Head of School, Chantal Gionet, Executive Director Advancement Laura Edwards ‘74, and Andrea Jang ’00 from the New Yorkies YHS Alumnae Chapter hosted the annual alumnae event at Andrea’s residence in Manhattan on Thursday, April 27th.
13 women gathered to reminisce and share stories from their days at YHS, as well as recent personal and professional achievements.
One of the key highlights of the night was the multi-generational attendance from Nora Newlands ’67 and her daughter Lindsay Forbes ’96.
Other exciting news:
Charing Hui ‘06 was married in Vancouver last Fall and currently lives in NYC, working as a tax accountant.
Fashionistas: Nabila Dhanji ‘09 recently joined Theory & Helmut Lang as Chief of Staff, reporting to the CEO and Lesley Cheng ‘08 designs footwear at Loeffler Randall.
Studying in the City: Nicole Poon ‘11 recently started an optometry program in NYC, after completing her undergrad studies at McGill and Colette Richardson ‘16 is in a musical theatre and performing arts program.
Genevieve Leaf ‘05 searches for exciting locations for CBS TV shows; most recently she is working on the set of “Divorce”, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church.
Digital reporter Johanna Christina Li ‘12 is working at “Inside Edition” covering women’s experiences with Planned Parenthood.
We are very excited to welcome Anna Baird from the Class of 2003 to York House on April 18th. Join Anna, Global Client Executive at LinkedIn to learn about the digital guidance she gives her clients when it comes to LinkedIn and using the power of your network.
Anna will explore the ways that you can brand, educate and position yourself for your career aspirations.
Yorkies, this is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to get a job, get the next job, get a client, keep a client, or just to understand how to best present yourself on LinkedIn.
Presentation will be from 7-8pm followed by a networking reception.
Click here to read more about Anna and the conference she’s speaking at in Whistler on Thursday, April 20th.
The annual long table dinner at the Irish Heather pub hosted by the YHS Alumnae Association was held on Wednesday evening, March 29th and attracted alumnae from as recent as 2016 all the way back to 1975. It was a very enjoyable evening with many conversations and new connections made.
Dr. Robyn Woodward ’72 recently came back to York House to share her amazing and evolving career path in Senior School Assembly. A fourth generation Vancouverite and a second generation Yorkie, Robyn is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Archaeology Department at Simon Fraser University where she frequently teachers a third year course in Maritime Archaeology and numerous courses in continuing education.
After only a few minutes into her presentation, it was evident that Robyn has taken lifelong learning to new heights. Driven by her passion for archaeology, art and adventure, she has chartered her course to be able to explore these all over the world. At least two months a year, she can be found lecturing on expedition ships from the Canadian Arctic to the Mediterranean while also directing work at archaeological sites in Jamaica.
“I graduated from Queens University in 1977 with a BA (Hons) in the History of Art with a minor in Classical Studies. The interdisciplinary nature of humanities, the study of philosophy, religion, history, art and culture, have been a huge influence throughout my career. As I loved art and archaeology, I pursued a second undergraduate degree, a BSc (Hons) in Art Conservation and Restoration of Archaeological Materials at the University College in Cardiff, Wales.”
Robyn shared that after graduation in 1979, she ran up against the age old conundrum ‘You can’t get a job unless you have experience and you can’t get experience unless you have a job.’ Her solution was to volunteer. “I took up an internship with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) in Bodrum, Turkey. The experience was invaluable. Internships open doors to a whole network of people and possibilities. In my case it sent me off along a slightly different career path, the study of maritime archaeology.”
In 1980 Robyn enrolled at Texas A & M University in a new master’s program in Nautical Archaeology, which at the time was the only place in the world that offered such a degree. There are now a number of such programs (see links below).
“In the summer of 1981, I joined a team of fellow graduate students in Jamaica. This turned into a 12-year project to excavate the submerged pirate city of Port Royal, Jamaica. Several years later, I returned to Jamaica to do my research for my doctoral studies at the same site that I studied for my MA. Sevilla la Nueva is the early 16th century Spanish capital of Jamaica, which was founded by Christopher Columbus’ son, Diego Colon in 1509 and was abandoned in 1534. I excavated the first sugar mill in the New World, sugar being the industry that changed the demographics of the Americas, as it was the driver for the African slave trade. I still direct the work at this site and over the past 10 years have excavated an abbey, settler’s houses, a butchery and a 16th century sculptor’s workshop.”
