Their paths were distinctly different following high school and none of them was a straight line to their current roles. Those were among the perspectives shared by three Bayview Glen (BVG) alumni invited to speak at the second Career Breakfast of the school year.
The commonality? The impact of their BVG experience on their life and career journey.
“I think the reason I did so well at Bayview Glen and really enjoyed it is because the teachers — you really get to work one-on-one with them — and those are fantastic resources and really inspiring,” shared Kate Dingwall ’11 Emmy award-winning writer, editor and photographer. “I could start listing off teachers who really impacted my career, who brought out my love of art, music and sports, and how much they went out of their way to bring your passions out of you was really cool, really inspiring,” said Dingwall who is also a sommelier.
Covering topics that intersect spirits, business, travel and culture, Dingwall’s work as appeared in Forbes.com, Toronto Life and the Toronto Star.
“I would not be who I am today if I did not have teachers who put a lot of time and effort out of their own schedule to push their students,” Dingwall added during the question-and-answer portion of the agenda, in front of a packed Learning Commons at Moatfield Campus comprised of current students, parents, faculty and staff.
Organized by the Academic and Career Counsellor and the Director of Alumni Relations at BVG, the December Career Breakfast event focused on the theme of media.
Alumnus Goldmond Fong ’15, an accomplished film director, editor and visual effects specialist, joined the panel in the wee hours of the morning, remotely, from his home in Los Angeles.
“In high school, I remember I wasn’t the most confident in myself,” Fong shared via Zoom. “I just remember you guys [teachers] made me feel worth it, like I was doing something important, and that meant a lot to me at the time.”
A graduate of Emerson College in Boston with a BFA in Film Production, Fong’s professional reel includes directorial, editing and graphics work for studios, agencies and clients including YouTube.
“I just remember them [teachers] teaching me the forms of art, the foundations of art and just how to analyze art,” said Fong recalling key learnings from BVG. “That really taught me to look at everything, to take in the surroundings, and how the surroundings play into the story.”
For Layla Ahmad ’10, the path to her current role as a Producer at CTV ‘Your Morning’ included a BA in Sociology from U of T and a post-graduate degree in Public Relations from Humber College.
“In looking back, I was never really the strongest math or science student, but when it came to Arts, that’s where I always had a huge passion,” Ahmad told the audience of close to 100 — including current Bayview Glen students from Prep School and Upper School.
“It was one of those things where you were allowed to make mistakes and it felt like a safe environment,” shared Ahmad, who previously worked at the CBC. “You could mess up one but your teachers would be there to reassure you that it’s not the end of the world,” said Ahmed, whose resume includes various types of writing including creative and hard news copy, adding, “I don’t think I would be where I am today without our teachers at BVG.”
The Career Breakfast events are designed to support Bayview Glen students explore various industries, career pathways and professional avenues.
“Our alumni go beyond the walls of Bayview Glen making their mark in the world and having them share their stories of success not only engages our students but allows them to draw connections between their current education and the alumni’s field of expertise,” says Daniella Brown ’10, Director of Alumni Relations. “This allows for the students to see themselves in each alumni’s shoes.”
The first Career Breakfast of this academic year, held in October, also featured the highest turnout ever recorded for the event with more than 100 in attendance.
“Our BVG Alumni panels have been very inspiring,” said James Lee, Head of School at Bayview Glen, attending his second Career Breakfast. “These events truly connect their Bayview Glen experience to who they are today, within their respective career pathways and the successful roads going forward in their lives as professionals, responsible global citizens and wonderful human beings.”
The event was particularly impactful for Adrian Dybala, Academic and Career Counsellor and teacher, who has been at BVG for more than 20 years.
“It is a positive affirmation to see the work that we do here as educators is appreciated and having them find their purpose, which leads to their happiness,” says Dybala, who taught each of the three alumni panelists during their time at the school.
“It affirms what we are doing as educators and we’re doing the right thing,” she says. Adding, “We are in the field of human connection, recognizing students for who they are, treating them with dignity and respect. They always remember that.”
The next Career Breakfast at BVG is scheduled for February 28, 2023.