BRITx Talks Event Adds New ‘Meaning’ to Albion Homecoming

October 25, 2017


A speaker giving a presentation.

Bonciel Griffin-Burress, ’97, speaks at Albion College’s BRITx Talks event at the Ludington Center in downtown Albion as part of Homecoming 2017.

Watch the Talks on the College’s YouTube channel

The theme was “Meaning” but they keyword was “opportunity” for Albion’s first BRITx Talks event, held October 20 as part of Homecoming 2017 festivities.

A rebellious student, a failed partnership, a lucrative-but-unfulfilling job, and a career-changing discovery made on an exercise bike—each gave the alumni presenters an unlikely opportunity to clarify the values and passions that have led to success.

“The topic was not the standard conversation about what someone does for their career, but it had more depth and helped students know that experienced professionals face the same struggles as they do,” said event organizer Troy Kase, director of the College’s Career and Internship Center.

Kase noted that the more personal topic may have had a positive impact on the student-alumni networking that followed the presentation. He said that Brad Rabquer, associate professor of biology and co-director of the Institute for Healthcare Professions, “told me that about 30 of their students attended BritX, and many talked to [orthodontist] Bonciel [Griffin-Burress, ’97] afterward. We will definitely host the event again.”

Some Talks Takeaways

“I didn’t know dentists were entrepreneurs by nature. In dental school, they don’t tell you how to be a businesswoman. They tell you, ‘Put braces on people and make them look like this.'”
Bonciel L. Griffin-Burress, ’97, recognized as one of “40 under-40 game changers in Chicago” by WVON. Griffin-Burress is one of very few African American women to privately own multiple orthodontic practices in the Chicago metropolitan area.

“I like to tell people, ‘Leap and your net will appear.’ I didn’t know anything about art or retail space, but by the end, I was the director and the owner [of a retail art space].’
John Burks, ’03, left the corporate world to become founder/creative director of Artist Central Exchange, a multi-use art and event space north of Chicago. He has done acting and screenwriting through an affiliation with the prestigious Second City, and produced the independent film Searching for Venice.

“I am a middle school principal, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not dealing with conflict. If you look at conflict as an opportunity to make a change, the power you can have to improve things for everybody is magical.”
David Turner, ’92, has a unique vision of local education and Albion/Marshall relations, as a graduate of Marshall High School and Albion College, former interim principal of Harrington Elementary School, and current principal of Marshall Middle School. Before jumping to administration, Turner taught German, health education and physical education.

“Photography has changed me as a person. This morning, as I drove my kids to school—because they missed the bus—instead of lecturing them about time management, we talked about how lovely the sunrise was going to be.”
Lisa Newland, ’97, has spent her career providing tax compliance, finance reporting, internal audit, litigation support, forensic accounting and other consulting services. She is a CPA and a Certified Fraud Examiner and has her own photography business.