Alumni Western Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Experience is an asset

by David Scott | May 6, 2014

You never want a year or a decade or your life to end with “what if”? What if I’d taken the chance, what if I’d taken that job, what if I’d taken that course, what if I’d picked up the phone and made that call?

It’s natural to reflect and evaluate where you are and analyze your past. Time puts everything into perspective and sometimes you realize those things that seemed small at the time were actually pivotal in putting you on the path to your eventual career.

Had Kadie Ward BA’06 (Philosophy), MA’07 (FIMS) not had the experience of being VP of Communications in 2001-02 for the USC at Western, the seed would not have been planted for her that a career helping economies of different cities to compete in the global marketplace would be possible.

She’s now a successful consultant, who has worked in Vietnam, the Ukraine, the Caribbean and across Canada.

Would surgeon Dr. Reiza Rayman, BSc’85, MSc’91, PhD’09 (MD, U of T), be on the leading edge of robotic surgery technology part of the 1999 team that performed the world’s first robotic heart bypass surgery at University Hospital in London, Ont.?

The thesis topic for his PhD was Robotic Telesurgery. Clearly, the experience of being part of a world first in medicine influenced Dr. Rayman’s path.

Star of stage, TV and film, Juggun Kazim, BA’09 (MIT), came from a wealthy family but found her confidence at Western, something she said she’d never have gotten in her native Pakistan. From the simple and unknown experiences for her at the time of doing her own laundry and opening her own bank account, her independence grew.

She gained new perspectives at Western like respect for human rights and equal rights for women and freedom of career choice.

Successful businessman Michael Hyatt, BSc’96, arrived on campus with eyes on becoming a doctor. Although that never materialized, he instead graduated from Western with a Science degree and a burning desire “to make something” of himself. “I learned from my failures. It’s the pain and anguish in my journey that made me who I am today.” It’s a great example of even bad experiences being helpful learning tools. He built two of Canada’s fastest-growing hightech firms in the last two decades.

There are other great examples of experience building character, strength and success in this issue: Dr. Carys Massarella, MD’90, having the experience of living as a man but knowing she was a woman. She has achieved personal and professional success as the first transgender chief of staff at any hospital in the world, in her case, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton. Dr. Massarella enjoys the respect and support of her colleagues. Nashville music producer Brian Ferriman, BA’72 (English), NASCAR VP of Innovation and Racing Development, Gene Stefanyshyn, MBA’85, and World Health Organization (WHO) staff Ericka Barbazza, BHSc’11, and student intern Kerry Waddell, BHSc’14 candidate, used timely experiences at Western to make connections, learn valuable lessons and grow personally and professionally.

All of our readers share at least one common experience, The Western Experience.

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of Alumni Gazette
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