College Board Forum Through the Eyes of a “Newbie”
College Board Forum Through the Eyes of a “Newbie”Karen Arena-Spoleti, Executive Director, Communications
I joined the College Board in June with no prior professional experience in education. So to say I am excited to be here is an understatement. I’m thrilled to be in Chicago to listen to and learn all I can from the experts about the issues and opportunities in education today. Along the way, I’m also learning about the power of this community of passionate, dedicated people working and collaborating towards a common goal: clearing a path for students to own their future.
The new Forum attendee session was hosted by a group of former trustees, industry veterans who helped us navigate the many sessions and imparted words of wisdom drawn from their own Forum experience. I walked into the session and immediately met a new friend, Helena de Salles Aguiar, from Sao Paulo Brazil. She's an administrator for Colegio Bandeirantes, working in strategy and development. Helena came to Forum to keep abreast of educational trends.
As we listened to the panelists, the impact of this conference became immediately apparent. Former trustees emphasized the importance of reaching beyond our comfort zones, to venture into areas that aren’t part of our professional wheelhouse; we should visit different sessions, meet new people, make new friends, listen and learn. They shared stories of lasting friendships made at Forums past, and of true professional career-changing opportunities. For example, Adrian Mims, a former trustee and the director of the National Calculus Project, shared how a discussion at Forum years ago with the superintendent for the 10th largest school district in the US resulted in launching the National Calculus Project. Now, his flourishing program is giving minority and underrepresented students the opportunity to apply to colleges that require calculus for admission. A life-changing experience for both Adrian and the students taking his course—all created through a conversation at Forum. Wow.