Parker’s Upper School Secrets of Success club is no stranger to high-profile guests sharing their stories. Whether it be an NBA executive, a Hollywood agent or a U.S. Congressman, this club has a history of bringing in people at the top of their fields. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker continued this tradition in a grand fashion via Zoom on Monday!
The Secrets of Success group hosts inspirational and entertaining live interviews for interested members of the Upper School and the Parker community. “I started this club with my brother Ari [’22] during the pandemic to collaborate virtually so our community could hear and be inspired by the stories of successful people who started from the bottom and climbed to the top,” explained junior Skye Harris. “They tell us how it’s done, share the bumpy road to success, their stories and words of advice. Since my brother graduated, I now co-host these interviews with [fellow junior] Ellie Alden.”
The club has welcomed top figures such as an NFL player, a Hollywood agent, a U.S. Congressman, a president and several general managers of NBA basketball teams and more. “However, we have never hosted someone as accomplished as Governor Pritzker, a successful businessman, community leader and politician,” Alden and Harris shared. “We believe it is important for Parker students to have exposure to important political figures, especially in Chicago’s political climate.”
Before Governor Pritzker’s interview, Alden and Harris spent time creating insightful and thought-provoking questions. Following this back and forth, Alden and Harris put Governor Pritzker through a word association game to find out even more about the brain of a successful figure. “We research our guests’ backgrounds,” they noted, “and put a lot of time into every interview. We are always very happy with the turnout.” And, as all of those in attendance can attest, they truly did a tremendous job!
In considering a “favorite” part of the interview with Pritzker, Alden and Harris responded, “While it is hard to pick a single moment from the interview that jumped out, one of our favorites was hearing an inside story about the lengths Pritzker went to get masks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He told us how his team flew to Alaska and, with the help of state troopers, were able to bring a surplus of masks back to Chicago. These are the stories that are not in the news. Secrets of Success is all about showing the bumpy road to success, and this story is a great example of behind-the-scenes work we do not know about.
“Interviewing Governor Pritzker has been one of our best interviews yet. Not only was he an excellent speaker, we were very grateful and humbled to have him take the time out of his day to talk with us. He provided a lot of exceptional advice. He has so much passion, and it is clear that he truly loves his job. It was such a meaningful experience for us, and many Parker students seemed to enjoy it as well.”
Parker congratulates Alden and Harris on a job well done! They organized, prepared and led a fantastic interview that was inspiring, humorous and at times poignant and left all those in attendance with a better understanding of Governor Pritzker. Parker, Alden and Harris invite the community to join them in thanking Governor Pritzker for speaking with the community!