Alumnae Day 2017 was a spirited and inspirational affair with adventure, travel, and personal safety the focus this year. Dianne Whelan from the Class of 1983 was our keynote speaker and she captivated everyone’s imagination with her tales from her 500 Days in the Wild. Her Trans Canada Trail expedition has become a bigger journey than she ever anticipated and her stories enthralled and animated a very appreciative audience.
Dianne Whelan with classmates Andrea Turton ’83, Andrea’s daughter Annabelle Turton ’22 and Kirsten (Koopman-Sutton) Osterreicher ’83.
Following Dianne’s talk, everyone moved to the Rand Gym to take part in a self-defence clinic by alumna Dr. Emel Zerrouk from the Class of 2004. Emel has been involved with martial arts and self defence all her life and was delighted to share her knowledge with fellow Yorkies. Alumnae, young and old, participated in what was a very thorough learning experience. Emel expertly shared smart tips and worked through various self defence moves and scenarios with the class. Laughter filled the space as everyone engaged with a partner and shared safety strategies.
After lunch, the alumnae art exhibition Topographies was officially launched by our curator Susannah Smith and we welcomed artist Patricia (Symonds) Hindmarch-Watson ’67 to discuss her works on display. Artist Brittne Potter ’12, now based in Montreal, showcased her paintings as part of the exhibition and, while Brittne couldn’t be there, her family, including her sister alumna Alana Potter ’09 attended. Other artists exhibiting included Sally Clark ’71, Nicole Steinbrecher ’06 and Ruth MacLaurin ’60.
Curator Susannah Smith with the Potter family on Alumnae Day
Dianne Whelan ’83, Explorer, filmmaker, and author
Dr. Emel Zerrouk ’04, Personal Trainer and Martial Artist
This fall’s Alumnae Gallery exhibition is titled Topographies: Relationships with Landscape and Geography, and features work by five alumnae artists: Ruth MacLaurin ’60, Patricia Hindmarch-Watson ’67, Sally Clark ’71, Nicole Steinbrecher ’06, and Brittne Potter ’12.
To purchase tickets and for more info, click here.
Alumnae Sharing Life Experiences and Career Journeys
Thirteen alumnae came back to York House on May 12th to participate in our annual Career Day. The day started with a panel discussion in the theatre where alumnae discussed life after high school, university, life challenges, and the roads less travelled. This was followed by break-out sessions in classrooms with the Grade 8-12 students where alums presented on their careers and shared their experiences and career journeys. Every year we have an amazing line up of presenters and this year was no different.
Natalee Sinclair MBA from the Class of 2006 is an insurance project manager with Jones Brown inc; Salima Remtulla CFA from the Class of 2000 is a finance executive with international experience directing corporate strategy and building high performance teams, Zoe Alexander ‘02 is a graphic designer working with a tech start up, Taline Arslanyan ‘07, an inside Account Executive at Hootsuite Inc.; Pippa Morgan ’90, is the Executive Vice President, Retail Division of Aritzia, Jasmine Lam ’97 is a GP, a UBC Faculty of Medicine Clinical Instructor and on the Residency Admissions committee, Courtney Lam ’09 is a design assistant with Lululemon, Sarvenaz Amanat ‘97 is a visual artist, works as a museum educator at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2009-present) and is the Director of Gallery1515 in the South Granville gallery district of Vancouver. Nicole Steinbrecher ‘06, a registered nurse who works on an acute medical/surgical ward at Vancouver General Hospital, Rachelle Topham ‘10 is a business development representative who prospects new business for SAP in Vancouver; Robyn Wilson ‘05 is currently the Chief Operations Officer of Venue Kings Ticket Brokers, Inc. in Vancouver and recently named one of BC’s 30 Under 30, Sarah Brayne ‘03 is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin and Jessica Smith ’10 is a midwifery student at UBC who came back to talk about her gap year experiences along with her sister Amelia ’15.
We are very grateful to our alumnae who took the time out of their day to return to YHS and share their stories with our students.
Congratulations to Natalee Sinclair ’06 who has successfully completed her Full-Time Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). This comprehensive program emphasizes Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability. With a class represented by 22 countries, she placed in the top tier of her class and completed her thesis project addressing a strategic problem faced by a global specialist company in energy management and automation.
Upon returning to Vancouver, she has accepted a position as manager for strategic projects with a national insurance brokerage. Natalee is currently working as the Project Manager for the Policies and Procedures Manual (PPM) utilizing her 10 years of experience in the Property & Casualty insurance industry and recently acquired MBA toolkit.
Robyn Wilson ’05 was recently named one of BC Business Magazine’s 30 Under 30. Robyn is currently the Chief Operations Officer of Venue Kings Ticket Brokers, Inc. in Vancouver. When she started with the company, they were a three-person operation. Venue Kings has now grown to 26 team members that was just rated one of the fastest growing companies in BC and Canada.
