This week, Upper School students had multiple opportunities to learn from and connect with members of the Parker community who are leaders in their respective industries as part of our 2021 Career Week. Presented by the Parker Alumni Association, the Alumni Office and the Upper School Office, this virtual series of experiences allowed Upper School students to interact directly with professionals and have dialogues about their journeys to where they are today.
To kick off the week, Upper School Dean Joe Bruno welcomed viewers and introduced Alumni Association President Laura Maloney ’89, who presented the event as an opportunity for students to get a sense of the growing support network that awaits them as young professionals following graduation, and she encouraged students to reach out to panelists to learn more.
Principal Dan Frank then introduced keynote speaker Ian Freed ’81 by sharing this story: when Freed was a student, he helped Frank, who was a fledgling administrator, wrap his head around the complexities of propagating the Upper School schedule each semester. Frank then shared Freed’s expertise as a technology entrepreneur; a former Amazon vice president who led the development of the Kindle, Echo and Alexa; and co-founder and CEO of Bamboo Learning, a technology startup dedicated to providing the best voice-based learning applications for children to use at home on Alexa.
In a dynamic Zoom presentation, Freed highlighted the importance of the people, projects and principles that positively affected him as a Parker student, budding professional and established technologist throughout his career. Among his many pieces of advice, Freed encouraged students to try as many new things as they could throughout their student years, take chances and feel free to start their careers via a family connection.
During the next three days, Upper School students had access to more than 15 panels on topics including business, education, entrepreneurship, fine arts, social justice, technology, law and more, led by current parents and alumni from every decade since the ’70s. Panelists shared contact information after each gathering so that the conversations could continue after the event—and hopefully after commencement too!