As part of a continuing series of conversations on campus focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dean of Studies Mr. Travis Dube recently hosted a Women in Leadership panel presentation for the Class of 2021. The panel featured several women leaders from the Academy including Binaca Hanson, Assistant Head of School for Academic and Student Life; Amity Gottschalk, Director of Academic Support; Jessica Priola, Director of Institutional Advancement; and Kate Tucker, Director of Student Life.
These four faculty members shared thoughts and perspectives from their professional backgrounds with a focus on how gender may have impacted and shaped some of their career experiences to date. In prior years, Mr. Dube has held a similar panel within his class, but this was the first time that this panel format appeared as a full school presentation.
“I’ve been hosting this panel in my classes for the past five years and have been thrilled with the student response,” Mr. Dube recounted. “The comments I hear most are along the lines of ‘Can you believe that?’ or ‘I never thought of it like that before.’ That tells me it was effective. If I remember my own experience as a young man, I was too caught up in my own life and perceived problems to think about what it was like for people around me. For our students to hear about things they may not worry about because they are young men makes them more likely to show compassion to the people around them. They can appreciate the experiences of their mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. Hopefully, it means they’ll better understand the lives and pressures of their female peers. It means we’ve given young men an insight into the experiences of others. When we learn only through our own experiences, our knowledge is limited. When we open ourselves to learn from what others have experienced, it makes our lives fuller and more empathetic.”
The panel members worked to carefully answer questions, including some especially thoughtful questions from students in the audience. “Given that we have done some version of this panel for several years now, it always strikes me when I see the young men react to each of our experiences as professionals in a workplace, Bridgton or otherwise,” shares Ms. Hanson. “My hope is that the students consider our experiences, positive and negative, and take that perspective into their lives after Bridgton. For me, listening to other colleagues whom I greatly respect talk about their professional experiences is eye-opening. I suspect it is similar for our young men.”