulled together in a creative, collaborative format.
TIGER | FALL 2021
athletics Our dedicated athletes worked worked hard this year to develop skills and keep their goals on track—and they certainly weren’t alone! The entire community was brought to its feet each day as we came together via challenges, apps and group sessions to keep strong and keep moving.
Vitality Mentality We put the 'V' in PERMA-V! Even though we were remote this year, our community incorporated activity into each day. Coaches met virtually with their teams, and we all moved more thanks to R2L virtual clubs and our activity app, Sworkit.
Tiger Takes Bronze On February 24th, Shane Keagan '22 raced in the virtual 2021 World Indoor Rowing Championships. Shane competed in the U19 Men's 500m event, facing off against 15 fellow athletes from around the world and placing third with a time of 01:19.7.
Toronto Star Features Tiger Athletics From ice time to training and virtual competition, our Tigers have been committed to physical activity throughout the pandemic. Featured in the Toronto Star, Director of Athletics, Jay Tredway ’96 shared how our athletes have honed their skills in a new environment.
Lower School Sports Awards The wins, the losses, the moments and the memories. On March 31st, our Lower School students celebrated the accomplishments of their fellow student-athletes during the virtual Sports Awards.
TIGER | FALL 2021
service In a year when the need for thoughtful, generous citizens is more apparent than ever, we couldn’t be prouder of our students who have stepped up to learn, listen and contribute to the important conversations happening in their communities and around the world. From raising awareness and supporting charities to educating their peers on how they, too, can make an impact, our students are making their voices heard!
Marking Black History Month In February, Prefect, Daniel Jude-Monye '21 created a video for his peers in recognition of this important observance of black history, struggle, progress, and achievement. The piece was shared during our virtual assembly, where students were encouraged to find ways to contribute to a more equal and inclusive global society.
Making Mental Health a Priority #BellLetsTalk Day may have been on January 28th, but students observed Ridley’s own Mental Health Awareness Week in anticipation. The week was organized by the Jack.org club, a student-run activity where community members work together to identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health. It included everything from conversations in Advisory to meditation sessions to guest speakers—and Ridleians were encouraged to reflect, to learn, to listen, and to share. @KeepingUpWithHank got into the swing of things as well, sharing “The Prefect Guide to Surviving (another) Lockdown” on Instagram. The week culminated with a special Chapel service featuring alumni, Ted Meighen '99, who opened up to students about his own mental health journey.
Conversations that Matter During our new series, 'Conversations that Matter,' held during virtual Assembly, three students led a panel discussing the January 6th attack on Capitol Hill. The series gives students a platform to discuss important global issues and to share their personal perspectives. Our students hosted another segment which focused on the inauguration of Kamala Harris—the first woman, Black American and South Asian Vice President of the United States of America. Two Tigers took to the stage to highlight what this milestone means for both the fight against racial injustice and gender inequality.
TIGER | FALL 2021
#AAPIHeritageMonth May was AAPI Heritage Month and we were happy to celebrate with our AAPI community here at Ridley. The month is a time to educate others on AAPI history, develop new ideas to grow and prosper together, and celebrate the accomplishments of Asians and Pacific Islanders. As part of her civics summative—and a personal passion project—Catherine He '23 started the Red Lantern Project, a youth-led organization dedicated to empowering the AAPI community through education and awareness. Throughout May, Catherine highlighted #AAPIHeritageMonth and raised awareness about the issues the AAPI community faces daily. Follow the @redlanternproject on Instagram to learn more!
Student Movement Last summer, Mikayla '21 and Marvel Itemuagbor '18 rallied their Ridley friends to bust a move in support of racial equality and the Black Lives Matter movement. The energizing video was shared during assembly this February, where we celebrated the efforts of our student leaders throughout Black History Month.
Content Creators Members of our RAFT Empowering Our Youth co-curricular programme were consumed in service all year long, creating content to share with local children that showcased everything from science experiments to music lessons to arts and crafts. Through this programme, our students develop important leadership and communication skills, while sharing their passions with the wider St. Catharines community.
Movers and Shakers Students jumped for joy (and a good cause) at the annual Jump Rope for Heart event, held virtually this year. Our Lower School Tigers donned Heart & Stroke red in the name of health and wellness, and found plenty of ways to keep active throughout the day.
TIGER | FALL 2021
BELONG AT Ridley
On our campus, a transformation takes place: Ridleians from all walks of life collaborate with dedicated faculty to define happy, fulfilling futures. Each day, our diverse community of young people is inspired to seek out knowledge, nurture important values and believe in themselves. For more information on 2022-23 enrollment, please contact email@example.com.
TIGER | FALL 2021
2021–22 OPPORTUNITIES TO SUPPORT RIDLEIANS:
OUR ANNUAL FUND CAMPAIGN
Scholarships & Bursaries
Student Experience Fund
The Ridleian Fund identifies projects and areas of need on campus which will have the largest impact on our students— today and into the future. Your generous gift secures Ridley’s lasting legacy and ensures we can continue to provide future generations with a world-class education.
DONATE TODAY ridleycollege.com/give LEARN MORE firstname.lastname@example.org 36
no BLANK SHEET
By Ed Kidd
An overview of Ridley College’s refreshed strategic priorities and the collaborative process of establishing a new direction. I was blown away when I figured out that none of the great integrative moves that I studied came as a result of starting with a blank sheet of paper—as many innovation coaches suggest. Integrative solutions came directly from mining the existing models for the best of their nuggets. So I never start with a blank sheet of paper anymore.
–Roger Martin, Former Dean of the Rotman School of Business
In early 2014, Ridley College launched a bold new strategic plan. The title, a shortened version of our new vision statement, was “Inspiring Flourishing Lives – Transforming Our Globe.” As the new Headmaster, back in 2013, one of my first insights and decisions had been that the Ridley community was in urgent need of an inclusive family conversation about our school’s purpose and future aspirations. A twelvemonth process of stakeholder engagement followed, concluding with the launch of a new vision, mission and set of aspirational ideas worth pursuing. By 2019, the plan was in its fifth year and ready for the scrutiny of another community conversation. Alongside the insights and recommendations garnered from our most recent IB and CAIS accreditation and self-review process in 2018, now was the time to re-examine and refresh the roadmap. Although our mission, vision and motto remain constant, the strategy questions remain open for consideration: What does it mean to flourish and how can we inspire it in our students and in our community? How has our landscape shifted and how should we respond? And finally, the terrifying existential question all organizations should consider every so often: Why does Ridley exist and why does it matter if we didn’t?
With the assistance of Ian Symmonds of Ian Symmonds & Associates, we launched a strategic refresh process and community dialogue in November 2019. We’d worked with Ian during our 2013-14 process and were excited to welcome him back to Niagara. His star as an independent school thought leader had risen during this interval and Ridley was fortunate to once again be working alongside him. We struck a “Strategy Refresh Committee”—a sizeable group composed of parents, faculty and staff, Governors, alumni, and community leaders (such as Dr. Dan Patterson, the recently retired and highly respected President of Niagara College). The group’s work kicked off with multiple strategic retreats, which ultimately transitioned to remote work as we faced the realities of the pandemic. Over the next 14 months, the work of the task force was strengthened and informed by constituent surveys, relevant research, focus groups, Board of Governor workshops, and student feedback and insights. In the end (or perhaps the beginning?), the plan was unanimously and ceremoniously approved by the Ridley College Board of Governors this past May, with the promise that implementation would coincide with the start of the new school year in September— TIGER | FALL 2021
it would be the start of an exciting post-pandemic chapter for the College. Although now nearly a decade old—and speaking to the for-profit world—former Dean of the Rotman School of Business, Roger Martin’s work on strategy and winning aspiration still resonates with our thinking about the role strategy plays in non-profit organizations like Ridley. “The two most fundamental strategic choices are deciding where to play and how to win,” Martin opines in a statement that helped galvanize our thinking about Ridley’s future direction. Where to play is the intersection between where we can excel, what we can be known for, and what Canada and the world needs. Our consultant, Ian echoed this with the memorable phrase, “where mission meets market, we hit the sweet spot.” Our answer to this challenge lies, quite simply, in our promise. Ridley is uniquely qualified to provide a modern, liberal education, within a boarding setting, that is dedicated to the development of human flourishing both in our students and the communities they will lead. This is the impact the world craves: Flourishing. Freedom. Service. Connection. What we have landed on, once again, is a compilation of aspirational ideas, each latent with the potential to advance and deepen the legacy of a Ridley education. A compelling strategic plan invigorates our community to bring these ideas to life, to interpret and re-interpret these ideas, to prototype, invest, and revise—all in service to Ridley’s potential. It’s potential that is latent in our vision to inspire human flourishing, to be a source of goodness and growth in the world, and to prepare young Ridleians for the challenges of our collective past, present and futures. Our plan is structured around three defining themes which together capture the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead: Promise, Potential and Connection.
Deepening our Promise Three central strategies comprise the promise we make to ourselves, the promise to current and future Ridleians and the larger promise to our world. This plan celebrates a holistic, liberal education that places human flourishing at the heart of a modern Ridley education—it’s a philosophy of education that our increasingly polarized world desperately needs. The word 'liberal' comes from Latin; its root, liber, translates to the word 'free.' A liberal education, therefore, is one which is committed to freedom. “It is a liberating education in that it frees the mind to seek after the truth unencumbered by dogma, ideology, or preconceived notions.”1 Our second promise is our continual pursuit of what we now recognize as the primary purpose of education—human flourishing. This plan renews our commitment to the noble task of providing young Ridleians with the cornerstones on which they can build flourishing lives. In Flourishing 2.0, we recognize that if we are to truly have impact in ‘transforming our globe,’ we must expand our focus on the individual to include the cultivation of flourishing communities and ecosystems. An education that focuses on others is also at the heart of our motto, Terar Dum Prosim, and this plan celebrates Ridley’s generational ‘north star.’ Seeking new avenues to imbue the spirit of service in all Ridleians is a primary task of this new strategy. Now more than ever, a flourishing society needs a populace that is curious and open-minded, caring and compassionate. It requires citizens who care about the good of the whole, and a public square that relies on creative, critical thinkers who are confident and nimble enough in their thinking to manage exponential change, uncertainty and, as we have recently experienced, an increasing sense of threat. The strategic concepts of Deepening our Promise seek to address these aspirations.
