The first day of school at Bayview Glen for Jonathan Metrick, BVG ’01, was not a happy one. “I started in Grade 7 after spending many years in my local public school,” Jonathan says, “and I was entering with a variety of preconceived notions – not wanting to commute for 40 minutes on the BVG school bus and above all not wanting to wear a forest green blazer. It is funny how things change – looking back on it now I’d love to have a door-to-door chauffeur and not have to worry about what to wear getting up in the morning! Most importantly however, having a uniform taught me the importance of looking past the superficial, learning to evaluate people for who they are, rather than what they wear.”
Jonathan also remembers, “Walking in the first day and being struck by the incredible level of diversity in the classroom. My previous school was very Caucasian and here I was surrounded by classmates from Jamaica, India, England, China, England and the Philippines. Forming friendships with these first and second generation Canadians from all over the world, many of whom I’m still best friends with today (Andre Forsythe, Sunil Gurmukh, Emma Wilkins), gave me insight into a diversity of cultures that would have taken 15 to 20 years of travelling abroad to replicate.”
There were just 26 people in Jonathan’s year and so the students received a lot of personal attention. “Many teachers went above and beyond, giving up their evenings and weekends for school trips, extra help sessions, Outward Bound and things like that,” Jonathan remembers. “We got to know those teachers on a personal level – something my friends in larger schools never experienced. For example, our math teacher/debating coach Mr. George used to drive us to debating tournaments in Montreal, Ottawa and London during the weekends – many times in his own car. We quickly learned which of his radio stations played the best music (and more importantly which ones to avoid).”
Another stand out experience for Jonathan was the weeklong Outward Bound trip in Algonquin Park in Grade 12. “It went as you would expect any hiking trip to Northern Ontario in early May to go – raining and snowing the entire time,” he says, ruefully. “It was wet, it was challenging, both physically and mentally, but it was a bonding experience for all of us – even so, I have to admit, I haven’t been camping since!”
His international exchange to Australia was more satisfying. Jonathan was just 16 years old when he spent four months in Melbourne. “A student named Craig French visited Bayview Glen on a Round Square exchange and lived with my family when I was in Grade 10,” recalls Jonathan. The following year, Jonathan went to Melbourne and stayed with the French family. “Moving to Australia at such a young age gave me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and really begin to understand there are many different perspectives in the world –neither right nor wrong just different. It also helped me to expand my international network. Craig and I still keep in touch – he and his husband now live in London and were a huge help to me when I first moved to the UK for work a few years ago.”
During his time at BVG, Jonathan was an active member of the Debate Team, Editor of the Year Book, Head of Student Council and served as Class Valedictorian. “Bayview Glen was an academically rigorous school but also gave me the opportunity to partake in numerous extra-curricular activities, improving my applications and eventual transition into University”. After graduating from Bayview Glen, Jonathan moved on to study Commerce at prestigious Queen’s University, where he finished in the top 10% (magna cum-laude), earned citations for Dean’s List with Distinction and received the Award for Marketing Excellence.
After Queen’s, Jonathan worked for two years in Sales & Marketing at Procter and Gamble in Toronto and then attended Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA with Distinction, graduating in the top 10% of his class. His next professional role was at Live Nation Entertainment in New York, integrating music with new product launches, working with artists like Jay-Z and Jason Derulo. “Working in entertainment was fun, but after two years, I wanted something more international”, says Jonathan. He was appointed Global Head of Marketing for the Hult International Business School in London, England, a role he enjoyed until 2013, when he decided to move back to New York City and start The Agility Project, a marketing consultancy working with brands including Tiffany & Co and Pfizer.
Looking back, Jonathan mentions “exposure to diversity” as one of the most important things he took away from his seven years at Bayview Glen and is glad the school is continuing to push the envelope in this area. “I have two nieces now attending BVG and they mentioned the school now participates Day of Pink, the international effort for every teacher and student to wear an item of pink to broaden awareness and understanding against bullying and homophobia,” says Jonathan. “When I was attending Bayview Glen as a gay student in the 90’s, awareness surrounding LBGT issues was lacking and it’s great to see the School is starting to embrace this now and maintain its legacy of being on the forefront of preparing tomorrow’s leaders for the diverse world they are bound to encounter.”
Bayview Glen is proud to include high-achiever Jonathan Metrick amongst our Notable Alumni.