Ms Cloutier and Mrs. McDonald worked together to develop an alumnae panel series, “Engaging in Your Future,” throughout Winter 2021 to provide information and advice about topics that students were interested in exploring.
Our first in a series of four panel presentations was held on January 12, 2021, with the topic of online learning at university.
Lauren Burns ’20 and Lindsay Cogan ’20 are both enrolled in Arts programs and discussed what their recent transition to university has been like. We also heard from two engineering students, Jessica Sui ’18 and Polina Yurchenko ’16, who spoke about challenges and strategies for being successful in course work, conducting labs from home, participating in extracurricular activities, and maintaining social connections. The fifth panel member, Astrid Cox ’14, is a Master’s of engineering student in Sweden with a wealth of experience and advice on finding your path by being a self-initiator and setting and following clear goals.
Next, on January 20, 2021, we heard from our health sciences panel of accomplished alumnae: Tayler Van Denakker ’08, a physician and pathologist; Haley Studler ’13, a chiropractic intern; Kira Pavagadhi ’13, a public health researcher and editor; and Courtney Masson ’15, a labour and delivery nurse.
How wonderful it was to hear the insights, experiences, and advice these young women so confidently and thoughtfully shared with our students! The range on this panel was impressive — not only in their accomplishments, but also in the way they demonstrated that a program in health sciences can affect and contribute to a community in such diverse ways. In addition, they spoke about how they arrived at their decision to enter this field as well as the traditional and untraditional paths they took to achieve their successes.
Two of our four panellists were BH Blazers prep hockey players who continued on to play on NCAA (college-level) teams. The impressive feat of juggling academics and athletics is admirable in itself. All our panellists shared that they will never regret their paths and choices, as those got them to where they are today.
Following your passion, finding your niche, and making a difference. This is what we came away with from Part 3 of “Engaging in Your Future,” a series of panel presentations from alumnae. On February 9, 2021, it was our pleasure to host the perfect complement to demonstrate the scope of what a career in law can entail.
Students were joined by Sara (Micflikier) Bond ’97, a sex crimes prosecutor, Ariana Meyers ’09, an attorney in family law and domestic relations, and Courtney Weinstein ’08, who specializes in corporate and commercial law. The topics of their presentations included criminal law, court prosecutions, business mergers, contracts, mediation, and advocacy for the underprivileged. Although, this panel’s main areas of undergraduate study were in psychology and sociology, it was very clear that their paths were different in many ways.
However, one thing was certain; communication skills, writing, and reading are paramount. Each of our panelists described their paths of discovery to find their main area of interest. The outcome was mainly the same, as they all aim to provide justice for all parties involved. Their fields of choice demonstrated a personal interest in helping others, use of negotiation skills, and consideration of mental health as well as cultural variables. Students left the presentation with admiration for their interpersonal skills and genuine desire to be fair and considerate.
Shining brightly was their pride in the role Balmoral Hall School played in their lives because of the wealth of opportunities they gained through their time spent here. They participated in diverse extracurricular activities, from clubs and debating to musicals and athletics, all of which contributed to the vast experiences they bring to the table, contributing to success in their educations and careers. They are still very active now in philanthropic endeavours, community boards, and professional networking.
On February 10, 2021, in the final alumnae panel presentations in our “Engaging in Your Future” series, students were introduced to a variety of topics.
In an attempt to connect business with creative arts for Part 4 with regards to advertising, marketing, and public relations, we discovered so much more.
Alexandra Blake ’17 spoke about studying Finance at University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business. Leilah Perchaluk ’14, Founder & Lead Advisor at Well Life Insurance Co., shared with us her journey to opening her own business. Anais Casselman-Green ’17 discussed obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts with focus in Ceramics at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Cady Pavagadhi ’16 provided information on how her role as a freelance marketing specialist (copywriting, graphic design, and communication strategy) for a variety of local businesses stemmed from her education at Red River College in Creative Communications. Lastly, Talia Smith ’14 presented on her exciting, adventurous career in the music industry as a communications specialist as well as her marketing, management, and artist relations experiences.
Each discussed her journey of finding her right fit. Alex and Anais had fairly straightforward goals and paths but found that being involved in extracurricular conferences, activities, and competitions enriched their educational experiences and knowledge and brought new perspectives, connections, and opportunities to expand. Leilah, Cady, and Talia shared their paths of trial and error, sampling and taking risks to find their right fits.
They shared that not knowing, that learning what was right for them by taking chances, and that gaining success by being confident and courageous are also very rewarding journeys. We unexpectedly ventured into the topic of being a female in a male-dominated career. We heard great advice about learning to recognize your own value, being confident and strong, and trusting yourself to gain the trust and respect of others.
Our sincere gratitude to all of our inspiring panellists!