June 23, 2008
Alumni make the connection
By eric rangus
What did you do for your summer vacation? Did you go home? That’s what more than 100 alumni did the weekend of June 13–15.
“Home,” of course, was their alma mater, Emory. And the occasion was Emory Alumni Leadership Weekend: Building the Network, an ambitious Emory Alumni Association effort to bring together many of its most engaged volunteer leaders for three days’ worth of high-level education, conversation and fun.
“The sessions were informative and will help in our planning,” said Tiffany Wollin ’97B, a volunteer leader for the EAA’s Alumnae and Women of Emory interest group in New York. “The opportunity to network with other alumni leaders was very beneficial. The conference enabled conversation that has been long coming and will have positive results for the future.”
The conference combined the regular summer meeting of the Emory Alumni Board with a gathering of EAA regional chapter leaders who came from as far away as Seattle and 12 states to attend.
Building the Network was split into two tracks suited to each group with a variety of mixed programming to spice up the schedule. EAB members conducted their standard committee meetings, and the regional chapter leaders attended a variety of breakout sessions. These focused on alumni activities they could hold in their areas and outlined marketing, strategic planning and management techniques to help them not only encourage more alumni to get involved in those programs, but also make them more enjoyable.
That’s what made the social programming that broke up the business side of the weekend — a New Orleans-themed social at the School of Medicine, and “The Big Finale Network,” which mixed poetry, music and Carlos Museum exhibit tours along with the drinks and the mingling — so important. Underlying the cocktail small talk were the essential connections being that made all the effort worthwhile. Many e-mail addresses were exchanged and ideas floated.
“I had several conversations with regional chapter leaders who expressed their excitement about meeting board members,” said EAB President Dusty Porter ’85C.
“Just like the title of the conference implies, the EAA’s goal was to bring together our alumni leaders and build the alumni network,” said Allison Dykes, vice president for alumni relations. “Our alumni network is already strong, but like any organization, it can grow stronger, and this conference was just another step — and a highly successful one from all indications — in that long but very fulfilling process.”