Two leaving Gros Cap (photo by Mike Landmark)
Dianne Whelan ’83 recently posted that she’s “super excited and honoured to receive an Expedition Grant from The Royal Canadian Geographic Society for the next section of 500 Days in the Wild, the 2300km paddle of Lake Superior and Path of the Paddle to Manitoba.” Congratulations Dee! The paddle of Lake Superior began on May 4 th with reports of a sweet south east wind. To follow Dianne on her 500 day journey click the link here.
The National Film Board launched a playlist for Canada 150 and Dianne’s documentary film ‘This Land‘ is part of the list.
Barbie (Bentley) Hislop ‘72 and Ken Loughnan outgoing and incoming International Presidents of Variety – the Children’s Charity
Barbara (Bentley) Hislop ’72 just completed a successful 2-year term as the International President of Variety – the Children’s Charity, which directly helps almost 140,000 children and 900 Children’s organizations annually worldwide. Variety has offices in 14 countries. “I enjoyed seeing first-hand the many ways children were helped and how children’s lives were enhanced with real hope.” In pursuit of her passion for children, Barbie left the corporate world and became the Executive Director of Variety – the Children’s Charity of BC in 2006. After retiring and moving to Great Britain, Barbie served on the board of Directors for Variety – the Children’s Charity International and was elected to the President position in May 2015. Congratulations Barbie! You are an inspiration to us all.
L-R: Anne (Brockley) Leech, Cindy Charkow, Wendy Chapman, Sharon (Burns) Jacks, Heather (Harrell) Robinson. Photo by Carol (Baillie) Cromie ‘66
Class Rep Carol (Baillie) Cromie ’66 brought five classmates to the 3rd annual YHS Carol Service at St. John’s Shaughnessy Church on December 7, 2017. “It was a lovely service and the YHS choir is excellent! Their harmonizing was beautiful! The Choir Director has done a super job with these young ladies!” Thanks to the Venerable John Stephens, music teacher Heather Christiansen, St. John’s Shaughnessy church music director and organist, Michael Dirk, and rector’s warden, Robyn Woodward ’72, alumnae, parents, friends and family enjoyed a glorious program of choral music. They also had the chance to sing some of their favourite carols bringing back many memories of the times when the YHS Carol Service was held at St. John’s from 1950 until 1993. All gathered for a festive reception after the service.
Connections Exhibition May 11 – June 22, 2017 6pm – 9pm
(in)finite spiritual conversations in cloth May 25 – June 4
Tapestry artist, Barbara Heller ’65 is featured in an exhibition, Connections, with two other textile artists in collaboration with four members of Nature Vancouver. The artists “explore issues of cultural and natural destruction and the consumption, restoration and protection of nature. In a spirit of experimentation that has involved risk, research and steep learning curves, all participants have gained – and are pleased to share – new understandings of the natural world.” Please click the link for more information.
Barbara will also be featured in Christ Church Cathedral as part of the (in)finite spiritual conversations in cloth exhibition featuring 30 Canadian textile artists and their explorations into the realm of the sacred. Click here for more information.
Lisa (Granger) Cunliffe ’87 and Anitha (Gondi) Vasireddi ’87
Class reps Lisa (Granger) Cunliffe ’87 and Anitha (Gondi) Vasireddi ’87 found their class names on the staircase glass panels while on a tour of the Senior School and YHS Museum & Archives last month.
Lisa commented, “The school looks spectacular! We were especially touched by how well all of you have linked the past with the present (and the future!). It’s truly a special place and something to be immensely proud of.” Anitha added, “I’m so proud to have graduated from such an awesome school. A big shout out to YHS for building such a beautiful campus and constantly improving to make it an even more warm and caring environment for the girls.”
Lisa and Anita have been very busy preparing for their 30th reunion, which took place on Saturday May 27 at the TELUS Rooftop Garden and Glowbal restaurant. Photos and details will be posted on the YHS Alumnae Blog next week.
Meghan Drew-McKinstry from the Class of 2000 remains grateful for her wonderful Yorkie experience as a “lifer”. Following a BA from McMaster University, she obtained a Masters of Science from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and then went onto UBC where she graduated from medical school in 2012. In 2015, she completed her FRCP, Internal Medicine at the University of Calgary and in November of 2017, she will sit Fellowship exams in sub-specialty haematology and oncology. Meghan is also planning a 6th final year as a Clinical Fellow in Palliative Care studying abroad before prior to establishing a practice in western Canada.
