Category Archives: Visiting Speakers

Byrd Bannick Speaks About Gender Identity

November is Transgender Awareness Month. We were very lucky to have Byrd Bannick visit us last Friday to speak with middle school students in our GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) group.

Byrd grew up in the South Bay, attended private schools, and then later graduated from Stanford University. Byrd spoke about growing up as a girl, explaining how he was teased for wanting to wear boy clothes in middle school. In his twenties, after many years of hiding his identity, Byrd cut his hair and began the process of transitioning from female to male.

Byrd spoke candidly about the psychological and physical struggles that he went (and continues to) go through. He spoke about the importance of self-love and having the courage to be who you really are. He answered student questions about being misgendered, his family relationships, and forging new friendships.

The afternoon provided a powerful and profound window into one person’s journey into self-discovery and finding true happiness.

Exploring Gender Identity with Jonathan Skurnik

On Monday middle school students, faculty members, and parents explored gender identity with filmmaker, Jonathan Skurnik.

Jonathan Skurnik is a documentary producer, director and cinematographer. Five of his films have broadcast on PBS and European Television, as well as on domestic Satellite and Cable stations. His films have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center and in art galleries in New York City and at over two hundred film festivals throughout the world. He has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the American Indian film festival, the Change Maker Award at the Media That Matters Film Festival, the Audience Award for Outstanding Achievement at Outfest, the Harry Chapin Media Award for films about poverty and Best Documentary Award at the UrbanTV film Festival.

Filmmaker and educator Jonathan Skurnik was a gender expansive child who loved to play with both dollhouses and Hot Wheels, wear pants and dresses. Like any child, he wanted it all! Then he started to get teased and bullied and gave up “girly” things. In the early 2000s Jonathan read about children who were gender creative and transgender and were living in communities that supported them. These children and their families were doing what he hadn’t been able to do as a child. So Jonathan created the Youth and Gender Media Project, a series of short films about these modern day heroes, which are screened in schools throughout the country to make the world safe for all flavors of gender identity and expression.

Some highlights from Mr. Skurnik’s three-session visit:

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Charlotte Gould Speaks about Kindness and Doll Making

On Monday, Charlotte Gould spoke with Hamlin lower and middle students about her altruistic work making dolls for hospitalized children experiencing surgeries. Charlotte also shared an acronym that she lives by: SEW (Smile, Eye Contact, Welcome). Embracing SEW has opened her to friendships and profound connections with people from all over the world.

At a 20-week ultrasound, Charlotte was diagnosed with a cleft lip & palate — the most common facial birth defect in the United States, affecting every 1 in 700 babies.  She had several surgeries and procedures, including two before her first birthday.  Doctor visits, planned surgeries, unexpected procedures, and ongoing treatment filled Charlotte’s childhood– along with laughter, dolls, joy and lots of smiles!

Charlotte states: “I was born with a cleft lip and palate.  I’ve had several surgeries on my lip, nose, mouth and gums to create the smile you see today.  My smile has changed my life, and I want to help other children smile too, especially kids needing surgeries. I know surgeries can be scary, but hugs from family, smiles from friends, and something soft to snuggle can really help.  I founded Stitches by Charlotte to support other kids just like me.  The purpose of my new surgery companion doll line is to turn scary times into smiles for children facing surgery everywhere!”

​​Charlotte sewed her first doll to look just like her– long brown braids, glasses, and a sweet smile with a tiny scar.  She received so much positive feedback for making a doll that was perfectly “imperfect.”  Charlotte began to discover a passion for making dolls with differences. From a doll with a scar across her chest for the tiniest heart warrior, to a doll with a crown of stitches for a brain-surgery sweetie– Charlotte happily sews to make others smile.  Requests poured in from people who believe Charlotte’s little dolls can make a big difference.

Charlotte and her dolls have been featured in American Girl magazine & Scholastic News, on Good Morning America, Fox News’ The Five, Disney Radio, and honored at WE Day 2018. Charlotte finds SEW much joy in helping others.

We are honored that Charlotte donated three of her dolls to The Hamlin School.

To learn more please visit: http://www.stitchesbycharlotte.com/

CEO Amy Errett Speaks at Hamlin

Wednesday afternoon Amy Errett spoke with students in Grade 7 about her life in business, and about the importance of giving back to others.

