Our Parents Leadership Council Co-Chairs for 2014–2015 are Cindy and Bret Clemons, P'16.
Cindy and Bret Clemons with their daughters, Alexis '16 and Lauren.
Bret and Cindy Clemons are New Hampshire natives who have lived and worked all over the United States and currently reside in Windham, NH. They have two daughters. Alexis is a junior at Emerson, studying marketing communications with a minor in political communication. Their daughter Lauren just entered her freshman year at Boston University.
Bret is a business executive who currently serves as vice president of consumer goods company Gemline. In addition to serving as PLC Co-Chair, he is involved in other boards and associations. Cindy is a second grade teacher in the Windham School District and is involved in many local charities and initiatives. They joined the PLC as a way to stay involved during their daughter's college experience and to learn more about the Emerson community without being “helicopter parents.” They consider the PLC an ideal vehicle for their involvement and to help Emerson achieve its mission.
“It is an investment,” Bret says. “It’s an investment in her. And I wanted to see if there was a way that I could contribute to what the school was trying to do. So, a little bit of altruism there, but also a good thing to make that degree worth more and more as time goes on.”
And as time does go on, Bret and Cindy are still investing, becoming more and more involved with the PLC each year. Both have participated in Welcome Call Campaigns and Thank-a-Thons, and in 2013 Bret took on the role of PLC Fundraising Chair. Now, as PLC co-chairs, the Clemons play an even bigger role in helping Emerson grow.
Bret Clemons P'16
Recently, you played a large role in our Summer Parent Partner Call campaign. What was it like and what did people enjoy about it?
It was nice to get together with other parents, so that was good. A chance to meet other folks. And on the calls themselves it was very interesting to just engage with parents. They always had questions. I think people assume when you’re calling, that you know more than they do, so there were a lot of questions that we did our best to answer. But Mandy, the Parent Programs Assistant Director, and other people were around to really kind of help. And then to just talk about the fact that there is a need that some students have for some financial aid, and engaging people to say hey, this is a good investment too. Because it helps the school. We need the school to be diverse and we need all kinds of people with different backgrounds to be here. I think that resonated with people.
If people want to be part of the PLC but don’t live in the area or don’t want to commit financially, how can they do that?
Well one of the big ones is hosting events like the Summer Welcome Receptions. If they want to be involved they can host an event or they can make phone calls for us. And both of those just require time, more than anything, rather than financial resources. And anybody that wants to figure out a way to help be involved, and if they are in the area, there’s plenty to do, whether it’s manning a booth or being involved in Family Weekend.
Parents already give a lot of themselves by preparing their students and guiding them through the college experience. Why go further to support Emerson with time and money?
Most parents are going to understand how competitive the world is in this day and age. Thirty years ago, a college degree was all you needed and it gave you a nice leg up in the world. Now, your college degree is equally important, but where that degree is from is critical. And you want to be investing in a place that is growing and its reputation is growing, and I think that involvement, whether it be time or money, helps make Emerson a better place, which is going to help your student get started in life. And I think that’s critical.
Of course, it's great for students and Emerson as a whole, but what can the PLC do for parents?
The Parents Leadership Council can be a resource for people, no matter what year their student is or whether they’ve just transferred in. They can explore the site, explore the resources, and use it to get questions answered.