Jamie McLane

Life is an adventure – – physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Having grown up sailing (now its model Soling racing), served on 2 ships in the Navy, and lived on our own trawler for 9 years, I have always been drawn to Mark Twain’s message: “Throw off your lines, leave your safe harbors, catch the currents and the winds. Dream. Explore. Discover.” Having lived this adventure actively, I hope I have helped others create transformative lives for themselves and others by my example.
Let the sun shine on others. It would be easy to say my life revolved around my several successes in corporate America, but what was most important to me was the opportunity to build strong, lasting, creative teams and mentor others to create their own successes. Several of those mentored were women before it was fashionable. They became major leaders on their own.
Know and follow your True North. My life’s guidelines were inherited from my parents and strengthened through life’s opportunities and challenges. My mom taught me many lessons, from her own experiences, about doing the right thing, even if it results in personal setbacks. My Dad pointed out to me one day when I was 8 or 9: “You too will look into the mirror each day while shaving. Make sure you can look at yourself and say to yourself I have been honest in all my dealings and relationships”. There are no “fuzzies”.
Nature can be your classroom. 45 years ago, I stepped out into nature’s wilderness and began a lifelong involvement with Outward Bound that would lead to many adventures, create lifelong friendships, unlock my hidden ability to write Haiku poetry, help me to understand the power of experiential education, and encourage me to make a difference in other people’s lives. I put together and led many rafting invitational expeditions down most of the major rivers in the West, kayaked in Alaska and Maine, trekked up to 19,000’ feet on the Tibet side of Everest, led the 1st urban expedition in Philadelphia, and learned to appreciate and value the quiet beauty of natural surroundings, even butterflies landing softly on flower petals.
Make a commitment to give back with time and resources. Amongst hospital boards, church leadership groups, and other community organizations, the most meaningful to me was when I chaired the national Outward Bound USA board for several years, and then worked with the nascent Philadelphia Outward Bound School (POBS) to bring expeditionary learning to inner-city public-school students. With the newly built Outward Bound-Audubon Discovery Center, in which classmate Joe Manko and I played leading roles, and the McLane Family Challenge Course, on an abandoned reservoir in the middle of Philadelphia, we now bring the OB pedagogy (“there is more to us than we know; if we can only be made to see it, perhaps we will be unwilling to settle for less”) to over 5,000 Philly students annually. They stay in school, become community leaders and many go on to college. POBS has become the model for urban based Outward Bound programs.
Spend quality time with your loved ones. They and you are not going to be around forever. Life took full shape for me when I met Meg in 1999. Together we have found a lasting and deeper emotional and spiritual side of ourselves. I have learned the value of just “being” and not having “to do” all the time. She and I have made a major commitment to my 3 independent sons and 8 grandchildren, who broaden and enrich our lives daily, even though they live in CT, CA, and WA – – thank heavens for Zoom, FaceTime, and cell phones with good cameras.
Relationships enrich your life. A very fundamental part of my legacy to myself are the many Yale classmates who have become good friends, particularly my roommates (the Branford Boys), fellow Whiffenpoofs, and others who enjoy fly fishing, travel adventures, and organizing and leading so many Y’61 activities. The rich tapestry of Meg’s and my friends has made my, and our, life so interesting, rewarding, and fun.