Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new CNSM spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law.
Evanston mom of two cuties and accountant, Alana Obaseki, had spent nearly her entire life on the East Coast. Born and raised in Fairfield, CT, Alana didn’t go far from home to attend the University of Connecticut, New York City for her first job and marriage to her husband, Thomas. When a professional opportunity came up in the Chicago area that she just couldn’t pass up, Alana and her family chose Evanston to settle into. “I love the North Shore because, in many ways, it reminds me of where I grew up … the beach, the kind people, and the college vibe,” explains Alana. And when it came to choosing a school for her children, Roycemore School was a no brainer. In this Meet a Mom interview, Alana explains why she and her husband chose Roycemore School, and what sets this private PreK through 12 educational institution apart from the rest. Welcome, Alana!
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
Hello North Shore Moms! My name is Alana Obaseki. I was born and raised in Fairfield, CT a flourishing suburban town complete with a beach, two universities, and a short train ride to New York City. I was fortunate to have a privileged and happy childhood that culminated with attending the University of Connecticut where I majored in Accounting and received an offer to work for Ernst & Young after graduation. I then lived in New York City for almost 15 years where I discovered myself, learned that I didn’t want to be an accountant for the rest of my life, experienced 9/11, and met my husband. A professional opportunity brought our family to Evanston, which is new for me after spending so many years on the East Coast. However, I love the North Shore because, in many ways, it reminds me of where I grew up … the beach, the kind people, and the college vibe.
Tell us about your family and feel free to brag away!
My family includes my husband Thomas, our 8-year-old son, and our 5-year-old daughter. My children are everything that I always strive to be. Both embrace who they are and who they are becoming. They are proud of their unique combination of strengths and are curious about the world around them. My kids are quite involved with the Evanston community beginning with our extended family at Roycemore where they go to school. Additionally, they are involved with swim lessons at the YWCA, art classes at the Evanston Art Center (where I sit on the Board of Directors), and our participation at the Piven Theatre. We are also a big soccer family and both of my kids play for Team Evanston. I guess that makes me a soccer mom, which I never thought I would be.
What are one or two fun facts to know about you?
Fun fact #1: I got my MBA at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and during that time, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. That experience influenced my life in so many ways and I would encourage anyone to travel to South Africa and experience everything the country has to offer.
Fun fact #2: Growing up and as a young adult, I wasn’t what you would call a creative or artistic person. I never indulged the right side of my brain, leaning more into my analytical and math-oriented strengths. However, after I had kids, I discovered the enjoyment and benefits of coloring, painting, drawing, and more. I’ve painted a couple of pieces that are hanging in our home and strive to become a novice collector.
What are your favorite North Shore area places, spaces, and eats to frequent?
We can walk to the shops on Central Street from our house, so we love to go to Hewn for breakfast, Foodstuffs for lunch and Comida for dinner and drinks. Like many people, we were attracted to the north shore for the beaches, so we spend as much time as we can at the lake. Evanson also has a great selection of parks for young kids and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
What gets you through a tough day (ie. lots of coffee, yoga, meditation, wine, a good book, etc)?
I wish my answer was lots of water, regular exercise, and healthy eating. The real answer is that I am lucky to have an incredible group of girlfriends, near and far, most of whom are moms themselves, to lean on for support and provide an ear to listen no matter the topic. Thanks, ladies!
What is your favorite mantra to live by?
I can’t say that I have a mantra, but I try to remember to practice empathy and compassion, both for myself and for others.
That’s as good as any mantra for sure!
You recently moved to the North Shore from New York City with your family. Please introduce us to Roycemore School. Why did you choose this school for your children?
Before moving to Evanston, we did a fair amount of research on education options for our children, from public schools to private education. We were beyond happy that our children got accepted to Roycemore, a private PreK through 12 educational institution located in the heart of Evanston. Roycemore is more than a school, it’s a family and a community that shares similar values. Diversity, integrity, respect, and compassion. I know my kids are getting a great education, but I also know that Roycemore is helping them to become good people who will impact the world in positive ways.
How did you learn about Roycemore School and what do you personally love about this school?
We were initially attracted to Roycemore for two reasons. To start, Roycemore has had a reputation for educational excellence for over 100 years. With the intentionally small class size and low student-to-faculty ratio, combined with the experiential learning opportunities, we were confident that our kids would receive a great education. Equally as important, we wanted a school that embraced diversity in all definitions of the word. Roycemore is the #1 most diverse school in IL and lives diversity, equity and inclusion each and every day.
What else makes Roycemore stand out from other day schools in the area?
There are so many things that make Roycemore unique. The faculty are more than teachers. They are mentors, guides, leaders, and friends to our children as well as to parents. The teachers encourage students to explore, discover, and develop themselves, their talents, and their passions. Roycemore’s intentionally small size ensures that all students are seen and known as individuals in a physically and psychologically safe environment. Students are challenged where they excel while being supported where they may need it. Teachers differentiate in order to appropriately challenge students with the support of an on-site Gifted Coordinator, dedicated learning specialists in each division, and School Social Worker.
What’s next for Roycemore?
We’re excited about the future opening of the Innovation Center. Roycemore is in the process of renovating a 6,000 sq. ft. space on campus to include additional classrooms, community gathering space for students, and labs that will support robotics, multimedia, and more. The space will allow students PK-12 to explore their passions and develop new skills that prepare them for a successful future.
What’s the best way for families to learn more about Roycemore for their children?
We hope you’ll join us at one of our admissions events so you can experience the school, meet current families, staff and educators. But if none of those dates work for you, call Roycemore at Phone (847) 866-6055 and they’ll set something up with you. Join us!
About our Meet of Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].