Amy’s multifaceted career has ranged from founding and operating companies, to investing in startups, to volunteer nonprofit leadership. Currently, Amy is founder and CEO of Madison Reed, an omnichannel beauty brand that is challenging industry titans in the hair color space. She is also a Venture Partner at True Ventures, focusing on investments in consumer and e-commerce startups.

In 2015 and 2018, Amy was named one of the “Bay Area’s Most Influential Women in Business” by the San Francisco Business Times. She was also a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Award in the Northern California region, which she won in 2006 for the consumer category. 

Amy believes in the power of giving back and dedicates herself to supporting humanitarian organizations. Amy is a member of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast chapter of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), and serves on the boards of the University of Connecticut Foundation, Common Sense Media, Glide, and Madison Reed.

Ms. Errett shared the following (among other points):

-That it is important to do things that are going to help the world

-That people with privilege have a responsibility to give back

-That she wanted to create a company that didn’t use harsh chemicals, used eco-friendly packaging, and didn’t retouch images of women

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Hamlin and Town Team Up To Explore Bias

On May 15, Wanda M. Holland Greene (Head of The Hamlin School) and Lorri Hamilton Durbin (Head of Town School), partnered with filmmaker Robin Hauser for a special screening and discussion of the film bias.

bias challenges us to confront our hidden biases and understand what we risk when we follow our gut. Through exposing her own biases, award-winning documentary filmmaker Robin Hauser (CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, Running for Jim) highlights the nature of implicit bias, the grip it holds on our social and professional lives, and what it will take to induce change.

The toxic effects of bias make headlines every day: sexual harassment, racial profiling, the pay gap. As humans, we are biased. Yet few of us are willing to admit it. We confidently make snap judgments, but we are shockingly unaware of the impact our assumptions have on those around us. The documentary feature bias follows filmmaker Robin Hauser on a journey to uncover her hidden biases and explore how unconscious bias defines relationships, workplaces, our justice system, and technology. bias contemplates the most pressing question: can we de-bias our brains?

After the screening Ms. Hauser and Linda Tong (a VP with AppDynamics) answered questions from the audience about the film and artificial intelligence.

Some of the topics covered in the film and discussion were:

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Native San Franciscans Share Stories with Grade 2

Tuesday morning six San Francisco natives gathered to speak with Grade 2 students. Our girls are learning about the history of San Francisco as part of their social studies curriculum. Speakers shared fond memories and favorite San Francisco places, while also describing how various neighborhoods have both changed and stayed the same. Throughout the session our students asked every panelist thoughtful and specific questions to gain more information.

Below are a few highlights from each panelist:

Juan Oseguera (Hamlin Parent):

When I was a child the Bayview neighborhood demographics were mostly Black, Irish, and Italian. We had some of the best in the City, when it came down to Delis, Bakeries, Donut shops, Cafes, Soul food, Barbecue, Dinners, Drive-ins, and also one of the most Legendary Stadiums (Candlestick), which housed the Giants and the 49ers.

Elizabeth Dawson (Hamlin Parent):

I was born and raised in Presidio Heights. Two of my favorite shops were Dottie Doolittle, which is still around, and the Land of Counterpane, which was a wonderful children’s bookshop that all of the neighborhood kids went to. The owner of the bookshop, Marilyn Welch, used to invite many of the leading children’s authors and illustrators of that era to come to the shop and read to us.

Randy Choy:

We tended to stay in our own neighborhoods, and I stayed near the Marina District, and Chinatown mostly, though sometimes we would go downtown to go shopping.  I would take my little brother and sister on the cable car, and buy Pizza and ice cream at Woolworths, which was like a giant mall. In fact, we took the bus everywhere we went – we could get on any bus or the cable car for 5 cents!

Jarrel Phillips (Hamlin Hub Teacher):

I was born and raised in San Francisco in the Fillmore district… just 4 blocks from City Hall. My parents were also born and raised in San Francisco as well. My neighborhood was always busy. It was once known as the “Harlem of the West” because it was a thriving community for black people, arts and culture.

Jocelyn Combs (Hamlin Class of ’67):

I was born and raised in the Richmond District and lived 3 homes away from the San Francisco Presidio, which was my playground when I was a child. My parents met at the Presidio during the Second World War and are both buried there. The Presidio looks the same as it did 70 years ago; it is one of the only parts of San Francisco that is the same as it was.