Judy (Evans) Jones ’60 moved last summer to Penticton, BC after 41 years in the same house in Willow Brook (near Oliver). They are busy settling into their new home but Judy still finds time to volunteer and to enjoy her grandchildren. After working in Special Education at the schools within Southern Okanagan areas of Olalla, Keremeos, Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls and Oliver, as well as teaching basic life skills to handicapped adults, Judy is now retired. There’s lots to celebrate as Judy will be 75 years young this month and it’s 47 years since George and Judy were married at St. John’s Shaughnessy Church in Vancouver. Congratulations to you both!
Congratulations to Jill and Devon Taylor ’02 on the birth of their little boy William Benjamin Taylor on April 12, 2017.
Janet Ward (Cliff) Campbell’s son and daughter-in-law, Angus and Kimberly Campbell, have generously donated a full scholarship in Janet’s memory for a student entering York House from Grade 8 – 12. Janet passed away on September 14, 2016, just a year after she hosted her class of 1965’s 50th reunion at her home. It was a most memorable occasion for all. On hearing the news about the scholarship, Susan (Wootten) Jackson ’65, long-time class rep immediately responded, “That’s wonderful, Janet would be so proud!”
“I cannot think of a better way to remember and honour my mum than putting in place, in perpetuity, an avenue to alter a young woman’s life, mind and trajectory than by starting a full scholarship at York House,” said Angus. “As a member of the 1965 graduating class, Janet spoke fondly of her time there. Kimberly and I believe that my mum, who preferred to be in the background providing the canvas for others to shine, would be honoured and moved. A scholarship in her name will be affecting change and the creation of female global citizens, a perfect homage to who she was to so many.
My mother always encouraged us to give more of ourselves than we take from others. Throughout her life, she promoted life altering generosity, either by time, talent, or treasure. She donated countless hours of her days to helping others and she had a particular talent to being able to see the bigger picture. Education was first and foremost with her. She challenged everyone she knew to engage in the world around them as a Global Citizen and challenge what is possible.”
After graduating, I went straight to the Ontario College of Art and Design University – where I first studied in the design program but then switched to fine arts and discovered my passion for photography.
Not really, I didn’t discover photography until my graduating year at YHS – after our grad trip to NYC and visiting galleries and discovering photographers; that’s when I realized perhaps I wanted to make a different path for myself and the desire to be in design started to fade away.
Describe a typical day in the life of Danielle Wong Photography?
I started my company in 2014 after I came back from my post-graduate studies. It was a little slow at first, but thanks to my fantastic mentor who is also one of my closest friends today, she has guided me and taught me almost everything I know. Wedding season in the summers is always hectic but very rewarding. Taking pictures of families and actor portraits was how I first kickstarted my business in Vancouver, thanks to friends and a lot of networking! I love working with people and hearing the feedback (usually positive) afterwards is very humbling and I treat every opportunity I receive as an honour.
You’re a food blogger as well. Tell us about your blog?
I am! I LOVE food! I feel like my life revolves either around photography, fitness, wine and food. I live to eat. In my last year at university, I focused on food photography. Food doesn’t talk back – you’re basically in control all the time. Since graduating, I haven’t really touched food photography at all. It’s hard in a market like Vancouver with a saturation of photographers.
My dad is in the wine and sake importing business and to learn more about pairing wine with foods I took the WSET (Wine Sommelier Education Trust) Levels 1 & 2 courses.
Then, I started The Gourmoo – my food blog – about a year ago now. I had missed photographing food so much. I’m always looking for the opportunity to photograph new menus for chefs in town, or if your restaurant is just starting up and you need really delicious shots of your masterpieces – this is what I love doing most. I can’t deny my love for food.
I was featured in WestJet’s Magazine last year for a piece on Dublin, Ireland. I had visited the city that year and took a photo of a delicious dish of Vitello Tonnato – sliced veal served cold, covered with a creamy, tuna mayonnaise-like sauce. I was honoured to have my photograph published in their magazine!
I’m not a bad cook (so I keep telling myself) – my parents are the real cooks. I definitely prefer to photograph food rather than make it – however I love marinating meat or making desserts. I love to cook, but I think I love photography a little more. I’m that person who takes photos of their dishes (and others) before eating.
You’re getting married soon and getting married twice! How are the wedding plans going?
I think I will need a long vacation after the two weddings… It’s been a lot of hard work, and the first one is less than a month away! My fiancé and I are very excited to have both our families gather to celebrate our marriage. We are eternally grateful for everyone being able to travel from all over the world to celebrate with us.
As a photographer, I know how much work goes into planning a wedding – let alone two! I not only photograph weddings, but I help the couples to plan out their day too. It is so important to keep the bride and groom relaxed on their big day – reminding them to enjoy it and just have fun. It is so easy to forget why you’re having a wedding in the first place – you are marrying the love of your life! You must cherish every moment. Being able to treasure those moments through photographs is something very special. I cannot wait for what the future brings!