Alumni Information Series: Remaining Flexible in Your Career

An evening of sharing life lessons and career stories led to another successful St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Alumni Information Series on Wednesday, November 18.

Dennis Mills ’64, OSM, and Bill Rutsey ’65 joined the evening’s moderator, Matt Montemurro ’05, during an hour-long Zoom session. “Wednesday’s Alumni Information Series event showcased two alumni, Bill and Dennis, whose extensive careers and stories not only kept us entertained but taught us some life lessons that will not be forgotten,” says Montemurro who also serves as the Alumni Association Vice President.

The Zoom participants in the fourth edition of the SMCS Alumni Information Series.

Rutsey kicked off the evening and fourth event in the information series. “Looking at our introductions, you might think that Dennis and I had haphazardly staggered throughout our careers,” he says, explaining how it had been more to do with not knowing exactly what he wanted to do. “St. Mike’s equipped me for that journey, Teach me goodness, discipline, and knowledge, aren’t just words they are a pathway for life.”

The best advice Rutsey received was to build his own niche, not be afraid, and to trust himself. “You're going to have to reinvent yourself more than once in your life because the pace of change is so quick,” he says. “My advice is to keep your options as wide open as you can for as long as you can.”

Mills reflected that formation is the keyword to everything he does, “My life has been about formation, even to this day, of course from my parents, but also the Basilian Fathers, lay teachers, and experience that I had at St. Michael’s.”

SMCS alumnus Dennis Mills speaking at the Alumni Information Series event in 2020.

It was through the example of the Basilian Fathers, who dedicated their whole lives to teaching and coaching, which led Mills to live a life of service. It was the centrepiece of his life and helped him to focus on ‘who’ he wanted to work with.

The importance of service was instilled in Mills during an evening with his dad in Grade 9. His father helped a woman take out her garbage in front of Mills and his friends. Despite his embarrassment, he still remembers what his dad told him: “You will never be good in business, in life, unless you learn how to take out other people’s garbage.”

“It is the quality of your ability to serve that determines how well you do. If you are really going to be successful, even moderately successful, it is critical that you always lean to your strengths,” says Mills.

SMCS alumnus Aidan Bischoff asking a question at the Alumni Information Series event in 2020.

The evening concluded with a Q&A. Mills and Rutsey answered questions from participants and offered a recent graduate advice on how to connect and request mentorship while in university. Mills advised the student and everyone on the call that “you don’t get the business unless you ask for the business. Don’t be afraid to knock on the door and introduce yourself.”

First time Alumni Information Series participant, David Bellmore ’95, when asked about the evening says it was “wonderful to hear the incredibly significant role the SMCS Basilians and lay teachers played in the formation of the character of these two gentlemen. I appreciated the interesting stories from their careers, the great memories from their days at SMCS, and the advice that was shared.”

Learn more about the Alumni Information Series including how to get involved in upcoming events.

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