Alumna Renée A. Mayo ’93, Planned Giving Officer at George School

What impact did Oliver Scholars have on you as a student?
Oliver Scholars helped to shape the trajectory of my life by opening new doors for me. For a young girl from Queensbridge Houses, the idea of attending a private independent school followed by a prestigious college was unimaginable. But Oliver afforded me the opportunity to attend some of the best educational institutions in the country. My education and networks laid the groundwork for my professional success as an educator, lawyer, and development officer. Oliver showed me how to give back to my community and pay my success forward by helping others. The gift of service is one of the greatest rewards I received from Oliver, which is why I’m excited to be involved with the organization today.

What is your favorite memory from your time as a Scholar?
By far it was all the time I spent with my fellow Scholars. Whether it was hanging out at Oliver’s office, attending parties at Columbia University, traveling on college trips, or going to the annual family day picnic, being among my fellow Scholars always felt like home to me.

What experience shaped you the most in your life?
The four years I spent at George School, a Quaker day and boarding high school in Newtown, PA, were transformative. It was here that I learned to “let my life speak.” I challenged myself academically, explored my creative passions, and discovered my authentic self. I found a safe, nurturing, and supportive space at George School in which I could experiment, fail, learn, and grow as a young person. When I graduated, I was a confident, self-assured, and grounded young woman who was ready and prepared to make a difference in the world.

What has been the best career advice you have received?
The first piece of advice came when I re-entered the working world after completing my law degree: “Don’t imitate others. Create your own pathway to success.”

The second piece of (very practical) advice was given to me when I started my new position as the Planned Giving Officer at George School: “Read the First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter.”

What do you enjoy most about your work as a Planned Giving Officer?
It is so exciting to learn about donors’ interests and motivations and to help them plan a future gift that is both meaningful to them and impactful for the school. There is great satisfaction in knowing that I’m helping to ensure the financial well-being of my alma mater for future generations of George School students.

What are three adjectives to describe your life as of current?
Authentic. Purposeful. Rewarding.