Jing Redman, class of 2012, found herself struggling to learn in a typical school environment before finding SGS. After attending an open house, she knew right away that SGS was the school for her. Now, more than a decade later, she still finds herself telling everyone all about SGS. Learning to lead was a key part of her experience—so much so that she has her sights set on being a CEO one day. She credits her confidence in risk taking to her supportive teachers and classmates at SGS. After middle school, she has studied abroad in China, Hong Kong, and the UK! Read more about Jing’s transformative middle school experience and what she is up to now in our latest addition to the 20 Years, 20 Stories series!
As an SGS alumna, can you talk about your overall experience with the school?
When I was younger, I had ADD and the school that I was with before SGS did not accommodate that. I thought I wasn’t good at school and would get really upset about that and didn’t want to go to school at all. So, I was pulled out and my parents were thinking of all these ideas for what I could do. Luckily, we heard about SGS and I started in 5th grade. I remember going to the open house and it was the most fun open house I had ever been to. They had all these activities that I remember doing and thinking, “Okay, I really want to go to SGS.”
I remember fifth grade was a lot of fun because there was a major emphasis on field trips -we would go on a field trip almost every week! That was amazing. These trips ranged from things like going to Theo Chocolates to a water waste plant. It was all so interesting; I liked the alternative way of learning.
Can you tell us more about what made the SGS curriculum unique?
Well, as fifth graders we were learning about sustainable design and our culmination project was designing a new building. All the culminations and the whole emphasis on not doing homework but actually learning by trying new things really brought the love back into learning for the sake of learning.
The teachers were all super nice, of course, and if we were struggling with something or got a bad grade they would say, “Okay, let’s work through this.” They would give me the chance to redo it and get a better grade because the focus was on learning and not so much about the end product. This gave me a lot of confidence later on to realize, “Oh, yeah, I actually am smart in my own way.” SGS gave me the ability to succeed.
How did the SGS curriculum have an impact on you?
A major takeaway that I had was the leadership and independence at SGS. Starting in 5th grade, we had to lead a community meeting. I remember how nerve wracking that was, but once you get up there and see how everyone is actually listening and respecting you, you get imbued with a confidence early on that you don’t get anywhere else. That showed in high school when I was pretty much the only girl to talk in class and wasn’t afraid to participate.
During my junior year at University Prep I did a year abroad in China and I think that having that independence instilled in me at SGS made me comfortable enough to do something like that.
How did your years at SGS influence your career choice?
They imparted so much confidence in me from the get-go. I always thought, “I’m going to become a CEO.” I know I want to start something myself or become the boss of something. I just graduated but even through my internships I have had that mind set and that end goal. I’ve been trying to learn all sorts of different things like UX, HR, marketing, and corporate communications. I’m currently a management trainee doing a two-year rotational program where I get to go around to different parts of the business. I haven’t really settled on what department I like the most, but I have a passion for design, and I have the confidence to know that if I want to do anything, I can do anything.
Can you tell us more about your career and how you got there?
I went to University at St Andrews, in Scotland and while I was there, I did my junior year at University of Hong Kong and I really loved it. So, after I graduated this past summer, I reached out to the contacts I had in Hong Kong and asked if they knew anyone looking to hire. Luckily, I had one friend who knew that this company was starting to hire management trainees! Right now, I’m working under the CEO and I do different things every day, depending on what needs to be done. Recently, I redesigned our whole website utilizing my UX and design skills.
Was there anything that you learned at SGS that you utilize in your current job?
At SGS you are always encouraged to always ask questions and seek support if you need it. This has become really useful to me, since my boss is my CEO, he gives a lot of high-level directions. And I have been able to go around to my colleagues and talk to them and initiate these meetings and be self-starting. Being new to the company and the country, I don’t know anyone, but I haven’t been afraid to talk to new people. These are skills that were emphasized at SGS, along with the mindset that it is not shameful to ask for help. Seattle Girl School gave me the foundation for all of these things.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
When people ask me about SGS, I let them know that it was truly the biggest turning point in my life. Those years are so formative for girls, especially going through puberty. It's awkward! You're getting pimples and you’re going through so many physical and psychological changes. I think that SGS was one of the safest spaces to do that in. I feel really lucky because so many other people try to block out middle school memories. For me, when I look back at my whole educational history, SGS was my favorite part.