Lower School Assembly Spotlights Dedication to Career and Family

On Friday, April 26, 2004, PK-6 students gathered in the Mother Mary Campion Center for the Performing Arts to hear from four Oak Knoll parents who represented careers in medicine, entrepreneurship, finance, and law. The parents’ presentations underlying themes were a solid commitment to education, perseverance, flexibility, and a sense of right and wrong. 

Dr. Shetal Mansuria, mother of Arya ’33 and Tej ’31, spoke of her long educational journey to becoming a medical doctor. She explained that there are many different types of doctors, each with their specialties. Her children, who stood beside her at the podium, called on fellow students to name an organ, and Dr. Mansuria then labeled a doctor with that expertise. She explained her daily routine and concluded her talk with an interactive quiz showing various medical items and equipment and calling on students to name them.

“An entrepreneur is somebody who sees a problem in the world and creates a new business or an organization to solve that problem,” said Lucy Gundersen, mother of John ’36, who spoke of her career journey turning a small start-up children’s book curation service into a large national company. She explained that an entrepreneur’s primary goal is to find a problem that needs to be solved and then prototype solutions until a novel idea takes root. She presented an entertaining example of a pretend entrepreneur working to create a product for hungry students in a car line. At each juncture in evolving from a broccoli vending machine to a successful donut stand, the entrepreneur had to learn to pivot or persevere. “You need to be confident enough to go out and build something that no one has built before, but you need to be humble enough to listen to customers and change as you learn more about the problem you’re trying to solve,” she concluded. 

Meghan Maher, mother of Reagan ’35 spoke next and explained in simple and accessible terms what happens in investment banking and corporate negotiations. She spoke of the many familiar brands she has negotiated sales and acquisitions for, including MacDonalds, Campbells, and Coca-Cola. She cleverly used the example of two lemonade stand owners joining forces to convey several business concepts, such as mergers, initial public offerings, and stock sales. She explained how she sometimes has to invert her schedule when working with international clients, and when she travels abroad, she always brings back a souvenir for Reagan. “All day long, I’m working hard,” she explained, “I’m also thinking about Regan and her brother Jack, just like all your moms and dads are working hard and thinking about you. I will work hard for my family, but I can’t wait to get home.”

Dr. James Lee, the father of Reagan ’32 and Kenzie ’29, rounded off the panel of career experts. He spoke of his role as a lawyer and, in simple terms, explained why lawyers exist, the variety of types of lawyers, and presented examples of some disputes that might occur for which a lawyer would be needed. “So simply put, we just help people get what they want, or we help people get out of trouble,” he explained. The students were excited to hear that one of his major clients was the entire NFL and that his team of lawyers worked tirelessly over two weeks to negotiate the $4.65 billion sale of the Denver Broncos.

We thank our hard-working and family-loving parents for sharing their passions and sense of purpose with our Lower School students.