Deepening our Potential
Deepening our Connections
Potential is defined by “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.” In Ridley’s context, two areas of latent opportunity include Global Ridley and Innovation in Boarding.
Finally, Deepening our Connections is all about our place in the world—strengthening our community, our networks and our relationships. Strong relationships and reciprocal community connections are the very definition of flourishing ecosystems. In so much as they allow our learners to contribute outside the gates, these relationships also strengthen the Ridley experience on campus in immeasurable ways.
Today, our student body looks like the modern profile of Canada in terms of racial, national, religious, and gender diversity. What we do with this variation in background, identity and worldview matters—not only to Ridley, but to the world beyond the Marriott Gates. Diversity of experience, worldview and identity advances the College’s mission by fostering an inclusive learning environment where students and adults develop as balanced, confident leaders who can succeed in a diverse and globally integrated world. We are engaged in the intellectual project of renewing a tradition and vision in order make good on our promise to “transform our globe.” In the years to come, Ridley College will extend its global footprint and maximize the benefits of our reach here on campus and beyond. This is a signature strength and holds a wellspring of potential for us. With a student body representing upwards of 60 nations around the world, Ridley is uniquely positioned to offer a Canadian education within a global village. In doing so, we enrich the education of both Canadian and international students. Our second strategy in this category is Innovation in Boarding. As one of the largest boarding schools in Canada, Ridley commits to a renewal of the boarding experience and reinforces residential education’s position in the project of inspiring flourishing lives. Innovation also means adaptation, and we must continue to adapt in the face of changing sociodynamics and trends in communal living. At the same time, our boarding houses are a precious physical asset and must be protected, maintained and improved to ensure that Ridley will continue to be synonymous with world-class boarding.
Deepening our Connections is comprised of three self-explanatory strategies: Flourishing Workplace, Engage Niagara and Strengthening the Ridley Community. Implicit in each strategy is the concept of reciprocity. Our promise of a flourishing workplace returns an engaged faculty and staff who are passionate about curating a transformative student experience. Engage Niagara is a reciprocal promise to elevate Ridley’s contribution to the development of Niagara—and is one that will return the region’s natural abundance to our learning community. And finally, by strengthening the Ridley community, we add value to the lives of our friends, parents and alumni and, in return, build a sustainable culture of philanthropy and volunteerism. As was true at our founding in 1889, the College’s commitments to opportunity, service and transformative education depend on philanthropic support and on the wise investment of our resources. Ridley has long been known for its commitment to the whole child—mind, body and spirit. The Ridley community is also famous for the density and durability of its connections and for the contributions of its alumni. Our new strategic plan intentionally uses the word “deepen” to conflate the legacy of our past with the exciting potential of our future. It will guide school improvement initiatives and accelerate several bold and innovative opportunities that lie before us. It is with deep gratitude that I recognize the many passionate Ridleians who contributed to this inspirational roadmap, who continue to believe in the promise of our vision and who give of both time and treasure in support of our potential. Stay tuned for future updates! TIGER | FALL 2021
our STRATEGIES STRATEGY
A Learning Community
Terar Dum Prosim
Innovation in Boarding
Strengthening the Ridley Community
Advance Ridley as a dynamic learning community dedicated to confronting the complexity of the 21st century by fueling a passion for learning and prioritizing critical and creative thinking.
Prioritize wellbeing as the primary purpose of education and teach students the habits of mind, body and spirit as the foundation for a life well lived.
Engender in Ridleians a commitment to “be consumed in service” and infuse the Ridley experience with opportunities to serve others.
Deepen the culture and ethos of boarding at Ridley and deliver a transformative experience with a distinct value proposition for students.
Expand our global competency and advance Ridley as a Canadian school of the world, preparing students for the world.
Cultivate a flourishing workplace to strengthen performance, innovation and the advancement of Ridley’s mission and vision.
Secure Ridley as a valued member of the Niagara community, creating positive impact and pride in our local community.
Engage the Ridley network in support of the sustainability and the advancement of our College across Canada and around the world.
THE CAMPAIGN FOR RIDLEY TIGER | FALL 2021
Dear Ridley Community, It is our collective and distinguished privilege to be championing the largest fundraising campaign in the history of our great school— The Campaign for Ridley. For more than a century, Ridley College has inspired excellence, preparing generations of students to become confident, productive citizens, and forming a community which spans the globe. The story of Ridley, our story, is one which has stood the test of time—and, together, we’re writing the next chapter in its history. In 2018, we began fundraising for The Campaign for Ridley to address the future learning needs of our students and campus facilities. The transformation of the Iggulden Building and Sports Complex, as well as new outdoor spaces—fresh, innovative designs will enhance the student experience in the years to come. A large portion of this campaign also includes substantially increasing our current endowment to ensure future generations will benefit from a Ridley education. Since the campaign’s beginning, our community has come forward and provided overwhelming support. We invite you to explore the following pages to discover the future of Ridley and how you, too, can play a part.
Georgina H. Black ’85 Campaign Co-Chair
G. Scott Paterson ’82 R. Michael Stevens ’77 Campaign Co-Chair Campaign Co-Chair
CAMPAIGN OVERVIEW The Campaign for Ridley is the first step in a multi-phased approach to construction and renovation, which will enable us to create a more modern, vibrant and student-centred environment focused on collaboration. The anticipated overall capital costs of the entire multi-year plan will be in excess of $100 million. Ridley has embarked on Phase One of this campaign with a goal of $40 million: $30 million for capital projects and $10 million for the endowment.
CAMPAIGN GOAL BREAKDOWN Capital Projects
“A Ridley education offers students unparalleled opportunities to flourish, preparing them to thrive and to lead in a competitive, ever-changing world. The Campaign for Ridley will spur creativity and enable us to provide thoughtful, inspiring spaces for teaching and learning, and to emphasize health and wellbeing through sport and physical literacy. Of equal importance, the campaign will support our endowment fund, to ensure Ridley is financially strong for generations to come." – Shelley Huxley Director of Development
continue to 'Explore the Transformations'
TIGER | FALL 2021
TIGER | FALL 2021
IGGULDEN BUILDING TRANSFORMATION The Iggulden Building occupies a prominent place in our school’s history— and it will be given new life as a vibrant learning space and centre for the visual and performing arts. Extensive renovation and expansion will create approximately 35,000 square feet of space that will elevate the student experience and provide a variety of learning spaces. Our Creative Commons will house a design makerspace, film studio, ceramics room, tech lab, and design studio. In the new Music Conservatory, a strings room, a practice room and a state of the art music recording studio, will advance music's role at Ridley. The innovative space will also feature a Band Room and Performance Hall— complete with flexible seating for 240. Connecting the Creative Commons with the Music Conservatory, an open concept atrium will serve as a light-filled Art Gallery, showcasing student artwork and Ridley’s own extensive collection. Finally, our Learning Commons—a modern library complete with a café for study break snacking—will transform the way students learn and engage, giving them a comfortable place on campus to research, collaborate and socialize.
TIGER | FALL 2021
TIGER | FALL 2021
SPORTS COMPLEX At Ridley, no day is complete without physical activity, and students will be moved to move in our renovated and expanded Sports Complex. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, developing physical literacy or finding your Zen, this impressive space will encourage students of all ages to maintain a healthy mind-body connection. The renovated Fieldhouse and Sports Complex will include: • A three-court hardwood floor gymnasium; • Squash Complex that includes competition-grade courts; • Yoga/Fitness Studio; • Fitness Commons; • Purpose-built Fitness Centre; • Renovated rowing training room, and; • Six athletic team change rooms. The renovated Fieldhouse, with its beautiful seating and sight lines, will also serve as a congregation hall, allowing for full school assemblies and large community gatherings.
TIGER | FALL 2021
TIGER | FALL 2021
QUAD AND OUTDOOR AREAS Every year, students of all ages look forward to spring and the opportunity to take advantage of Ridley’s unique and beautiful grounds. Phase One plans will enhance our outdoor spaces with a new Pedestrian Quadrangle. This common outdoor area, between the Iggulden Building and Sports Complex, will be landscaped in a manner appropriate for pedestrian-only traffic and connect with the existing Merritt Quad. Over on the south side of the Iggulden Building, the existing parking lot will be transformed into a lush Creative Arts Courtyard—an extension of the Creative Commons which will give students space to study, work on art projects and showcase projects. Finally, a new Terrace will bridge the connection between the Pedestrian Quadrangle and Music Conservatory. This visually appealing space can be adapted for gatherings and outdoor performances.
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ENDOWMENT Our school prides itself on the ability to provide talented, promising and deserving students with the legacy of a Ridley education through a robust bursary and scholarship programme. In order to maintain strong enrollment and ensure Ridley remains a diverse community, accessible to gifted, ambitious students, it remains vital that we increase our current endowment. A strong endowment will enable many promising scholars, artists, leaders, and athletes to benefit from a Ridley education, and ensure our story remains rich, diverse and filled with promise.
TIGER | FALL 2021
TIGER | FALL 2021
the Way Transformative Gifts to The Campaign for Ridley
Norris Walker ’52 Since graduating from Ridley in 1952, Norris has been a staunch supporter of his alma mater. The Walker family is a legacy family at Ridley. His late brother John Walker ’58; late daughter Jennifer Robinson ’82; grandson Chris Robinson ’11; nephews David '83, Geordie '90 and Ian ’90; and niece Wendy Mitchell ’85 all attended Ridley as well. Norris's giving spirit kickstarted the Campaign for Ridley and helped set us on a firm path toward reaching our goal. In recognition of his support, we look forward to naming the Iggulden Building’s new Creative Commons in Norris's honour.
“[My time at Ridley] was a transformative experience…I’ve always felt it was important to ensure future generations are provided with that same opportunity.” — NORRIS WALKER ’52
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Bruce Mitchell ‘64 One of Ridley’s most loyal supporters and volunteers throughout the past decades, Bruce Mitchell contributed a transformative gift to the Campaign that will help cement our position as the top Canadian independent school. A current trustee on Ridley’s Canadian Foundation, former board member and parent to three graduates (Cassandra '91, Andrew '98 and Scott '98), Bruce truly understands the impact a Ridley education can make in a student’s life.
