Kyle Boelte visited with Upper School students in the Coming of Age classes, Middle East electives, and Tragedy electives in February to discuss his memoir, The Beautiful Unseen, which examines fading memory, his brother’s abrupt death, and San Francisco’s fog. “One of the things I’m trying to do,” says Kyle, “is to collage, like in fine arts, with multiple different pieces into the book, imagining a life through those papers.”
Holly Ruderman Dichter is now the Executive Director of The Challenge Foundation. Holly’s daughters, Maya turned 1 in December and Kamryn turned 3 in January.
Abbi Hills has found a way to stay involved with sports through her work. Deloitte, Abbi’s employer, has been advising the U.S. Paralympics. With the assistance of colleagues, she helped 25 sports clubs across the U.S. with grant management and strategic planning. One organization Abbi is passionate about is the National Sports Center in Denver. Through a future leaders group she created, Abbi is hoping to attract new volunteers to the organization.
Julia Jackson and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are leading the way in healthcare innovation. As part of the Healthcare Transformation Lab (HTL), Julia hopes to advance care and increase efficiency while reducing costs and improving the patient experience. “Today, we use smartphones for everything from making restaurant reservations to depositing checks and tracking packages,” says Julia, who received her MBA from Simmons College in Boston and is the managing director of the HTL. “We want to use digital technology to bring the same convenience to healthcare.” To that end, HTL hosted a challenge among health professionals to identify inefficiencies they encounter daily and to propose solutions. Six proposals, all involving technology to some degree, were given grants of $10-25,000. Julia’s work is to ensure success of the projects by pairing teams of experts with each grant winner and providing peer help in implementation. “Unlike other grant competitions, the HTL did not just write a check to grantees,” explains Julia. “We’re actively involved through project management support in making sure these grants achieve their intended goals.”
Helen Phillips and her husband Adam Thompson had an extra thankful Thanksgiving due to the birth of their son, Neal Phillips Thompson, on November 27, 2014. Neal was welcomed by big sister Ruth who will be three years in June 2015. Helen hopes to catch up with some CA alums at launch events in Denver, New York, and San Francisco for her novel The Beautiful Bureaucrat. The book is scheduled to be available on August 11, 2015. Preceding that, Helen was a writer-in-residence at CA in April 2015.
Julia Richman was married in the fall of 2014 to Philip Wheaton, a 1997 graduate of Saint Paul’s School. More than a dozen CA folks were in attendance from classes of 1995 to 2004. The couple married in Crested Butte. Julia and Philip met in Denver although they both attended Dartmouth together but never met at college. CA friends of Julia Richman at her marriage to Philip Wheaton, front row, L to R: Annie Richman ’04, Lulu Bael Gephart ’99, Maggie Lea ’00, Emily Dubin ’00, David May ’00, Emily Leary Smith who taught at CA, Sarah Bael Anderson ’95, Lauren Richman ’97, Julia and Philip, Aaron Richman ’02, Kathryn Schutz Hansen ’00, Sara Shamos Yelpalla ’00 and Shane Boris ’00.
In November, Eli Saslow, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with the Washington Post, was a guest speaker at the University of Denver’s Bridges to the Future series. With Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, Post Managing Editor, they discussed, “Smart Publishing: Newspapers Learn to Adapt and Coexist in the Digital Age.
Tess Vigil continues to teach sewing lessons and design and sell dresses in RiNo at 50 Dresses by Tess Vigil, and as of late 2014 is enjoying being deeply involved with education again working as a teaching coach for new teachers through Teach For America Colorado.
Emily Dubin is a successful graphic designer at Chronicle Books in San Francisco (www.chroniclebooks.com), where she is an art director and designer of books and gift products. Although busy working on approximately 30 titles (an eclectic mix of humor books, cookbooks, art books, stationery, journals, and board games) a year, she feels very lucky to work in a fun, creative environment where “I get to make tangible things for people to enjoy.”
Emily remembers always being interested in art, both making it and studying it. Some of this could be attributed to the hours she spent in art class painting and drawing with former CA art teacher, Beverly French. Emily believes the work done there laid the groundwork for what she does today. Attending the University of Pennsylvania, Emily received an undergraduate degree in Art History with a minor in Fine Art. She initially thought there would be more job opportunities in the business side of art, so following graduation, Emily worked for a few years in galleries and arts non-profits. She recalls, “I missed being creative and making art, so I went back to school for a degree in graphic design.”
The amazing coincidence for Emily was that the first time she heard about design as a career was during her sophomore year at CA. Emily vividly remembers, “We were given a list of alums we could shadow for Career Day to learn about a profession.” I saw Graphic Designer Dale Monahan ’84 on the list. I had no idea what that was, but I knew it had something to do with art, so I signed up. Dale was working on packaging for Blue Moon beer the day I shadowed him and I learned about the time and choices that went into branding, typography, illustration, and package design. It seemed fun and creative. Years later, after some twists and turns career-wise, I finally came back to design and it's been the perfect fit for me.”
As for influences from CA faculty besides Beverly French, Emily recalls, “I really loved my English classes, and Chip Lee's classes especially, were always engaging and thought-provoking. Mr. Lee taught me what can be gained by an informed discussion, and to above all, be curious.”
