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Alumni Spotlight: Adam Spector '86

Chair of Shipley's Board of Trustees: Adam Spector ’86

—By Kristina M. Jenkins
Now in his second year serving as Chair of Shipley’s Board of Trustees, Adam Spector ’86 has bright hopes for the future, while always considering the lessons he mastered during his time at Shipley.
“Shipley had a significant role in shaping my perspective on the world,” says Spector, “and on giving me the tools and capabilities to succeed both personally and professionally.”
In his professional life, Spector is a managing director at Brandywine Global Investment Management, leading his firm’s marketing, sales, and client services efforts and chairing the firm’s operating committee. Brandywine Global offers an array of investment management services, and currently manages about $45 billion in global assets. “A big part of my job is communications and reaching across cultural divides, which are skills I learned at Shipley,” Spector says. “Shipley provided the strongest possible foundation for me to analyze problems, learn new material, engage in intellectual debate and persuade others.”
As the Board Chair, Spector taps those same skills, bringing the Board together to advance projects ranging from capital improvements to technological initiatives. Drawing particularly on his capacity for communication, Spector does his best to set strategic objectives and keep all members informed. “The most important thing for a chair to do is to make sure that there are always clear lines of communication,” he says, “that there’s a sense of defined goals, and that individual trustees understand and respect their role as fiduciaries.” There is significant discussion and debate among the Board, which is made up of a wide mix of alumni, friends, and parents of varying skill sets, backgrounds, and professions. With so much diversity, there are invariably many opinions to consider at every step, but it’s a task Adam is equal to and enjoys. “My greatest challenge and reward is managing to get those 30 or so bright, independent-minded individuals to forge a consensus on any particular question,” he says.
Last year, Spector, the Board, and Shipley staff and faculty came together to achieve huge advancements, successfully completing the first phase of a capital campaign, and raising more than $20 million to complete multiple infrastructure projects, including new sports fields and a parking garage. Now, the Board is looking towards finalizing plans for the next stage of campus improvements, slated to include significant renovations to the Main building and the construction of a new Student Commons. “Any time we talk about the developments, the excitement in the room is palpable,” says Spector.
Moving forward, Spector is also looking towards helping advance Shipley’s plans to remain relevant in the digital age. “We’re working hard to make sure the School stays up to date in terms of technology, while at the same time honoring and respecting the traditional strength of the School, which is the close personal relationships between the teachers and the students,” he says.
But to Spector, it’s more than just one aspect of Shipley’s principles that furthers its mission of excellence. “What’s magical about Shipley is not any particular class or particular teacher, but the fact that learning is so well integrated into everything that the School does, from volunteer activities to sports to music,” he says. That unified approach at school helps alumni achieve success throughout their lives, as it has for Spector. Reflecting back, he says “Shipley prepared me for the rest of my life.”
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.