G. Scott Paterson ’82 Since his own Prize Day in 1982, G. Scott Paterson has given of his time and talent to Ridley, both as a donor and as our longest serving board member. He has remained actively engaged with our community since graduation—and we are truly grateful for his service to our school. Scott’s recent lead gift to The Campaign for Ridley (which he is also co-chairing) will support the Performance Hall and will make a significant impact in attracting talented students to our school. Scott will be the first to share that he benefitted immensely from the financial assistance programme when he was a student at Ridley—and it's why he continues to be a great supporter of scholarships and bursaries.
Ron Mannix ’66 Esteemed Calgary philanthropist and staunch Ridley supporter, Ron Mannix has been a loyal donor for many years, and always makes a point of returning to campus to catch up with friends from the Class of 1966. A proponent of the arts, Ron’s early and generous gift will be directed towards a purpose-build music conservatory and practice rooms in the renovated Iggulden Building.
We are incredibly grateful to our lead donors for their early support and commitment to the Campaign. Your enthusiasm created a spark that will forever make a difference to Ridley College. Contributions from all our donors will have a lasting impact on our school’s prosperity and the quality of educational experience we are able to provide Ridleians. We recognize and thank everyone who has donated to The Campaign for Ridley to date. — ED KIDD, HEADMASTER
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Campaign Volunteers The Campaign for Ridley has been a tremendous success to date due to the incredible enthusiasm and commitment of our volunteers. We will be forever grateful for their guidance, encouragement, and tenacity. Cabinet:
Georgina Black '85 (Co-Chair)
Richard Hazell '74
David Anderson '88
G. Scott Paterson '82 (Co-Chair)
Nadine Karachi '87
Chris Carter '68
Suzanne Court '86
R. Michael Stevens '77 (Co-Chair)
Hal Gould '69
Gord Chaplin '61
Bruce Mitchell '64
Geordie Hendrie '74
Dean Karachi '87
Tim Coffin '81
Matt Picken '93
Brian Iggulden '67
Rob Evans '77
Graham Stanley '85
Richard Ivey '68
Tim Griffin '68
Rob Stratton ‘71
Darcy McKeough '51 Bryan Rose ‘96
Consider how you will help write the next chapter in Ridley College’s history.
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from True Chaos By (Kiishi) Tamilore Femi-Johnson '22 and (Kaka) Onyedikachukwu Peters '23
I've learned to slow down and reflect on what matters most.
I’ve learned to hold on to love, hope, empathy, and humanity.
I’ve learned to absorb particles of intermittent happiness by taking in the experiences, the dreams in people’s eyes, the lessons I learn, the love that cradles my heart, the laughter I hear—none of which I would find on my phone.
I’ve learned nothing stays the same. This day, this week, this month, this year are all temporary. Just as tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year will be. Life is fragile and fleeting. I shouldn’t delay what needs to be said and done. I should order dessert.
learned 9 I’ve that it’s never too late to do better. 66
I’ve learned nothing stays the same and so I shouldn’t either. I cannot change yesterday, but I can learn from it and can change tomorrow. Yesterday made me who I am today, and who I am today decides who I will be tomorrow.
I’ve learned to close my eyes and imagine the best version of me. That’s who I really am. And I need to let go of any part of me that doesn’t believe it.
A year ago, everything was different. Millions were still alive, thousands still employed. It was impolite to cross the street to avoid a stranger; it was weird to wear a mask. Online school was reserved for celebrity children and socially distanced classrooms were for examinations. We realize now more than ever that a year can do a lot to a person. In 365 days, we lost, won, cried, laughed, loved, lived, and—most importantly—we learned. We stayed confined to the four walls of our houses and directed our attention inward, as everything outside seemed to be falling apart. It was in the depths of our souls and our minds' abyss that we found true chaos. There are some things you learn in calm and some things you learn in storm. Here is what we learned in the storm:
I’ve learned hope and light comes when I expand my heart and soul wide enough to let glimmers of sunshine stream through my life—and keep it there.
I’ve learned to give each day everything I’ve got. Not just in terms of work, but to my family, friends, and passions as well.
I’ve learned to do things that make me smile: to sing at the top of my lungs, to hug, to surround myself with people who make me feel alive, to raise my voice for justice; to live louder, smile brighter, and bring good energy wherever I go.
I’ve learned to take time to figure out what moves me, what I deeply crave in life. To figure out my heart and mind.
I’ve learned to believe I am deserving of everything I desire.
I’ve learned I can have that exhilarating, exciting feeling we call “butterflies”—just from waking up and realizing I have 24 hours to fill with memories.
I’ve learned life is not about finding that one great love, but about all the moments before I fall in love with someone. Life is when I am in love with myself. When I am in love with life.
I’ve learned to be the change I wish to see in our society.
I’ve learned I have a fire inside me that convenience and comfort cannot extinguish.
I’ve learned everything in life is art. Everything. What I do, how I dress, the way I love, the way I speak, my smile, my personality, my feelings, my dreams, my grocery list, my handwriting.
I’ve learned on the hard days I should remember that no matter how many times the world may break me, this same world will also build me right back up. The sun always rises again; things do get better. It is through our darkened journeys that we are taught to chase the light.
I’ve learned that I may be at the bottom of the hill but, if I look up long enough, I will see the awe-inspiring summit inviting me to step up and into its warm and welcoming beauty.
I’ve learned that happiness is a choice: the same way I feed myself when I am hungry is the same way I must try to increase my happy hormones when I am sad.
I’ve learned there will be a reward. Whether it’s what I wished for or something better. Whether it’s what I’ve been waiting for or something beyond my wildest dreams.
I’ve learned I may not understand the whole picture now, but when it is done, I will see that every stroke had its purpose. Every little dot came together to create something worth looking at. Worth remembering. I will find the silver lining in every tragedy, the lesson in every struggle.
I’ve learned to fall in love with the process, the messiness of life and the confusion of it all.
I’ve learned once the dust settles and the light shines brighter, a stronger, wiser me will be staring back in the mirror.
I’ve learned I am the author of my story, the artist assigned to this blank canvas called life. I need to act like every moment is the last scene of a coming-ofage movie.
I’ve learned to think of the bad times I’ve survived. Of the problems that once plagued me. Life is an endless cycle of battles and I’ve won them all. I’ve pushed through the mess, dug myself out of the dirt. I can do it again.
I’ve learned I am my stories, my moments, my experiences. I am every book I have ever read, every place I have ever visited, every person I have loved. I am made up of all those things that made me laugh and cry. I am the sum of my dreams and hopes.
I’ve learned to stop wishing for the weekend and waiting for special events. Live in each moment, ride the wave of life with a feeling of contentment and joy. read more
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I’ve learned I don’t have to follow the crowd. I don’t have to want the same thing as everyone else, or to go down the same path everyone takes. There is beauty in individuality.
I’ve learned that my perception of who I am is not always accurate. Sometimes I see myself only through eyes that are blinded by hatred.
I’ve learned that I can live forever— as memories, lessons, and smudges on other peoples’ canvases.
I’ve learned life’s struggles are not meant to break me. They are meant to build me. They are there to lead me to the person I am meant to be.
I’ve learned when I am holding too much to carry, I must release it. I must allow myself to hurt, to break, to collapse, and retreat—but I must also remember to awaken the warrior within me.
I’ve learned it is within loss that I find gratitude for all that I have.
I’ve learned to see the magic in the mundane or ordinary. See the myriad of possibilities beneath my fingertips, within my grasp. See a masterpiece when others might see a blank canvas.
I’ve learned to yearn for acceptance. The kind that will settle into my bones and quiet the inner voice that tells me that I’m not good enough.
I’ve learned I spend so much time worrying about the thing that matters least: beauty. No one has ever impacted me by being beautiful or having a ‘perfect’ body. I am impacted by their kindness, loyalty and patience; their vulnerability; their smile.
I’ve learned to give myself permission to rest. When my soul is crying out for time to breathe and my mind is flooded with chaotic thoughts, I will rest. It is in rest that I regain my strength.
I’ve learned that I can be selfish sometimes. I’m allowed to put my needs before anyone else. I’m allowed to tell people how I really feel, even if it might hurt. I’m allowed to choose the people I want in my life. I’m allowed to change my mind. I’m allowed to be everything I want to be.
I’ve learned I cannot recreate people. I cannot turn them into who I want them to be. Though I can recognize their potential, I can only wish them well as they learn, as they become, as they travel their own journey. Life has a funny way of teaching people what they need to learn. It is not my job.
I’ve learned to let love guide everything I do, and to share this love with each person I meet.
I’ve learned that self-care is not always synonymous with making things easier for myself. Sometimes I must challenge myself to get up and put in the effort necessary to be happy.
I’ve learned to decide to see the perfection of my imperfections. It will take time, but I must be patient and kind to myself. The moment I realize my own self-worth, I will no longer settle for that which doesn’t resonate with me. I will start to see things for what they are and to learn that not everything is worth my time or my energy.
I’ve learned I’ve always wanted what I currently have. If 12-year-old me saw me now, she would be proud.
I’ve learned beauty lies not in my appearance, but in the art I create, the poetry I write, the positivity I spread.
I’ve learned that loving myself doesn’t mean I’m at my goal weight or that I’ve achieved the right grade. It is a state of mind.
I’ve learned that ‘teenage life’ is too romanticized by society. It is okay to be single, sober, and watching Netflix in my room on a Friday night.
I’ve learned Instagram is a highlight reel. Behind every perfect picture, there are 50 others that didn’t make the cut.
I’ve learned there are vast regions of Black life that have nothing to do with suffering or oppression. We lead lives that are also filled with joy, romance, laugher, and astonishing beauty.
learned to appreciate the simple things in life: lunch with 50 I’ve friends, smiles from strangers, hot summer days, and the warm breeze on my skin; raindrops tickling my palms and teethchattering winter sensations; time spent with family; hugging those I love; shopping for fun; conversations with teachers; Saturday nights in Mandeville house, full shelves at the store; and, ultimately, life itself.