Emily’s brother, Jon Dubin ’04, is also a designer in San Francisco and works in interactive design. The siblings frequently turn to each other for feedback on their work and they've even been able to do a few small projects together. Emily says she hasn’t had the chance to mentor or help any CA alums but she'd love to in the future. “It would also be great to teach current CA students about careers in design, and pass on the encouragement Dale gave to me.”
PHOTO: Emily Dubin
Ida Broadnax Pennymon and Tess Vigil graduated together in June 2000. Thirteen plus years later, they are both entrepreneurs, connected by their CA experience, and have forged a mutually beneficial working relationship. Both moved from Denver, came home and reconnected via social media.
Tess started her business, 50 Dresses by Tess Vigil (www.50dresses.com
), almost four years ago. She designs and produces primarily vintage-inspired, yet timeless, women’s wear and custom bridal party dresses. Tess also teaches sewing lessons for budding designers. She loves helping children and adults, create wearable souvenirs while building sewing and design skills. For Tess, working as a solo entrepreneur is challenging, because it requires a strong self-motivated drive, and a great deal of patience and positivity. “Success depends on my ability to think big while effectively organizing day-to-day tasks and creating the structure for my work, then following through with all goals and plans, while remaining flexible enough to change and grow forward, when results aren't exactly as I first imagined.” This, combined with the challenge of getting-the-word-out and staying connected to clients, led Tess to collaborate with Ida.
Ida’s full-service event management, public relations and branding company,Pennymon Presents (www.PennymonPresents.com
), focuses on “presenting” their clients at their very best through strategic marketing. After years of working for some great companies and doing a little consulting on the side, Ida officially began her company in January 2013, shortly after moving back to Colorado. According to Ida, “Like many startups, getting new clients is always the biggest challenge. You start this new venture under your newly minted fictitious name with so much energy, passion and skill…but with no reputation, which is what many potential clients are looking for. Luckily for us, we picked up some clients right out of the gate and were able to establish ourselves as the client-centric, hard-working and fun-loving company we are.” Ida feels this is just the beginning, for she knows there are so many people and businesses who understand the value of marketing and need public relations and events management services from someone they know and trust.
During the summer of 2013, Tess and Ida hired Kendall Barnes ’04 to work on social media and marketing for 50 Dresses. Kendall designed the new logo. Tess says, “She was incredibly helpful and creative.”
Tess and Ida both love fashion, so once they moved back to Denver, the next step to reconnect seemed so natural. As Tess says, “It's awesome to work as an adult with someone who shares common fond CA memories.” For Ida, “I’d been following Tess and her progress with 50 Dresses since its inception. Since I love, love fashion, and think she has some serious skills, it seemed like a perfect fit.”
Ida worked on brand-building and business promotion with the goal of reaching more retail outlets through 50 Dresses’ monthly newsletter and social media. The two worked together to launch the Fall 2013 line, complete with a strong social media plan and an organized timeline. Both agree that, “One of the coolest things that came out of our collaboration was a promotional video for the Fall 2013 collection.”
Both feel their collaboration has enhanced their professional and business lives. Tess’s unique style, creativity, and genuine, approachable personality, and Ida’s organization, combined with her practical yet big and bold, ideas make a perfect match. Ida is grateful to reconnect with one of her “most memorable classmates.” And as one of her first clients in Colorado, Tess opened the door for Ida to meet several other people in Denver’s fashion scene. Tess is grateful to have Ida’s professional work ethic with a fun and stylish approach turning her design ideas into reality.
This business collaboration sprang from a friendship and shared experience at CA. For Tess, “The English classes I took with Anne Strobridge, Chip Lee, and Betsey Coleman were critical in shaping who I am today. I learned to question, understand, analyze, and think for myself - all the essential skills I continue to depend on while navigating our wild world!” CA also encouraged her passion to study arts and humanities, and contribute her own voice and art to the world. Tess felt supported as a creative individual and didn't feel pressured to fit any specific mold. More recently, “CA’s strong and supportive alumni network has helped me grow the sewing and design lessons I offer at my studio. I'm building a roster of future design students, and many connections have been made through CA’s network.” Alli Stamper Perkins ’95 recently invited me to create and host a small children's sewing circle during an open house at her new children's store, Heloise. I'm more and more grateful for the path CA paves every day!”
Ida remembers many great faculty members, but there were two who really stand out for her, “Mrs. Vogt
, my middle school art teacher, and Mr. Hammer
, my upper school math teacher. I remember Mr. Hammer pulling me aside one day. He told me that I have to show up if I want to be successful. I always remember his words of encouragement during times when I considered taking short-cuts or procrastinating. Thanks, Mr. Hammer!” CA helped her to foster an independent attitude and ignited her drive for being successful in life. “There were so many ambitious students at CA, which really encouraged me to excel and dream big! I can also say that CA provided the educational foundation I needed as I went on to bigger things. I am happy that I am still connected to the network of CA grads who are each successes in their own right. I look forward to making more connections, both personally and professionally through CA.”
Ida Broadnax Pennymon ’00 (L) and Tess Vigil ’00 (second from the R) with two models at a vintage-meets-modern fashion show following an advanced screening of Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s at the SIE Film Center. 303 Magazine generously sponsored the event.