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Bruce Croxon of Dragon’s Den fame attended Ridley College.

Four former independent-school students reflect on what their schools taught them.


Ridley College

Career notes: Entrepreneur Bruce Croxon first made his mark as a digital pioneer when he co-founded an early tech startup that came to be known as Lavalife in 1988. The online dating site sold for more than $150-million, and he co-founded Round13, a company dedicated to investing in growth-stage digital companies. A regular for three seasons on CBC's Dragon's Den, he also owns Vida, a chain of spas on the West Coast. He sits on the board of the Trans Canada Trail and supports several not-for-profit organizations, including Anaphylaxis Canada.

School recollections: "Ridley taught me the value of working as part of a team to achieve a common goal," Mr. Croxon says. "The friends I made there remain my closest confidants."


Bishop Strachan School

Career notes: A senior scientist for NATO, Laryssa Patten worked at the Canadian Space Agency in the late 1990s. There, as a satellite mission planner, she trained astronauts in the use of Canadian robotics on the International Space Station. In 2003, she moved to Europe to pursue an MBA at the University of Rotterdam after receiving her M.A. in aerospace engineering. Since 2011, she provides space support to military operations in the Hague, Netherlands.

School recollections: "A big part of my success can be attributed to my experience at BSS, in class and outside," Ms. Patten said at the BSS awards dinner where she was given this year's Distinguished Old Girl Award. "I am very pleased and proud to be in a position to inspire other young women to set and achieve their goals.'


Upper Canada College

Career notes: A plastic surgeon dual-certified in Canada and the United States, Cory Goldberg has advanced training in craniofacial plastic surgery from the University of Toronto and the University of Southern California. He specializes in facelifts and breast and body contouring surgeries at the clinic he established in Toronto seven years ago. He is also the medical director for Sanctuary Day Spas, and consulted with Valeant Canada and Johnson & Johnson Inc.

School recollections: "My time at Upper Canada College gave me outstanding academic experiences and skills that prepared me for undergraduate, medical and post-graduate education," Dr. Goldberg says. "The extracurricular exposure in arts and athletics have helped me to gain and enjoy a broad array of interests."


Havergal College

Career notes: The former model, talent manager and president of Siren Group Inc. founded the public relations agency specializing in the consumer marketing and lifestyle sectors in 2001. Susan Willemsen has more than 25 years of public relations, special events and marketing experience, and also worked as a model in Europe and Japan. She also worked in artist talent management, promotion and publicity in Britain. An inveterate foodie, she sits on the steering committee for the Terroir Symposium, for Canada's hospitality industry.

School recollections: "Being a part of the Havergal College community for seven years was an invaluable experience, from which I learned above all that women can – and will – achieve anything," Ms. Willemsen says. "Perseverance, strength, dedication, leadership, commitment, resourcefulness, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and experiences, honour, pride, excellence, a sense of competition, achievement, team-playing, inner strength, resilience, and a sense of class and elegance are all a part of the Havergal legacy."