TIGER | FALL 2021
alumni work @ Part of ‘bouncing back stronger’ involves recognizing new opportunities and thinking a step or two ahead. Over the pandemic, we've relied more than ever on innovative technologies to keep us learning, working, connected, and entertained. Part scary, part exciting, things have changed—and we know bringing along the good stuff into the ‘new normal’ is only going to make for a better, stronger Ridley and world at large. As one of our featured alumni puts it, “In the coming decades, there will be job titles we’ve never heard of before,” and we’re ensuring students are equipped with the foundational skills they’ll need to hit the ground running. We always have. And the proof is in their stories. We spoke with Alex Clark ’06, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at eCommerce powerhouse Shopify, who shared how small businesses are finding big support online; talked work-fromhome with Microsoft expert Jeff Bell ’88; waxed nostalgic for our BlackBerry Bolds with retired VP Sales at RIM, Don McMurtry ’82; and connected with international alumna Nancy Ting ’94, who’s now Head of Consumer and Brand Marketing at Google Hong Kong. For these alumni, it’s about looking forward and making things better, be it through supporting our entrepreneurs, working smarter, challenging the status quo, or expanding our global reach. Read on to see how Ridley’s top techsperts are making a difference—and are working to put the world at our fingertips.
TECHNOLOGY FEATURE TIGER | FALL 2021
Savvy Alex Clark ’06 talks good policy, giving back—and how she's helping bring opportunity to a new generation of entrepreneurs.
If you spent a good part of the past year seeking small business gems on social, listening for the comforting sound of the delivery truck, or contemplating the items in your virtual cart, you’re in good company. With consumers bereft of their bricks-and-mortar gotos, online shopping hit an all-time high during the pandemic—and it looks like it’s here to stay. For alumna Alex Clark ’06, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Canada’s eCommerce powerhouse Shopify, the ability to support retailers beyond your local mall is exactly the kind of diversification the system needs. “More voices, more power in the hands of the many and not the few—we’ve rediscovered the online version of Main Street and it’s exhilarating,” she explains as we spoke earlier this summer. “If the government can use the momentum we’ve seen through this pandemic around supporting entrepreneurship, we could have a much more diverse, interesting and stable economy moving forward.” It seems Alex has always been keen to bring fresh talent to the table—and that means fighting for good policies; finding innovative ways to expand reach; and providing opportunity to those who, historically, were often overlooked. “Looking back, I was able to leverage my education, my network and even life experiences to get me 72
through the door,” she shares. “It’s an advantage to have one of those, let alone all three, so I’ve always believed in finding ways to allow more people to participate that otherwise couldn’t.” It’s a community mindset she comes by honestly. Her grandfather, Old Ridleian Ian Reid ’44, and grandmother, Margot, instilled its importance in their family; both received the Order of Canada in recognition of their community service. Alex is part of a long line of Ridleians: her grandfather Ian; uncles Tim ’78 and Ross Reid ’71; aunt Sarah Cameron ’84; and sister Jillian Clark ’03 all attended Ridley. When she was 16, Alex decided to turn her focus from competitive tennis and considered where to spend one final, adventurous year—and having listened to plenty of Ridley stories around the dinner table, Alex knew the school would check the right boxes. She enrolled for the 2005-06 academic year. And from the moment she arrived on campus, she made the most of it, serving as captain of the First Girls Rugby team, House captain of Gooderham West (she’s held on proudly to her House ring), and assistant captain of the then newly formed JV Girls Hockey team, which she helped create. “It was a bunch of us that had never played hockey—most of us had never learned how to stop on skates. The boards absorbed a lot of our momentum!” she
alumni @ work Failure is part of the journey and will only make you a better entrepreneur if you take the time to learn from it. Never skip over understanding why something failed. As we say at Shopify: Failure is the successful discovery of something that did not work.
remembers. “But by the end of the season, we were a dream team. I was surrounded by these badass women who just wanted to have fun and compete.” The arts soon came calling too. Alex played Béline, Aragon’s fortune-hunting second wife in the Upper School production of Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid (Le Malade Imaginaire). “A special dedication to my grandfather,” Alex wrote in her sunny Acta entry later that year, “without him blazing the Ridley trail, I worry I would have missed this influential year… Thank you, Ridley for opening your doors to me and welcoming me into the family.” Though Alex left after graduation to pursue a degree in Political Science (first at the University of British Columbia and then Carleton University), she kept in touch with her peers in the years that followed—and the Ridley family afforded her some new connections along the way. These days, Alex lives in Ottawa with her husband, Jarett and their eight-year-old dog, Boomer. When we spoke in June, she and Jarett were expecting their first child and predicting life would soon be busier
than ever—and that’s certainly saying something. The proud alumna currently sits on the leadership board of the Women’s Training Camp with the Ottawa REDBLACKS and is on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success, an organization that empowers women and helps them to re-enter the workforce. And as Shopify’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, her day job keeps things hopping as well. Knocking down barriers to success seems to have always been at the core of her career, which from the start has followed an impressive path. Alex started out in politics, working for the Liberals when they were the official Opposition under Michael Ignatieff. Following that, she took what she learned and applied it to helping businesses navigate the system. She spent the next five years working with global clients across all sectors, developing their strategic communications and stakeholder plans, and lobbying on their behalf. But in helping these companies, it never did feel quite like her win, and she wanted to have more of a direct impact. Alex transitioned in-house at Microsoft as
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their Director of Corporate Affairs, dividing her time between Vancouver and the company’s headquarters in Seattle—and ultimately working with the B.C. government to build the Centre of Excellence. That’s when Shopify came calling. “It was a no brainer for me,” she laughs good-naturedly. “A Canadian company supporting small businesses and they have a slide in the office?!” Though an admittedly excellent selling feature, the company sure boasts more than a slide. If you’re still unfamiliar with the popular online platform, Shopify provides independent business owners with ecommerce and point of sale features to help them start, run and grow their business. More than two million merchants from over 175 countries use it— and they’ve created 3.6 million jobs and contributed $307+ billion in global economy impact. In 2016, Alex joined Shopify’s team as Director of Policy and Government Affairs, creating the company’s first Global Affairs team and advocating for policy ensuring governments around the world remove barriers for entrepreneurs to be successful. “It was a unique time for tech and government,” she recalls. “Government is accustomed to a dynamic with the private sector that’s based around value exchange. But if you were like Shopify five years ago, you historically had never needed government—but quickly they were showing up in your backyard making crucial policy decisions, while not always fully understanding the unintended consequences of those decisions.” As ‘innovation’ became the new buzz word across the country, with solutions being drawn up around everything from attracting talent to supporting young businesses, it became clear that Shopify needed a seat at the table. “That’s what I came to solve,” Alex explains. “It was less about lobbying and more about education.” From that role, Alex was asked to become Chief of Staff to CEO, Tobias Lütke. She moved deeper into the business, working alongside the Executive team as Shopify went through an exciting period of
hypergrowth. Their workforce doubled each year, global expansion took off and their merchant base now sits at over two million. This past year, Alex took on her current VP role, which covers Shopify’s Corporate Development and the SHOP app; she’s also advisor to the Executive team and CEO. But her passion for small business doesn’t end at their office door. In recent months, Alex co-launched Backbone Angels, a collective of ten active angel investors who invest in women and non-binary founders. These angels—all women who bring years of experience in everything from legal to UX to marketing—prioritize investments in Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour led companies who deserve the capital and support to build the companies of the future. Alex is a founding partner.
“We realized our collective experience was incredibly powerful and by launching ‘Backbone’ we’ll be able to support more companies. We’ve spent most of our careers on the front line of entrepreneurship,” Alex says. “We know the story of the journey and the individual matters just as much as the final product.” More people are choosing entrepreneurship, she posits—and it’s paying off. In the past months they’ve reviewed hundreds of decks, met with founders and have invested in some exciting companies. But though there’s plenty of hope for a new generation of entrepreneurs, there’s work to be done; the pandemic shone a spotlight on the vulnerabilities we have as an economy.
“Canada can sometimes be referred to as ‘laggards’ when it comes to technological adoption,” explains Alex, “and some of that became painfully obvious when we didn’t have the right systems in place to address the needs of individuals and businesses through this pandemic. Businesses that survived were those that quickly shifted to online because now you could no longer depend on your brickand-mortar store for foot traffic, and you needed to expand to a larger or global market.” “The silver lining of this is that we’re seeing small businesses doing really well because they removed the dependency of in-person,” she adds. Now, it’s all about using that momentum to bring those entrepreneurs to the table to address what are some very real barriers. It’s only through inclusive conversations and good policies that the country will move forward and live up to its potential—and Alex is hopeful. One way to bring about change? People need to get involved.
“Getting involved in politics was once seen as this honourable way to serve your country, and now I think it’s seen as this thankless, dirty job that no one wants. We really need to change that narrative,” she says. “We need people shaping this country that embrace the potential of the future and understand where we’re heading—and we need women.” As we wrap up our conversation, it seems like the perfect opportunity to ask Alex if she has any advice for Ridley’s young entrepreneurs. “It’s really hard,” she replies. “Expect to fail…a lot. But recognize that failure is part of the journey and will only make you a better entrepreneur if you take the time to learn from it. Never skip over understanding why something failed. As we say at Shopify: Failure is the successful discovery of something that did not work.” So, good reader, following a year filled with uncertainty but lined with the silvery promise of something new, go forth and find your passion— whatever that may be—and go for it. And while you’re deciding, hit ‘buy’ on that shopping cart.
