Paying It Forward: Two Dozen EHS Alumni Talk With Students About Careers, Life

EHS students on Friday, November 8, met and gleaned wisdom from a host of Episcopal alumni, including an NFL player turned health-care executive, the founder of an e-commerce start-up, and a career firefighter.
Altogether, 25 EHS graduates returned to campus last week as part of the second biennial EHS CONNECT on Campus program, a full day of conversations about work and life as well as valuable networking opportunities.

Departing from the career-day panels typical at many schools and colleges, CONNECT brings graduates back to campus to meet and talk with small groups of students. Students choose alumni they want to meet, then take the lead in informal conversations and Q&A sessions. This year’s discussions saw students and alumni engage on a wide range of topics, from career paths to the value of internships and graduate education to personal qualities that are critical to success.

Bill Goodwin ’95 opened the day with a talk in Pendleton Hall to all students. Goodwin founded a Raleigh, N.C.-based executive-search firm that works with technology, bioscience, and other innovative, high-growth firms. He advised students to begin building a life plan and determining what matters most to them in terms of lifestyle, family, and personal goals. “Develop a personal mission statement,” he said. “What is your purpose for being alive for the next 70 years? Really think about that. And then list out your goals.”

Several alumni cautioned that the road to career success and happiness often has unexpected twists and turns. “Whatever plan you set, know that it’s going to change,” said Wray Barber Whitticom ’98, a managing director and investment banker with J.P. Morgan.

Carl Morris ’99, a former NFL wide receiver who also still holds records at Harvard, talked about how he began to plan for a second career even before injuries forced him out of football. “Keep an eye on the horizon,” he told students. “You have to look for and prepare for transitions even before they happen.”

Lindsey Dorman Johnson ’07, co-founder of Weezie, a luxury-towel e-commerce start-up, stressed to students the personal traits critical to entrepreneurship. “You don’t have to be the best at everything, but you have to try your hardest. Grit, and putting one foot in front of another, and not taking ‘no’ for an answer — that’s all so important.”

At the end of the day, students were invited to Stewart Student Center for a casual reception and the chance to continue conversations with alumni one on one. See more details about CONNECT and the list of alumni attending. For a gallery of photos from the event, visit the Maroon & Black Flickr gallery.

Veterans Day Chapel with talk by Henry Stoever '84
Bill Goodwin’s ’95 Opening Speech for CONNECT on Campus

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