An exciting five-year stint followed where Robyn worked in the Grand Caymans in the submarine tourism business. In 1989, she returned to Vancouver to restart her career. “I did so by first volunteering with organizations which had an affinity with my interests in maritime history and archaeology, the Vancouver Maritime Museum (VMM), and the Underwater Archaeological Society of BC (UASBC).” Robyn went on to serve on many boards including MOSAIC, the York House School Foundation, and the Vancouver Richmond Health Board (now part of Vancouver Coastal Health). In 2000, Robyn was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Community Volunteer Award.
“Throughout my career, I have embraced the notion that learning is a lifelong activity. I had began a PhD at Simon Fraser University in Archaeology in late 1999 and re-focused my volunteer activities to serve on committees and boards of the professional societies in my own discipline, the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society for Historical Archaeology, and its Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology. I completed my PhD in 2007.
Pursuing volunteering opportunities has always opened doors to a vast array of new possibilities. While serving on the board of Vancouver Maritime Museum 20 years ago, I volunteered to do a one-week cruise up the coast of BC to present a few talks on the history of the province and Canada. When the company Lindblad Expeditions needed a historian/archaeologist to lecture on their first cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean, I raised my hand again. Over the last 16 years, I have become the company’s Mediterranean/maritime expert. I now spend two months a year lecturing on their many small expedition ships. As Lindblad also does all the cruises for National Geographic, it is safe to say that I am constantly challenged with new learning opportunities. In addition to my work with Lindblad Expeditions, I have a speaker’s agent who offers me opportunities to travel as an enrichment speaker on a number of different cruise lines, which enables me to travel the world for free – kind of a dream job!”
In closing, Robyn offered a few tips to charter a dream career:
Dare to be bold and take chances by trying something new;
Volunteer as a means to try out a career in a new field or profession before committing to a four-year degree in a subject;
Learn to write well! Regardless if you study sciences, engineering, accounting or humanities, if you are unable to describe, interpret or clarify what you have designed or discovered clearly and concisely, you will be at a disadvantage; and,
Pursue the field or profession that you are passionate about!
In 2010, Robyn was awarded the YHS Janet Ruth Mitchell Founders Spirit Award, which is presented to an alumna who has demonstrated significant and outstanding spirit and passion in her life’s work. In 2012, she received the Archaeological Institute of America’s McCann Taggart Distinguished Lectureship in Underwater Archaeology.
Thea, you came back recently to York House to collect the 2016 Alumnae Special Achiever Award. How was that experience?
My experience of returning to YHS was wonderful. What struck me most was the progressive tone of the assembly and support for the theme of the day- finding your voice. It seems that YHS is still committed to helping girls and young women find their voice.
Who influenced you most in your time at York House?
I would have to say both Eve Hunnings and Jean McLagan. Ms. Hunnings taught me how to tap into my creative voice. She allowed us to express our authentic selves through creative writing, even our defiant selves. Mrs. McLagan shaped my political awareness. History 12 was a pivotal course in teaching me about social justice.
What is your fondest memory?
My fondest memories are the times I shared with friends. We were then and still are a close group. I love that we could come to school and not worry about what we were wearing or what boys thought of us. We were there to learn and spend time together. We had a lot of laughs.
How did your time at York House impact who you are today?
The message that girls and women can do anything was instilled in me through YHS and I’m sure helped shape my path towards my career as a professor in Women and Gender Studies.
How important are the connections you made with fellow Yorkies to you today?
I’m still very close to many of my friends from my graduating class. We formed tight bonds that have lasted decades.
If you had to give one piece of advice to a Yorkie today what would it be?
I would tell Yorkies today that they are incredibly privileged to be part of such an amazing institution. They are not only getting a quality education, but tools to pursue their dreams. My hope would be that they would pay it forward with some kind of service on a local or global level.