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Driven Ridley students and employees spent the past year connecting largely via Microsoft Teams, so we just had to sit down with longtime MS expert, Jeff Bell ’88 to talk tech. Now, the alumnus shares his take on the future of work—and how Microsoft kept us clicking during a global pandemic.
alumni @ work
Jeff Bell '88 takes our call from his home office in Seattle, Washington. “Well, it wasn’t a home office until a year ago,” he explains practically, looking out at the Olympic Mountains, “it was our guest bedroom. But that’s the way the world has changed.” Like many of us, Jeff, too, has been working from home during the pandemic. Back in 1991, the numbers minded Ridleian took on a summer internship at Microsoft. At the time, Jeff was working on an adaptation kit for companies to put MS-DOS 5.0 in their handheld devices (which he nods to as an essentially early ancestor of the iPhone). His officemates were busy working on Windows 3.1 and employees one door over were tackling applications. Jeff returned to Princeton University that fall to finish up his senior year, then moved out to Seattle as a fulltime Microsoft employee. He’s worked there ever since, challenging the ‘Bay Area stereotype’ that people in tech tend to hop from company to company. Over the years, Jeff’s been able to move within the organization and dive deep into a variety of projects that speak to his skills and interests, including type and typography; digital rights management; digital payments and wallets; tools for early e-commerce; and eBooks and ePub standards. And if, like us, you love the ‘Save as PDF’ functionality in Office Suite, you can thank Jeff—he led the small team that worked with Adobe to add it as a built-in feature.
Today, Microsoft employs more than 175,000 people worldwide, and Jeff is an expert on Microsoft 365 subscriptions. The quick pace of technology means they’re always rolling out new features and waiting for customers to renew can be a real drag—for creators and consumers alike. But with people now automating everything from music to razors to poultry, a simple subscription ensures users will always get their mouse on the most current iteration. “Think of Netflix as an example,” Jeff explains. “If I were to buy a hard disk or a chip with all the shows on it, but it doesn’t update itself with anything, how exciting is that? People producing a new show would have to wait for viewers to upgrade their Netflix or buy a new TV.” “In the software world, we’ve long had this challenge—we’d build all these great new features we really like, but our customers were still using this thing from five years ago that they’d buy new only when they’d buy a new PC. We want to get the updates to everyone faster, and if we can help make that easy, we can give everyone a better experience and a better product.” Since March 2020, discussions of secure, collaborative products and ‘work-from-home ergonomics’ have taken on new life as employees perch at kitchen counters, occupy dining room chairs and hunch over coffee tables.
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Though we may have had to keep an eye on our steps, many of us were undeniably lucky to be able to work remotely during a time when the world, in large measure, shut down. Technologies like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet kept us connecting, celebrating, and producing. MS Teams saw a huge uptick in users over the pandemic, and was one of the fastest growing apps, adding a whopping 95 million users in 2020. More than 500,000 organizations worldwide now use it as their default messaging platform, including over 183,000 educational institutions. Though he may be working from home these days, for Jeff, connecting virtually is old hat. “At some level, that’s how my old world was. I spent two years where my manager and immediate team actually sat in Dublin, Ireland,” he recalls. “And Microsoft is a decent-sized campus. When I’m working with the commerce team or the payments team and they’re a 10-to-20-minute shuttle ride or walk away, you meet with them on Teams. So much of my work was done on Teams and via email already.” Microsoft has been thinking about the future of hybrid work for years. One of the projects Jeff worked on, now nearly a decade ago, was meeting technology and hybrid meetings, with the team considering such things as collaborative notetaking. “We didn’t end up solving the problem at the time, but we made a little headway,” he muses, “and the world moved on. But there’s certainly an interest in watching how things played out once everyone had to go virtual.” And in many ways, Jeff’s been in on the experiment, as his own family learned to operate remotely this past year—which included everything from the logistics of virtual orchestra to scrambling to find a Nintendo Switch to play Animal Crossing. Jeff lives in Seattle with his son, Andrew, who’s going into Grade 12, and daughter, Elizabeth, who will be entering Grade 10. His wife, Anna, a lawyer by training and a former JAG officer, is a romance writer. Though there was certainly some trial and error in the day-to-day, the pace slowed for everyone; a smaller stride meant more frequent video calls with Jeff’s Ottawa-based parents, his extended 78
family in Alberta, and his sister, alumna Jensa Morris ’90, who’s now a doctor based in Connecticut. He’s also continued to keep active in his downtime, golfing throughout Seattle’s long season and still serious about running—he’s run 20 marathons to date, a passion which goes back to his days as a harrier at Ridley. Jeff came to the Lower School over Christmas in Grade 7, having started French immersion earlier that year and wanting a different kind of education. A conversation with family connection, The Reverend Donald Hunt, soon led the young whiz to Ridley—and, once there, Jeff never looked back. He spent the next seven years as a day student. In Lower School, he played cricket, soccer, squash, tennis, and hockey. When he transitioned to Upper School, now a student of Merritt South, he focused on playing hockey and competing both as a harrier and on the tennis courts. He was a Cadet sergeant, a House Prefect, and received both the T.R. Merritt Matriculation Gold Medal and the Governor General’s Medal. Jeff’s impressive skills in mathematics were known widely, so it was of little surprise that he sought a future career in engineering. “There are lots of domains in which you can solve problems, but I was strong in maths and sciences,” he remembers. “Engineering just felt like a place where there are always fun problems to solve and good tools for doing it.” It was simply a question of where. Jeff was in Grade 12 and applying to Ontario programmes when his teacher, Brian Martin approached him and asked if he’d considered any American schools. He hadn’t, thinking those kinds of plans were years in the making. But it was a late decision which paid off; Jeff got in his applications just under the deadline and was accepted to the engineering programme at Princeton University. What comes across as he talks about his work, however, is that it’s clearly about more than math alone (though he certainly spends his time deep in the numbers): Jeff is essentially a storyteller, contextualizing the data and using it as a tool to gain insight into what consumers are doing (or aren’t),
There were always people who worked remotely— we just tended to ignore them. Now we’ve all been that remote person for the past year-and-a-half, there’s that much more awareness of how to make it work for everyone.
how the business is working (or isn’t), and what’s going to be good for both. What impact are we having? Are we touching people at scale? How can we build the right thing? “That fluency is almost more valuable than code,” he agrees, “It used to be fashionable to talk about how everyone should be fluent in coding—and the expectation of numeracy and comfort in data modelling might sound equally dated in 20 years. But right now, it feels like the easiest people to work with are the ones who can have a conversation about the data.” And after the past year-and-a-half, the data has a lot to say. Today, Microsoft’s signature problem-solving efforts continue as a workforce contemplates its return to the office. How do workers use the chat function? How do things function when half the meeting’s attendees are remote? Is the chat channel more visible to those who are remote—and is it then ignored by those in the room? As we all inch closer to a new working model, mock-up solutions are popping up across the Microsoft campus. Their teams have been busy learning from what we’ve been doing these past months—and envisioning what a hybrid future might look like.
“I think we’ll get to a place where we have more of a recognition of those who are remote,” Jeff predicts. “There were always people who worked remotely— we just tended to ignore them. Now that we’ve all been that remote person for the past year-and-a-half, there’s that much more awareness of how to make it work for everyone.” And, notably, these changes bring with them important conversations about diversity, accessibility, and opportunities to broaden the hiring pool. “While Redmond and Seattle are lovely places, we don’t need to move the whole world here,” Jeff points out practically, citing his organization’s recent hires who will be staying put. “There are smart people everywhere and tons of opportunity. In tech, it takes a lot of people—and a lot of types of people—to deliver products.” Speaking with Jeff, you can’t help but be excited by what’s to come, knowing these technologies will only expand our reach across both office and globe. And though we’ve each had to pivot over the course of this pandemic, to park our cars and watch our work clothes hang in our closets like question marks—we are the lucky ones. There’s plenty of promise in the ‘new normal,’ status unknown, even as it’s still coming into focus.
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Messaging Retired VP Sales at RIM Don McMurtry ’82 knows playing in the tech industry is a full contact sport—and players need to be quick on their feet. Now, the Ridley Board member offers his take on the competitive sector and shares how strong communication and giving back have been fundamental aspects of his life.
If during the early 2000s you found yourself scanning the room for a flashing notification light, tapping happily on a tiny keyboard, or feeling phantom alerts in your pocket for the first (but not the last) time, chances are you’d jumped on the BlackBerry train— and we’d garner a guess you quickly became addicted to BB Messenger too. The wildly popular device that dominated the market (and infiltrated our culture) had been in the works since researchers at wireless data tech developer Research In Motion (RIM) found a way to not only receive messages on a pager, but to send them back. From there, it was only a matter of time before RIM launched the first BlackBerry, a wireless handheld computer capable of email, browsing and paging—and addictive enough to soon earn it the nickname, “Crackberry.” And if you’re unfamiliar, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that it wasn’t born in Silicon Valley; RIM was based in nearby Waterloo, Ontario—and Ridleian, Don McMurtry ’82 was its Vice President of Sales, joining the company in 1993 just as the wireless data market was emerging. As we chatted earlier this summer, Don came across as thoughtful, down-to-earth and distinctly outdoorsy—he canoes and kayaks and it would seem he’s happiest pitching a tent in the most remote parts
of Canada. On dry land, Don’s also passionate about running, occasionally still nostalgic for his days on Ridley’s track and harriers teams and running down the country roads near campus. Originally from Fort Erie, Don followed his brother John ’78 to Ridley in 1979 when their parents decided he should improve his university prospects. Soon after settling into Gooderham House, Don discovered the computer lab, and he laughs that being viewed as a computer nerd minimized competition for a scarce resource; at that time, only three other students had any interest. When he returned for Grade 12, Don brought along his own computer; by then, learning to programme had become an obsession—one which led him to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in New York. Don started classes at RPI a bit early, taking the opportunity to dabble broadly in introductions to philosophy, medical ethics and metaphysics, and he was soon on the lookout for a research project. “I had a broad interest in science from a young age,” he says, “and almost everyone at Rensselaer was studying either engineering or science. There were endless opportunities to explore new ideas and technologies.” The next summer, Don was hired as a database developer by a professor in the chemistry department. The research work would last throughout his time at the school.
alumni @ work
Exploring what is interesting and important to you beyond your career leads to many opportunities to contribute in your communities—and I say communities in the plural because we all develop a diversity of associations which are each a unique community. Helping those communities flourish by volunteering your skills, your time and your financial resources will expose you to even more communities that will enrich your life and others.
