Bryan Sise, Class of 1993
Bryan Sise '93 leads the Product Marketing team at Twitter, based in San Francisco. He and his team manage marketing programs to drive businesses' adoption of, and success with, Twitter's ad products. Bryan earlier co-founded Dynamic Signal and Athletic Motion, scaled the marketing function at Adify and Lithium, and completed the Experienced Commercial Leadership Program at GE. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, an MA in Organization Development from Columbia University and a BA in Psychology from Reed College.
I wanted to respond to Dave Power's article in the Bar Fork Bulletin
, asking us to consider what we found invaluable from our time at CRMS, and what students today need for the world as it may be tomorrow.
CRMS's Value for Me
I've lived in 15 cities across every region of the United States, and I've found new adventures and a broader perspective in each place. But with every passing year, I find more value in family, the outdoors, and the simple values that CRMS helped instill in me. CRMS gave me a compass that continues to point me toward what's most important. The School means these things for me:
Togetherness and Possibility.
With its smallness and its sense of humility and collaboration, CRMS rescued me from the cynicism that high school students can develop as they navigate the cliquish pecking order of a conventional high school, and renewed my excitement about what's possible in my life.
Membership in the Crew. Kurt Hahn said "In life, we are not passengers, but members of the crew." CRMS, through its emphasis on service to the School and the community, taught me to get involved, put the work in, and take ownership of outcomes.
Reflection and Growth in a Place of Beauty.
By providing me with the tools to explore new activities and realms of thought, and by surrounding me with the inspiration of the Roaring Fork Valley, CRMS helped me build a stronger sense of self and a commitment to ongoing personal growth.
What Students Today Need
Here's a challenge that CRMS faces today: how to continue to bring students a pastoral experience with the opportunity to work with their hands and be close to the earth, while at the same time preparing students for rapid technological change, fierce career competition and the curve-balls life is likely to throw at them?
I don't think these two goals are mutually exclusive. CRMS should continue the activities that shape its uniqueness and reflect its values, from ranch crew to river watch, from rock climbing to blacksmithing, from Interim to Senior Project. CRMS can also provide students with experiences that build life skills: knowledge and abilities desirable for successful participation in everyday life. These life skills include career navigation, personal finance, techniques for work efficiency, emotional intelligence in relationships, resilience in the face of adversity, and many more.
Life skills are practical.
CRMS's philosophy is above all practical and pragmatic. The Holdens were greatly influenced by pragmatic thinkers like John Dewey, who said "There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract."
In my conversations with Jeff Leahy's team, I've learned that CRMS educators have put several life skills development programs in place since the time I was at the School. I applaud this continued evolution of the curriculum, and I'm excited to see CRMS continue to innovate in secondary education while preserving the fundamental values of the School.
Conrad Anker ‘81
Conrad Anker is a climber’s climber, at home on a faraway alpine wall or the sparkling ice of his home canyon, Hyalite, located in the Gallatin Range of southwestern Montana. Over decades in the mountains, he has come to value the rarified air of Antarctica, the Himalaya and Montana equally; inspired by the value of immersion in other ecosystems and cultures, he’s become more fully enmeshed in both the physical and communal landscape of his hometown of Bozeman.
Conrad came to climbing by way of his family, learning a deep appreciation for the outdoors from his California childhood, an appreciation and respect that has deepened as climbing took him around the world.
That journey has taken him from the northern realms of Alaska and Baffin Island to the farthest southern reaches of Patagonia and Antarctica, where in 1997 he, with Alex Lowe and Jon Krakauer, climbed Rakekniven, a 2,500-foot wall in Queen Maud Land. That climb led to both a film and magazine piece by the National Geographic, an organization that Conrad continues to collaborate with.
In Patagonia, Conrad climbed the three towers of the Cerro Torre group, ascending new routes on Torre Egger and Cerro Standhardt. Across the globe in Pakistan's Karakorum, Conrad climbed the west face of Latok II via the route "Tsering Mosong," Balti for “long life.” For perspective, the route begins at the altitude of Denali’s summit, then climbs 26 vertical pitches before topping at 23,342 feet. In Pakistan, Conrad and rock legend Peter Croft climbed Spansar Peak, a first ascent by way of a 7,000-foot ridge the pair ascended in a day with minimal gear.
In May 2012, Conrad summited Everest for the third time, leading an educational and research-based expedition to the Southeast Ridge with The North Face, National Geographic, The Mayo Clinic and Montana State University. That summit came without supplemental oxygen, a distinction claimed only by the world’s top climbers.
Thirteen years prior, in May 1999, Conrad found the body of George Mallory, the preeminent Everest explorer of the 1920s. The disappearance of Mallory and Sandy Irvine on their summit bid of June of 1924 is one of climbing's great mysteries. Conrad's discovery and analysis of the find as a member of the Mallory & Irvine Research expedition shed new light on the pioneering climbs of early expeditions. Eight years later, in conjunction with a feature film about the disappearance of George Mallory called “The Wildest Dream,” Conrad reached the summit of Everest for the second time.
Although he’s been feted and recognized internationally – along with partners Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk -- for the May 2011 ascent of the Shark's Fin on 20,700-foot Mount Meru, Conrad took equal pleasure in his recent summit of Denali with his oldest son, Max. Mindful and appreciative of the beauty and grandeur of both places, he remains grounded by and connected with the partners who give such trips the full measure of value. The Shark's Fin, an iconic spire that repelled some of the world’s best alpinists for three decades, fulfilled the dream of Conrad’s mentor, Mugs Stump, whose life convinced Conrad that life in the mountains was a life worthwhile. When the trio reached the final pitch, Chin urged Conrad to lead the final pitch. He demurred, offering the honor to Jimmy.
“The Shark’s Fin had been Mugs’ dream and then, for a while, mine,” Anker wrote in Alpinist Magazine. “… It was already time to pass on that metaphysical ball of knowledge to someone younger.
As captain of the The North Face Athlete Team, Conrad has something of a pulpit, and he’s quick to use it, urging, for instance, climbers to be boots on the ground in observing the changes wrought by man-made climate change. He’s also civically active at home, serving on the boards of the Montana State University Leadership Institute, Protect Our Winters, Bozeman Ice Tower Foundation, Gallatin County Fair Board and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.
“I’ve learned that these things—my family, my passion for climbing and for being a force for good in the local community and in the larger community—are the source of happiness for me,” he says. “I know that life will keep changing and keep throwing new challenges my way, but my intent is always to embrace them and explore them and find a way to turn them into an experience that’s rewarding. Even when we’re suffering, whether it’s in the mountains or because of something going on at home, trying situations are a way to understand our human condition. You have to try to rise above the adversity. I like doing that.”