Alumni Profiles

Heather (Mann) Haigh ’93  

“Inspiring joy in The Art and Science of Public Speaking

Heather (Mann) Haig ’93 attended Albert College for three years as a boarding student, graduating in 1993.  During her time at the College, Heather was actively involved in the Arts including drama, jazz band and choir. As an alumna, Heather has continued to stay connected and support the school in a number of ways. Heather is a past president of the Alumni Association and recipient of the 2012 Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award. 

As the Founder and Principal of Aspiring Growth, a professional coaching and training company, Heather brings over 20 years’ experience focused on the value of extraordinary client service, demonstrating value, and the science and art of sales. She spent 18 years with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Wealth Management in various leadership roles, assisting wealth professionals and managers to achieve business excellence, before she launched Aspiring Growth in 2016.

Heather is an accomplished speaker. She has delivered hundreds of presentations for various audiences, including wealth professionals, business owners, accountants and lawyers. Her signature style is a unique blend of knowledge through stories with just enough humour to capture the audience, then leaving them with a compelling call to action. As a veteran Toastmaster, Heather has written and delivered countless keynotes, workshops and competition speeches.  She has competed at the district level in Toastmasters’ International Speech Contest three times, with a first place finish in 2005 and second place finish in 2013. Heather has mentored and coached fellow Toastmasters, business owners, and wealth professionals in order to enhance their public speaking skills.

Heather now lives in Toronto with her husband, Jason, and their three creative, articulate and aspiring boys.

We were pleased to welcome Heather back to Albert to run workshops titled The Art and Science of Public Speaking. She presented four workshops tailored to groups of students in Grades 7 and 8, Grades 9 and 10, Grade 11 and English Language Learners (ELL). Heather spoke passionately about the joy of public speaking and gave students advice about many aspects of preparing speeches such as selecting a topic that you are passionate about, writing and editing techniques and tips for delivering an engaging presentation.

After a day of working with our students Heather said, “This was such an inspiring and energizing day for me, and such a gift to be able to give back to a school that means so much to me.” 

Craig Currah ’97  

“The power of the word yet

Alumnus Craig Currah attended Albert College as a boarding student for five years graduating in 1997.  While at Albert Craig was involved in the Arts including visual arts as well as several Senior School productions. After graduating Craig attended York University in Toronto, Ontario where he completed his Honours degree in Fine Art, specializing in Photography. Craig later completed two certificates in Horticultural Therapy at the Royal Botanical Gardens as well as post-graduate studies in Therapeutic Recreation through a partnership between Georgian College and Sunnybrook Hospital. After finishing a placement at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Craig transitioned into his current role as recreation therapist and caseworker in the Partial Hospitalization Program at CAMH.

As a recreational therapist, Craig has presented at the provincial level, was keynote speaker at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, served on advisory committees for the re-development of CAMH and received the Edward Tremain Award for Clinical Excellence at CAMH in 2014. Craig is also a speaker for Beyond the Cuckoo's Nest, CAMH's oldest educational outreach program, speaking to high school students across Ontario about mental health, personal wellness and stigma.

Craig joined us at Albert to speak to Senior School students, faculty and staff about the importance of personal wellness, support and understanding vocabulary surrounding mental health and mental health issues. Junior School Principal Crystal Shea had this to say about Craig’s workshop;

“One aspect of his talk that resonated with many of us was the power of the word yet. We often tend to focus on what we cannot do. That feeling of anxiety and fear of failure sets a negative tone and can at times be paralyzing. However, if we simply tag on the word yet to our sentence, it can become very positive and empowering. Simply - I do not know how to do that…yet!” Everyone learned a lot during Craig’s visit and discussions on such an important topic. 

Phil Pallen ’06  

“Find a career you are passionate about”

Originally from Stirling, Ontario, Phil Pallen ’06 attended Albert College for six years. During this time, he was actively involved in the Arts, a member of the Alpine Ski Team and, in his final year, was the Head Prefect. At Convocation he received the Marsh Award, presented to the finest representative male student. After Albert, Phil studied at the University of Western Ontario and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts, Media, Information and Technoculture. Phil later completed his Master of Science in Entertainment Business at Full Sail University. 

After university, Phil searched for a place where he could use his business sense and continue to be creative, deciding that working for himself was the answer.  “Phil Pallen Collective was created to fulfill a need. People need a brand and companies need to show more personality,” explains Phil. He now calls Santa Monica, California home and travels back and forth between offices in Santa Monica and London, England. Phil is a brand strategist, speaker and author of a book titled Shut Up and Tweet. He has appeared as an expert on television shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight and he has led more than 200 branding and social media projects around the world. You've probably seen his clients making deals on Shark Tank, advising country leaders, strutting their stuff on Dancing with the Stars, winning a Nobel Peace Prize and changing lives with incredible business ideas. Phil shares his branding systems as a keynote speaker at conferences around the world, such as iMedia Summit Japan and New Media Europe. Always looking for a new and exciting challenge, Phil has launched a new project called Phil Pallen Academy, an online learning platform where anyone can learn from Phil and his team about creating your own brand and the value of social media in branding.  

We were fortunate to have Phil join us for an afternoon to speak about his life after Albert College. He offered advice about exploring options to find a career that you are passionate about and spoke about creating Phil Pallen Collective. He answered some insightful questions from our students and enjoyed visiting with faculty, staff and students after his presentation.