When he returned to Canada, Don moved to Waterloo, where he spent three years working as a Product Manager before accepting a job running sales and marketing for a nearby communications manufacturer. But as his new ‘early-stage’ employer struggled to put additional financing in place, they kept delaying his start date, and Don took matters into his own hands. He contacted a few of the Waterloo-based companies listed in the local technology guide, and soon found himself deep in conversation with RIM founder, Mike Lazaridis. Don walked out with a job offer. It really was a no-brainer. Inspired by the exciting potential of wireless data, Don quickly dropped the other—higher-paying—offer and started working for co-CEO Jim Balsillie as RIM’s first salesperson. “You gotta skate with your head up,” Jim warned; the tech industry was highly competitive and required its players to be agile and to relentlessly innovate—those who slowed, suffered defeat. Within a few years, Don became VP Sales and helped the company launch the BlackBerry in 1999. It would create an entirely new
category of product for network operators; until that point, the market had been dominated by Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia (at times referred to as ‘The MEN’). “That first year, we didn’t spend a dollar on advertising,” Don remembers, “but we had a very active PR campaign and gave out a lot of free demonstrations, making it easy for customers to test our product. Initially, we didn’t have ‘sales’ people; we had ‘wireless email evangelists.’ Wireless email revolutionized how people could conduct business and manage their lives.” As the BlackBerry took off, Don marvelled at how the small device changed users’ day-to-day routines: the senior executive who slept with it under his pillow so he could wake in the middle of the night and reply to emails from his colleagues in Japan; or the CIO of a Fortune 100 company who could be at her child’s Little League game while attending to corporate responsibilities—and that was before you could browse the web or make phone calls. During the terrorist attacks on September 11th,
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2001, the portions of the U.S. government that had deployed BlackBerry were more resilient and productive, results that substantially accelerated its adoption in many government organizations. “BlackBerry wasn’t the first wireless email solution,” explains Don, “but it was the first that connected you to your existing company email address and it was transformational because we made it very easy to adopt—we could gain users without working with the IT department, which became a common strategy for all of the cloud-based software platforms that have emerged in the last twenty years.” The initial wireless network had limited coverage compared to what we now enjoy, but BlackBerry used it efficiently, and battery life was nearly two weeks. As they expanded onto cellular networks around the world, RIM helped operators to retain or acquire new customers. From the start, the company had known it would need an enormous scale of distribution and plenty of strategic planning went into making those powerful partnerships. Don retired from RIM in 2006, but a year later, armed with millions of subscribers and an agreement to distribute BlackBerry smartphones in China, the company was worth a whopping $68 billion, making it the most valuable in Canada. Users hopped cheerfully from the Curve to Bold model (a resolution jump that matched Apple’s iPhone), and subscriptions kept on rising. Over the next few years, however, Google and Apple made headway fast. Google was building its own platform and operating system and Apple had learned to play hardball after it had lost the PC battle to Microsoft—and it sure wasn’t about to repeat the mistake in the smartphone wars. And though RIM
tried valiantly to pivot, purchasing new software systems and rolling out stores, models, apps, and tablets—even changing the company name to BlackBerry in 2013—things never did bounce back. Hindsight points to hasty engineering choices and the competition dumping billions into technology that RIM was slow to match. Leaders stepped down, staff was cut by the thousands and BlackBerry eventually exited the phone-manufacturing business altogether. “Momentum is a really important thing,” Don remarks wryly. “The computer industry has always been a fascinating place to play. But it’s a full contact sport; everyone is trying to put everyone else out of business. And when the whole industry plays by those rules, it moves incredibly quickly—because if you don’t, you get crushed.” Today, BlackBerry is competing for the software systems that run the current and next generation of cars—which are themselves becoming ever more mobile communication devices. Don still lives in Waterloo with his partner, Andrea, his time spent in nature and working as a selfproclaimed ‘voluntrepreneur’ (a term he coined to describe his entrepreneurial approach to volunteer work). Conservation is a large part of his focus. Don has served on the boards of Ontario Nature and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). “I once heard it said that there are three causes for acting unsustainably: greed, ignorance and desperation,” he says. “For most people, our unsustainable behaviour comes from a lack of understanding or from lacking the capacity to monitor how the countless things that we depend upon impact our natural world. I think of conservation organizations as businesses that I pay to make sure our local, provincial and federal governments are meeting the ecological needs of the plants and animals that cannot speak for themselves.”
He has also served on the Ridley’s Board of Governors since 2016 and has been Chair of the Advancement Committee since 2020. When asked where his penchant for service comes from, Don recalls his grandparents and parents always volunteered their time and resources to community service organizations, and his university education was paid for largely by an endowed scholarship. In turn, he created a scholarship at RPI which helps undergrads conduct research each year. Don has a system in place to keep track of organizations who are doing good work, and looks to fellow members of Ridley’s board who inspire him as they seek to fill in society’s gaps—like Ridley’s Scott Paterson ’82, whose not-for-profit, ComKids provides underserved children with computers and teaches digital literacy. “Being a volunteer is a good way to expand your compassion for others in society and to increase the number of communities you are involved with,” Don suggests. “The best not for profit organizations help their supporters participate in something of substantial value—they create a sense of community.” Since 2007, Don has also been volunteering with Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB), which was founded by two engineers who’d graduated from the University of Waterloo and sought to solve complex, system-wide challenges. Right away Don knew they were doing something big. “I liked their approach to helping young people (especially engineers) develop their capacity to make substantial changes to public policies that were perpetuating poverty in the world,” he explains, positing that EWB has delivered the biggest return on investment of any charitable donation he’s made. The organization has shaped several impactful changes to Canadian public policy, unlocking millions of dollars per year that help businesses around the world build their local economies, and has mentored a long list of social entrepreneurs along the way. “Two words,” Don replies when asked what advice he can offer fellow science enthusiasts and
voluntrepreneurs. “Study people. Studying how people communicate and make decisions is as essential as air—if you can’t do it then your career will suffocate.” That focus on communication really is key—no matter your sector. “When I was young, I naively thought I only needed to have the best or most innovative idea but being able to communicate well with others is absolutely essential,” Don advises. “The computer industry encompasses a huge breadth of careers now. Technical innovation and scientific discoveries almost exclusively rest on collaboration with colleagues. Managers will fail if their teams aren’t working together to create great products and deliver valuable services. And entrepreneurs will never see their ideas prosper if they can’t influence the opinions and desires of customers and investors.” After the past year-and-a-half, which brought with it both stories of inspiration and harsh societal lessons, Don is more determined than ever to support the initiatives that will help move society forward. “The most simple and profound marvels in our lives are due to an enormously interconnected network of ideas and innovations,” Don says, hoping the pandemic will encourage students to build a deep appreciation for the methods and tools of science and engineering. “This is an incredible opportunity for parents and educators to help young people see how these are woven into all of our lives.” And as the world shifts shape into something new, whether he’s paddling through Canadian landscapes or working with the causes he hopes will protect them, you can be sure Don is thinking of ways to keep reaching out. Communication, ever widening, only increases our ability to understand the complex issues facing our world, making global outreach possible, strengthening our relationships and organizing our day to day lives. It’s a good thing, and one he’s watched happen before.
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H E Y
Google Head of Consumer and Brand Marketing at Google Hong Kong, globe-trotter Nancy Ting ’94 knows innovation and new technologies really can make the world a better place—and she’s focused on bringing them to market. We checked in with the impressive alumna to see what’s next in tech and ask what advice she has for those who want in.
alumni @ work
Wellbeing has different definitions for people. It’s important to go through the exercise of making it clear to yourself what makes you happy, what wellbeing means to you. Then you need to openly communicate that to your boss, your co-workers, your family— especially what is your ‘non-negotiable.’
Whether you’re checking in on Gmail, down a virtual rabbit hole, or asking your Google Home to convert ounces to grams, there are few of us whose lives haven’t been touched by the online powerhouse. More than 3.5 billion searches are conducted on Google each day—that’s 40,000 per second—and it accounts for over 92 per cent of all global internet searches. Somewhere along the way, Google even co-opted our language, switching silkily from noun to verb. “Google it,” has become a go-to phrase, regardless of which search engine you’re on. So after a year where we spent more time on screens than ever before, we spoke with alumna Nancy Ting ’94, Google’s Head of Consumer and Brand Marketing in Hong Kong, who works for the company that, literally, has all the answers.
Ridley to broaden their perspectives; Newton lived in Merritt South and Nancy moved into Gooderham House West. Though it was her first time living away from home, Nancy quickly settled in, recalling fond memories of learning Caribbean dancing from her roommate Philice Davis ’94, her mentor, Ms. Williams—the first female pilot in St. Catharines— and gathering with the rest of the GWest girls at the home of their House mother, Mrs. Close, she called her ‘second home.’ Nancy still keeps in touch with classmates via social media and catches up with some of them right in Hong Kong.
Nancy started with Google after moving to Hong Kong in 2010 where she now lives with her sevenyear-old daughter. Though her role keeps her busy, Nancy makes sure to prioritize their time together, playing tennis and golf and, most recently, picking up skateboarding.
After graduation, Nancy attended Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, where she studied Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I’ve always wanted to solve problems to make the world a better place, so I decided to pursue an engineering degree,” she explains. “I went from not knowing how to turn on a computer to programming circuit boards in four years. So never be afraid to pursue disciplines that seem daunting. If you have the passion, there is always a way.”
