New Speaker Series Focuses on Inspiring Career Paths

How do you get to be a Washington Post reporter, a renowned marine biologist, an orthopaedic surgeon, head of your own public relations firm, or become a decision-maker at Black Entertainment Network (BET)? In our new speaker series, “How I Got Here,” Poly taps our alumni and parent community to share their career journeys with our students.

Poly trustees Sang Lee P’22, ’23 (left) and Kareem Raymond P’31, ’33

Poly trustees Sang Lee P’22, ’23  and Kareem Raymond P’31, ’33 were the inaugural guest speakers in the school’s new “How I Got Here” speaker series, which introduces students to accomplished professionals across a variety of fields. Student Kadyn Liburd ’21 served as moderator. The new initiative provides an opportunity for Upper School students to get unique firsthand perspectives about the careers enjoyed by some of our talented parents, alumni, and other community members.

“The idea is to empower students with a window into what potential pathways exist for them after Poly,” said Kyle Graham, Associate Head of School, Enrollment Management and Student Outcomes. The series is a joint effort by Poly’s Upper School deans and the Advancement team. “All of our students expect to go to college,” Graham said, “but we want to open their minds to the range of opportunities available after college. We want students to dream broad and dream big.”

“We want students to dream broad and dream big.”

Kyle Graham, Associate Head of School, Enrollment Management and Student Outcomes

Students were invited to the virtual event to hear about Lee’s and Raymond’s journeys in the fields of law and finance. Lee earned her undergraduate degree at Brown University and her JD from Georgetown University. She is the founder and CEO of Thine. Raymond earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs.

Afterward, Lee said of the students, “I was impressed by the sophistication level of their curiosity. Their questions evinced a thoughtfulness that suggested a broader worldview and I found that exciting and encouraging for the future!”

Lee said she tried to convey to the students that they should, “practice developing relationships with mentors and advisors.” She told students, “being comfortable with teachers, professors, future managers—being able to look them in the eye, to ask for clarity, to self-advocate, to humanize—will enable you to more readily develop the kind of meaningful professional relationships that will sustain and advance your careers.”

Robert Magnus '21
Robert Magnus ’21

Robert Magnus ’21 was part of the audience for the inaugural event. “It was interesting to hear their stories about what they have worked on and how they got to where they are,” Magnus said.  Their presentations gave him “a glimpse into the type of work they do on a daily basis.” He added, “It was also interesting to hear how being non-white has impacted their career experiences.”

“However,” said Magnus, “they both said that knowing how to code in a computer language is one of the best skills to have because the jobs that their companies are trying to fill require that skill.” That being said, Magnus added he would like to see a computer programmer among the future speakers.

Our next installment in the How I Got Here series is scheduled for October 7 and will feature our alumni community including entrepreneur Sam DiGennaro ’88, who specializes in public relations and marketing and is the founder and CEO of DiGennaro Communications (DGC) and Jeanine Liburd ’88, P’21, ‘24, BET Networks’ chief social impact and communications officer. Sam Gennatt ‘21 will serve as moderator.