Building Bridges 2024

This year’s student-led Building Bridges program actively engaged the Upper School community in learning experiences that support self-awareness, curiosity and empathy, all behaviors that build community and connection. This year’s theme was “Vulnerability: Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.” Vulnerability is a person’s choice to fully engage and be seen during challenging moments and emotional exposure. Vulnerability is about opening up, being authentic and embracing uncertainty, which is why it can sometimes be difficult. But being vulnerable is also an opportunity for innovation, creativity and positive change that creates space for everyone to feel like they can be their full selves.
The keynote speaker, Marra B. Gad, held a conversation with our Grade 9 -12 girls, as well as with parents and the larger community the night before, where she read an excerpt from her award-winning book The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl. She spoke about identity, vulnerability and how she came to write her book. A grateful child of adoption, Marra spoke about her transracial adoption in 1970, and her experiences being Black and Ashkenazi Jewish through the lens of her memoir and life experiences.
As president of Egad! Productions, Marra oversees the development and production of scripted television series and films. She is an award-winning author, a speaker and independent writer/producer. She holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MA in Jewish History from Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University. Deeply committed to expanding and exploring the notion of belonging across multiple spectrums, Marra was a member of Soho House International’s inaugural Inclusivity Board and a proud recipient of the 2022 Women of Reform Judaism’s Women of Empowerment Award. This event was made possible by Baldwin's Diversity Equity and Inclusion Endowment and The Ruthi and Ben Cohen Family (P ’27, ’26).
While students were working in their student-led workshops, faculty and staff were invited to attend an interactive professional development session focused on class and socioeconomic differences. Participants spent time examining first memories, the understanding of class and wealth, and exploring how to practice awareness and inclusion. The session was led by Shane Lloyd, a global diversity and inclusion practitioner with extensive experience in higher education, public health, tech and non-profit organizations.
Shane integrates research across behavioral economics, psychology, organizational behaviors, sociology and public health with a primary focus on race and socioeconomic class. As the Chief Diversity Officer, Shane leads the firm-wide diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategy and advises executive leadership at Baker Tilly. Prior to this role, he worked at Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer and Global DEI teams. Additionally, he’s held positions at Brown and Yale University. In 2022, Shane was named to the Washington Business Journal’s 40 under 40 List. Shane’s work and insights have been featured in Insider, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg and a Netflix documentary. He holds a Master of Public Health degree from Brown University and a Bachelor’s in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University. Outside of work, Shane sits on the Racial Equity and Social Justice Advisory Committee for Montgomery County of Maryland.