The alumna graduated from Ridley in 1994, alongside her brother Newton. Their parents had sent them to
Nancy may not have known exactly what the end goal was at the time, but accruing a strong,
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transferrable skillset enabled her to work toward what she did know she wanted: to make a difference and be able to travel. “Having a background in science and maths helped me land jobs and projects in different parts of the world,” she says. For Nancy, living in new places is an exciting way to get to know people from different backgrounds and cultures, and it enables her to appreciate different points of view. She’s lived so far in Toronto, London, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Austin, San Francisco, and Beijing. “The challenging part is that one needs to re-establish one’s social circle,” she responds when asked how she settles into a new spot. “But I’ve found that if you follow your own interest, be it music, yoga or sports, you’ll be able to establish new circles pretty easily.” The key, she adds, is to be willing to try something new. For example, when she was living in New York, Nancy was drawn to comedy, so she joined improv classes at Upright Citizen’s Brigade. It was an opportunity to meet people outside her work environment—and to have a good laugh while she did it. That willingness to explore and try new things served Nancy well as she built her career, which has taken several unexpected turns along the way. Nancy’s first job was in Toronto as an eCommerce programmer at IBM, where she programmed internet applications from eCommerce websites to mobile apps to internet banking. Two years later, wanting to learn more about business, she moved to New York and worked for Deloitte Consulting as a strategy and management 86
consultant. She also pursued an MBA at MIT, gaining skills in areas like accounting, finance and marketing and switched industries, becoming an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. Next, Nancy started her own company, Mode Republic, a user-generated magazine which showcased international fashionistas’ daily outfits. The magazine offered a ‘Shop This Look’ feature so you could shop for similar items from online stores. But it was after moving to Hong Kong that Nancy was offered a position on Google’s marketing team, and she started out doing working for the Ads business in Greater China. “Working for years in different industries and functions, only reinforced my passion to use technology to make the world a better place,” she says. “Google is a company that’s constantly innovating, and it encourages employees to explore new positions and geographies every few years.” Two years ago, she switched to B2C marketing, and now looks after products like YouTube, Google Play, Google Classroom, Android, and more. “Marketing is a great mixture of arts and science,” she remarks. “We focus on quantitative data analysis as well as identifying true user insight—then we come up with creative campaign ideas and bring them to market.” The pandemic certainly affected how consumers and businesses alike use technology—a steady progression toward online options was sped up out of necessity, and traditional businesses recognized an urgent need for digitization. As foot traffic was reduced, small businesses were forced to build websites, up their social media game, and figure out
digital ads so they could still be found. And, what’s more, they needed to deliver their products and services via those online channels. And it wasn’t only commerce that was affected; day-to-day life still relies on digital tools, be they for work, remote learning or entertainment which, as Nancy notes, brings with it tremendous opportunities in all areas. Those opportunities mean that roles like Nancy’s are incredibly busy, so, of course, we have to ask how she manages her time and keeps on top of her own wellbeing—juggling motherhood, managing marketing for a company that’s constantly churning out new products, and tackling the year’s tougher realities like remote work and school. “Wellbeing has different definitions for people,” she replies. “It’s important to go through the exercise of making it clear to yourself what makes you happy, what wellbeing means to you. Then you need to openly communicate that to your boss, your co-workers, your family—especially what is your ‘non-negotiable.’” For Nancy, it’s important that she keeps healthy and spends quality time with those who matter. The pandemic was an opportunity to get in shape and keep her immune system strong, and she’s worked over the past months to focus on eating well and exercising. “I turned my biological age back to 25-years-old!” she laughs. With days filled with meetings, she also sets aside time where she turns off and just focuses on her work, and makes it clear to her colleagues that being there for her daughter—particularly in important moments—is her ‘non-negotiable.’
“It certainly helps that I love what I do for work,” Nancy says. “Even when I have some spare time, I’d be reading about the tech industry or the latest innovations. I’d recommend young Ridleians strive to land a job in a field that aligns with their passion as soon as they can. When your work is something that you enjoy, the wellbeing challenge is significantly reduced.” As students look ahead to their own careers, many of them considering jobs in the tech industry, Nancy recommends they equip themselves with strong foundational skills—like math, science and coding— that will give them plenty of room to pivot when required and to move around. “In the coming decades, there will be job titles we’ve never heard of before,” she advises. “Those foundational skills will prepare you for exciting new options. And don’t worry if you aren’t good at these things now. I failed Maths and Physics in Junior High. The turning point for me was at Ridley when I had amazing teachers who helped me understand how things work. Seeking great mentors and information will help you to master the latest knowledge—you just need to be inquisitive and invest the time and effort.” It’s sound advice. As opportunities expand, and with them, our ability to connect with and impact others across the globe, Nancy is the perfect example of someone who has approached her career with a strategically open mind and adventurously open arms. And as we conclude our conversation, each a world away from the other, connected only by a few of clicks, she leaves off with the words she’s always lived by: “Climb the mountain, not so that people can see you, but so that you can see the world.” TIGER | FALL 2021
CLASS NOTES WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Share a few short words with your fellow Old Ridleians about important milestones, career moves or philanthropic endeavours. Please include your full name and the year you graduated from Ridley.
High resolution images (300dpi, 2MB minimum) are welcome to accompany your Class Note. SEND TO: email@example.com
1960s John Jennings ’60 was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2019 for his part in establishing Peterborough’s Canadian Canoe Museum and for his writing on Canada’s canoe history. The now-retired history professor received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 from the Ontario Museum Association and was appointed to the Federal Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 2008. Bryan Finlay ’60 was awarded the Advocates’ Society Medal in 2019 for his contribution to the legal profession in Canada. The award is the society’s highest honour. Gord Durnan ’64 was recently announced as the 2020 Gravenhurst Senior of the Year, in recognition of his numerous contributions to Gravenhurst and the surrounding Muskoka community.
1980s Artist, Catherine Shea ’82 got her start painting at Ridley and is now sharing her skills with others! The alumna recently launched the Catherine Shea Studio & Online Art Academy, which offers virtual abstract painting courses, workshops and classes. This year, Deirdre Ayre ’85 was honoured with the P.J. Gardiner 2021 Newfoundland & Labrador Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She is the head of Canadian operations for Other Ocean Group Canada, a far-reaching company that develops video games for the industry’s most established partners. On Pi Day—held, aptly, on March 14th—Tim Coy ’86 recited the beloved mathematical constant to 1,510 digits during a competition at Shawnigan Lake School, where he teaches English. The impressive feat took 18 minutes and is the fifth-best time in Canadian history and 123rd in world rankings.
1990s Hong Kong-based actor, producer, musician, and alumna, Josie Ho ’91 is making an impact on the global film industry. With her production company, 852 Film, she hopes to increase awareness about Eastern culture in the West—and vice versa—all while breaking down barriers in the process.
Crisis response worker, Victoria Laine ’97 is making an impact in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she partners with the city’s police service on the IMPACT team to provide support to individuals and families on emergency mental health calls. The important initiative was launched in January and is the result of a partnership between the Thunder Bay Police Service, CMHA and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
2000s This year, Cait Bermuhler ’06 and her partner, Jess launched Bushel & Peck, a brick-and-mortar retailer that seeks to bring community together through food. The pair curates locally grown and crafted food items for the 1,000-sq-ft shop in St. Catharines. The ‘old school’ neighbourhood store presents a much-needed path to market for local food entrepreneurs—particularly during a year when many have found themselves professionally vulnerable due to the pandemic. Sana Alibux ’09 is not only inspiring a new generation of readers—she’s doing it with plenty of Canadian flavour. The author recently released an e-book titled Bev the Beaver that takes children on a journey across Canada in their beloved poutine truck.
2010s A former Ridley—now Team Canada—rower is heading to Tokyo! Coxswain, Laura Court '14 and her crew qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics after a heated race at the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Italy. We’ll be cheering them on! Lucy Black ’19 has been selected to represent Canada at this summer’s World Rowing U23 Championships.
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CLASS NOTES CONTINUED
In our Spring issue, we wrote that Attwill Medical Solutions, the company of William Jackson ’77, offers freezer services. This information is incorrect. Attwill is one of the largest contract lyophilization companies in the U.S., and develops and manufactures pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biologics. Bill is the company’s co-founder, managing partner and CEO. For more information, visit attwillmedical.com.
BIRTHS On April 3, 2021, Sarah Milligan ’04 and Darren Bleau ’04 welcomed a second daughter, Ainsley James Bleau, to their family. Jeanie Hendrie-Ault ’05 and husband George welcomed beautiful baby Caroline on April 17, 2021. Cate Stratton ’05 and husband Stephen Rice were thrilled to welcome Darcy Robert Rice on October 1, 2020.
Maddie Shirriff ’08 and Scott Cumming ’08 were married on September 14, 2020, in Whistler, B.C.
Daniel Lane ’02 and Andrea Carisse wed in a small ceremony in St. Ives, U.K. on August 4, 2021.
Little Daphne Elizabeth was born to proud parents Taylor and John Gould ’05 on January 25, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. Christine Roberston ’07 welcomed Jordan Avery Frith to the world on January 30, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.
FACULTY & STAFF NOTES Captain (retired) Sydney “Syd” Lyttle served with the Ridley Cadet Corps for more than two decades. He died March 5, 2021, at 80 years of age. Jane Rose was the first female science teacher at Ridley and instrumental in helping to bring girls to the school. She died February 14, 2021. Nicholas Ronald has received the 2021 Loran Teachers Building Leaders Award. Nominated by Loran Scholar, Grace Lowes ’16, the long-standing faculty member has been recognized for his significant positive impact on the leaders of tomorrow.
OBITUARIES James (Jim) Thompson ’44 died May 13, 2021 at age 94. Harvey Cocks ’44 died April 14, 2021 at 94 years of age. Bon Jasperson ’44 died June 27, 2021 at 94 years of age. James Digby ’45 died March 21, 2021 at the age of 93. Allan Ruddle ’46 died May 5, 2021 at the age of 92. D.S. 'Bill' Rudd ’47 died January 25, 2021 at 91 years of age. Thomas Briant ’48 died April 5, 2021 at 90 years of age. Michael Colston '49 died April 6, 2021 at 88 years of age. Hugh MacNiel ’51 died November 17, 2020 at age 88. Michael Armstrong ’51 died February 25, 2021. Arthur Cairncross ’56 died December 14, 2020 at 81 years of age. David Henderson ’56 died January 31, 2021 at age 82. Russell Jewell ’57 died June 29, 2020 at age 82.
Charles Ross '57 died July 21, 2021, four days short of his 82nd birthday. Tim Irwin ’58 died August 7, 2020 at the age of 80. John Banks ’58 died July 12, 2021 at 81 years of age. Paul Rigby ’59 died February 1, 2021 at 80 years of age. Doug Tilley ’60 died June 12, 2021 at the age of 78. James Clare Edwards ’60 died January 19, 2021 at the age of 80. John Grace ’61 died May 26, 2021 at age 78. Douglas Drake ’63 died March 24, 2021 at 76 years of age. Brian Bexton ’65 died April 21, 2021 at age 75. Don Temple ’68 died March 9, 2021. David McFarlane ’71 died June 8, 2021 at the age of 69. Beth Howard ’80 died May 12, 2020 at 59 years of age. Aubrey Foley ’11 died February 27, 2021 at 28 years of age.
