Inaugural Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership Speaker Series
Inaugural Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership Speaker Series

by Sarah Bishop, BCIL Extracurricular Innovator and Collaborator

Fifty students and twenty faculty buzzed with excitement as our inaugural Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership Speaker Series guests took their places at the front of the packed room. The students who envisioned this monthly event wanted an intimate environment with access to young and relatable professionals making their original and creative mark in a variety of fields. These speakers certainly delivered, with Todd Maron '96, former General Counsel of Tesla, and Ryan Fujiu, Vice President of Product and Compliance at Bird, sharing their own journeys and offering advice about career paths. One Upper School student reflected, "This event changed my views on how to become successful."

Aligned with our mission, the experience was intended to engage students with real world challenges and possible solutions within and beyond the classroom. Maron and Fujiu each posed some topics currently facing the green tech industry, and tables of six students each conceptualized how Tesla and Bird might address them.

Maron also visited multiple classrooms on the East Campus and 6th graders on the West Campus, tying in his work with Pam Horrocks' Innovative Design project on repurposing items that would otherwise go to waste. Sixth grader Emmy had this to say about his visit: "Although I was amazed by all the interesting facts about Tesla, I actually enjoyed your story about how you got to work there the most. I was motivated by your faith...and how you took the opportunity and weren't afraid to change career paths."

Maron concluded the day by giving the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership Speaker Series it's first "Challenge of the Month" related to electric charging infrastructure in densely populated areas. More to come on these challenges in future newsletters.


More from the Upper School...