Alums Host Career Event

More than 25 Brooks alumni got together to talk shop in New York City last night.

The Brooks Alumni Board hosted the gathering, "Brooks Career Panel and Networking Event," in the office of human resources consulting firm Korn/Ferry International on Park Avenue.

Guests ranged from relatively recent graduates, including Isabelle Choy '13, to those who left Brooks more than 30 years ago, such as Isabelle's mother Helena Choy '86, P'13, P'18.

John Petzold '03, a senior client partner at Korn/Ferry, acted as moderator for the two-hour evening event, during which he and five other Brooks graduates served as panelists offering their career advice and wide-ranging experience to the group.

Marquis Daisy '01 and Amanda Dubois '95, for example, are both producers — though Daisy works in TV, as a director at ESPN, and Dubois specializes in musical theater with her Amanda Dubois Productions, Inc.
Jess Kapadia '04 works in media too, but at a food, drink, travel and lifestyle website: Food Republic.

Petzold, for his part, guides boards, CEOs, and senior management in "aligning their interests and optimizing their talent through assessment, development, organizational design, succession and retention programs" at Korn/Ferry, while Lisa Petzold '00 is employed as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State.

Iván Watanabe '04, meanwhile, represented the financial sector. He is employed by Opus Advisory Group, LLC as a senior associate and financial advisor.

Yet for all the differences in their chosen careers, each is united in their devotion to Brooks.

"Participating in this event is my way of giving back to the Brooks community because it's a community that helped shape the person I am today," said Watanabe. "Brooks supported me and my family during some difficult times. Without this support, I'm confident that my life would be different that it has been."

The businessman — recently selected for El Mundo Boston's 30 Under 30, recognizing Boston's most influential young Latino leaders — continued, explaining that he still uses the skills he learned at Brooks today, 13 years after leaving campus. "Brooks fostered an environment for me to start thinking critically, problem solving, and most importantly, learning how to interact with people from all backgrounds and ways of life," he said. "My entire business is built around developing relationships, creating value and solving problems."

And that's the takeaway that he said he hopes guests to the April 12 event get from his experience: "I'd like people to understand the transferable skills that Brooks starts to establish at a young age."

Kapadia had an even more personal reason for deciding to participate on the panel. "Maintaining my connection to the Brooks community has a lot to do with family for me," she said. "My dad, Pradeep Kapadia '74, P'04 and brother, Elan Kapadia '09, are both proud alums, and sharing this unique connection continues to bring us closer to this day. I love hearing their stories about Brooks — especially when my dad recounts the good old days — and I understand them on a deeper level because I know what they mean. I even still have dreams that take place on the Brooks campus!"

This isn't the first time Kapadia has given back to Brooks by sharing her experience. "I once went back to campus to speak at a sixth-form induction dinner on the topic of 'How To Get Your Dream Job,'" she said, adding that she does really feel like her career has been the stuff of dreams. "To balance out all the good stuff that's happened to me, I try to impart as much advice as I can on the topic of fulfilling careers, without being too annoying."

It's worked for at least one listener so far. "One student at the induction asked if she could speak with me afterwards, and said that she wanted to be a food writer as well," the editor recalled. "I was delighted, gave her a few first steps and fully expected never to hear from her again. But not only did I eventually become a mentor to Cat Lau '12, I watched her food media career blossom from a blog to her own food show in college to one of the top writers for my website. She went to culinary school in Paris, and now she's an on-camera personality for a phenomenal Asian culinary tourism company. I feel like a proud mama hen!"

The point, Kapadia said, is that "I hope people take away the idea that making a career out of something you truly love, from the inside out, is a surefire path to happiness."

Going to the Brooks panel certainly made Kapadia happy. "I'm always bummed out when I have to miss a Brooks event because of work or travel, because they're a fun, social way to connect with wonderful individuals who have all had meaningful experiences centered around our school," she said. "Plus, there's usually an open bar and killer snacks — what's not to love?"

For more on alumni events at Brooks School, click here.

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