Marina Chan (Hamlin Parent):

I was born in the same hospital that I gave birth to my children in San Francisco. I grew up in the Outer Richmond District, a couple of blocks away from the Cliff House/Sutro Baths/Land’s End/Ocean Beach area. I went to school in the Inner Richmond at a Catholic school named Star of the Sea (which is closing down next month). My parents owned a chain of photo and video stores in San Francisco.

 

Parents Explore Social and Emotional Learning

This week Middle and Lower School parents delved into better understanding how to support their daughters through a social and emotional learning lens. The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning (IFSEL) led two thoughtful morning workshops on the subject.

Among other topics, the workshops provided information about the following:

-Reflective listening guidelines for parents, sharing examples like: Tell me more about, I wonder what was meant by, It sounds like, So, as you see it….

-Understanding roadblocks and freeways to communication

-Accepting Ourselves and Our Young Children: Notes for Parenting with Skills that Embrace Social and Emotional Learning

-IFSEL’s Twelve Top Tips for Parenting Adolescents

-IFSEL Conflict Resolution & Relationship Repair

To see the presentation slides and a recording of the workshops (only available to Hamlin Parents), please visit: https://hamlin.myschoolapp.com/app/faculty#resourceboarddetail/15387

-These workshops were made possible through the generosity of the fall golf fundraiser. Thank you to all who contributed to that successful event.

For more information about the IFSEL, please visit: https://www.instituteforsel.net/

 

Social and Emotional Role-Playing in Lower School

On Monday, Janice Tobin and Elizabeth McLeod from the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning worked with students in Grades 3 and 4.

Students had an opportunity to explore various facets of communication by role-playing with aggressive, passive, and assertive language. They focused on word choice and how body language is involved with communicating. One of the goals was to avoid being too passive or too aggressive.

Some communication examples:

Passive– head down, no eye contact

Aggressive– name calling, blaming

Assertive– strong tone, kind but direct

The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning will be speaking with Lower School parents at Hamlin on 2/12 and with Middle School parents on 2/13 (8:30am-10am both days). The Institute will be working with Middle School students in March.

For more information about their work, please visit: https://www.instituteforsel.net/

 

Positive Coaching Alliance Speaks at Hamlin

On Friday, Carrie Zarraonandia from the Positive Coaching Alliance, spoke with our middle school students about using social media in life and with sports.

Carrie Zarraonandia was elected to the Marin County Athletic Hall of Fame for coaching and has been honored as a S.F. Bay Area Double-Goal Coach Winner and national Finalist. She has over 30 years of service to the United States Professional Tennis Association, and recently was awarded the 2017 NorCal Pro of the Year.  She is a “veteran” sports mom and taught three out of her five children to play tennis and enjoy the sport. 

Ms. Zarraonandia shared the following insights (among others):

-What you post on social media is important and shapes how you are perceived.

-The negative use of social media has real world consequences.

-You can use social media to be a positive influence.

She shared the following questions to ask before posting on social media:

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Pinterest Executive Speaks at Hamlin

On Wednesday, Dutta Satadip spoke with Grade 7 students about his personal and professional journey, sharing wisdom from his life.

Dutta Satadip is the Global Head of Customer Operations at Pinterest. Prior to Pinterest, he was the Director of Customer Success at Google. He was responsible for a multi-billion dollar portfolio of over 150 products with teams in 15 different offices. Mr. Satadip has worked extensively in both developed and emerging countries. Mr. Satadip frequently speaks at major conferences (including TEDx) on topics such as: Customer Experience, Operations, Change Management and Leadership. He also shares his experiences via articles in publications like Harvard Business Review, and Strategy and Business. He has served on the board of the National Hemophilia Foundation and Save One Life.

Below are a few highlights from what Mr. Satadip shared:

-(In a corporate setting) “Don’t wait to be included, make your voice heard. It is one thing to have good ideas, but you have to be able to share them.”

-“My grandfather was a huge influence on me, he broadened my view of the world and made me curious.”

-“After graduating from college it is very important to set personal learning goals so you can continue to grow.”

-“When you ask for help, there are lots of people who will step forward to help you, but you have to ask.”

-“Find your supporters, the people who believe in you.”

-“Two crucial skills for the future are: understanding and processing numbers, and building relationships with people.”