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In Dedication: A Century of Giving, Growth & Breaking Ground "The past has walked these very halls, strode across this campus, each Ridleian contributing in important ways to the Ridley of today, the Ridley of the future. It’s why change—born of both necessity and innovation—nods respectfully to our roots: they are the basis from which we grow.”
hrough the gates, across sprawling lawns and stately buildings, the unmistakeable prints of Ridleians are everywhere, generous marks of hope that go back more than 130 years—back to when Ridley was simply an idea, and then later, as it became so much more.
The darker moments from our past have often led to periods of great giving and innovation, and this year is no different. As our community rouses from a global pandemic, we turn toward a new moment in time, filled with thoughts of fresh ground, fresh plans. We do so, in part, by celebrating our past, those moments when, faced with difficulty, Ridleians looked determinedly ahead. This year marks the hundred-year anniversary of the Memorial Chapel, the beating heart of campus that stands in honour of those lost to the Great War. In 2021, it’s a spiritual hub that welcomes students of all faiths, providing comfort and instilling values and purpose. The year also marks a century since Gooderham House was built, a dormitory which was intended to house boys old and new. Now, Gooderham bustles with the bright laughter of flamingos and crocodiles, girls who are poised to become the empowered women of tomorrow. What hasn’t changed, however, is that both Chapel and Gooderham House are still about gathering, about community, strength and, importantly, coming home.*
The Memorial Chapel Following the First World War, Ridley’s mood was confident, secure. It had won a high place in public regard and had established itself as an institution that was ready to go on to greater things. Canadian attitudes toward higher education were quickly changing, and the demand for place at Ridley grew each year. Expansion was in all minds as new applications rolled in— and Gooderham House and the Memorial Chapel were the most notable items in the school’s enlargement. At the end of the war, alumni had proposed a chapel in honour of those Ridleians who had lost their lives. It was a cause close to their hearts and by the spring of 1919, nearly $50,000 had been raised to support the build. It was simply one more piece of evidence that the school had matured: it had its own martyrs to mourn and to honour, its ideals and traditions fixed firmly in place. There was a sense of urgency as the building went up, with Old Ridleians pressing the architects and builders to complete the work efficiently. It would seem they listened; a cornerstone ceremony was held on June 4, 1921, and construction neared completion by the spring of 1923. *Research taken from Ridley: A Canadian School by Richard A. Bradley and Paul E. Lewis. TIGER | FALL 2021
While the Chapel was being built, services continued to be held in the Prayer Hall in School House—and the last of the services held there meant a lot to the students. Knowing they would soon move to the newly designated space, on the secondlast Sunday, Mr. Griffith recalled all the humbler rooms which had served as chapel since 1889: the Springbank Sanitorium’s reception room, the dining room of the old Stephenson House, and the Prayer Hall in the new school building on the Western Hill. Moving forward, the latter would be known as the Assembly Hall. The Memorial Chapel stood apart when complete, a majestic stone monument that served as a symbol of spiritual Ridley. Architects, Sproatt and Rolph were awarded a gold medal by the American Institute of Architects for their educational and institutional architecture. The citation stated that the chief features of their exhibit were the designs for the University of Toronto’s Memorial Tower and for the “noble Gothic Chapel at Ridley College.” It was a beautiful construction to be sure, raised in a perpendicular Gothic style, the exterior and interior built of Georgetown stone; with windows, copings and doorways constructed of Bedford. The standing structures were joined by a passageway, starting beside the tall arched entrance. Its interior was striking; grand stones laid on edge; nine mullioned windows carried along the two sides, with small windows in the entranceway, and a large window rose above the altar. At the chancel end, a door led to the vestry, and an organ screen of Bedford limestone lent further beauty. Seating throughout was solid oak, paired with hand-carved chancel furniture. The ceiling was comprised of warm B.C. cedar, and stained-glass windows added soft translucent colour to the space, their richness reminiscent of the glassmakers of centuries before. And throughout, there were the memorials. The west window on the south side stood in memory of Ridley’s war dead and other dedicated windows stood in bright solemnity, along with an oak eagle lectern and an archer’s desk, the organ screen, the Chapel Bible, the communion service, an alms basin, and a 94
communion table. Each given in memory, each given in honour of someone who was loved and lost. For the Chapel dedication, Ridley’s Cadet Corps opened the ceremony, marching into their seats. Behind them, the procession came down the centre aisle, led by the Lower School choir. Then came the officers of the Old Boys Association and the principals, Mr. Griffith and Mr. Williams, who were followed by the clergy. These included Principal emeritus, Dr. Miller; His Lordship the Bishop of Niagara; the Chaplain; the Provost of Trinity College; and the rectors of St. Catharines’ churches. Association President Colonel Douglas Mason OR’01 made the formal presentation of the Chapel to Ridley College, and it was accepted by Vice President of the Board, the Hon. Mr. Justice A. Courtney Kingstone OR’92. Principal Griffith read the names of Ridley’s war-dead in alphabetic order, his voice carrying through the quiet space. The buglers played. From that point on, the Chapel became the heart of Ridley; it has always evoked great love from our community, which has sought to keep up its care and maintenance. In 1924, an ‘anonymous’ gift was given by Ross A. Wilson, the Cadet Corps Commander and 1917 Mason Gold winner. His gift—intended to reward the governors for their own generosity—was designed to erect a reredos, provide a new organ and pay off outstanding debts from the Chapel build. The Ridley College Women’s Guild (now Family Guild), which had been organized in 1923, soon ‘adopted’ the Memorial Chapel, with their first project to be the completion of the chancel furnishings. By their second annual meeting, their Winnipeg branch donated a beautiful oak sedilia, the London brand provided cushions, and the Toronto group pledged a chancel rug. Throughout the 1930s, the Chapel received new additions in memory of various Ridleians who had been lost. The Old Boys presented a prayer desk in memorial to Colonel Thairs. Other additions included a new baptismal font, a water cruet, a stained-glass window, a silver chalice and paten, a glass and cruet for wine, a purple superfontal and bookmarks, and a
framed illuminated verse from its author, Colonel the Venerable Archdeacon Frederick George Scott, which reads: In honour, chivalrous, In duty, valorous, In all things, noble, To the heart’s core clean. By the 1964-65 academic year, special events were planned in celebration of Ridley’s anniversary. The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Fund had been launched the year before under the general chairmanship of Hamilton Cassels OR'13. The project, undertaken by the board, set a target of $700,000 to expand and renovate facilities and provide additional scholarships—it was exceeded by $150,000. Through their generosity, Ridley’s donors enabled a Chapel expansion, which had been in discussion since the 1940s. Due to space limitations, the Lower School had worshipped separately from the Upper School since the 1930s, and an extension was needed that would be built in absolute harmony with the rest of the structure. Naturally, the job was turned over to Ferdie Marani OR’12, who had, coincidentally, trained at Sproatt and Rolph, the Chapel’s original architects. The seamless expansion was completed in time for the Old Boys Weekend of 1964 and was dedicated by the Bishop of Niagara, The Right Reverend Walter Bagnall. The 75th anniversary celebration also offered the first opportunity to purchase Chapel pews, and to begin the establishment of an endowment for Chapel maintenance and initiatives. By 1966, the Chapel was providing funds to send Ridley boys to work abroad in local churches as young missionaries—a Ridley version of the Peace Corps and an extension of the school mission to serve.
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Gooderham House Around the same time the Chapel was being conceived, governor Ross Gooderham OR’92 initiated a gift of his own: a new boarding house for the Upper School. When his brother’s generous act was reported to board president George H. Gooderham, he quickly exclaimed, “The Gooderham brothers will build your dormitory for you.” Together, the brothers paid the $288,000 needed to build the new dorm, which was completed by the summer of 1921—now a century ago. Boys spilled into the residence that fall; it was designed to accommodate 50 students and three resident masters. Sproatt and Rolph were the architects who took up the project, designing the building in the Collegiate Gothic style. It stood three stories tall, built of red brick with white stone facings. Later that year, the building was formally presented to the school. Parents, Old Boys and friends of Ridley came from across Canada, converging to celebrate the official opening of Gooderham House. The Hon. Mr. Justice A. Courtney Kingstone OR'92 formally accepted the new building on behalf of the board, and Principal Emeritus, Dr. Miller, offered the prayer of dedication. Both Principal Griffith and Principal Williams spoke that day, the former announcing that a wing of the building would be reserved for the Old Boys to use whenever they visited the school. “No school exists in the world where former students display more loyalty to their old school than do the Old Boys of Ridley,” Principal Griffith proclaimed in his moving address. 96
These buildings remain a place to celebrate and to share. The values for which the Memorial Chapel stands are common to all the world’s great religions. To a new, international Ridley, it remains a shrine, a spiritual place of remembrance and contemplation. Here, students from Upper and Lower School support one another and hold on to tradition. It is a place where community is formed, and where students, families and faculty can come together to pay their respects to all those who have come before. Musicians perform, speeches are given, Prefects lead, and alumni return to be married. Now long occupied by Upper School girls, the Gooderham Houses are divided by East and West, each filled with its own personality and pride, and the hardworking students who help make up the beautiful fabric of our community. Both girls boarding Houses strive for excellence and both lead with compassion and heart. Today’s residents, in both Chapel and the Gooderham Houses, are a testament to how far Ridley has come, how much has changed over the years. New voices have been brought into the fold, offering diverse and global perspectives. And yet, our traditions, values and history remain at our school’s foundation. The past still walks these very halls, still strides across this campus; each Old Ridleian continues to contribute to the Ridley of today and of tomorrow. It’s why change—born of natural necessity—nods respectfully to our roots; they are the basis from which we grow. After all, it is in those spaces in which we grow together, that we’ve always forged our most timeless bonds as Ridleians. And it is why Ridley’s past will always inform its future.
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