The Alumni Way

About the Founder and Author of The Alumni Way

Dr Maria Gallo brings over 20 years of experience in higher education leadership roles, including as an alumni relations professional, manager and as an academic to The Alumni Way. She worked at the University of Toronto, University College Dublin and most recently at St Angela’s- National University of Ireland, Galway.

She is an expert alumni advisor for CERN and was recently appointed to the Alumni Association Board for her own alma mater the University of St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. She is a founding steering group member of Nexus, the network for social impact alumni networks and faculty of CASE- Council for Advancement and Support of Education- the international association for advancement professionals. 

Maria is also a Visiting Research Fellow with the Centre for Social Innovation at the Trinity Business School – Trinity College Dublin. She completed her doctorate at the University of Sheffield and since then has developed an extensive academic publication portfolio, some of the articles are available here.

In 2017 she founded KITE (Keep in Touch Education), working on alumni and diaspora strategy and engagement research projects worldwide. Her clients have included the American Association for the Advancement of Science, United Nations International Organization on Migration, along with governments, agencies, and universities around the world.

Most importantly, Maria believes in the power of alumni connections. She is immersed in her own alumni networks in Canada, Ireland, and the UK.

Be warned: meeting Maria means she is invariably going to ask you about your alumni status and how it can enhance your life! Driven by passion and curiosity, she is eager to help you maximize the potential of your alumni networks in your personal and professional life.

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My Story

I am an alum. My alumni status has pushed the boundaries of who I am, how I identify myself. I have created an enriching, international network that has enhanced all parts of my life over my lifetime to date. I am a proud, active alum with my alma maters, the universities I attended over the years. This boundary stretches to include all my shared experiences—sports teams, conferences, programme participation, awards and more.

As I discovered and researched the power of my own alumni connections, I realized that others could benefit from these communities in their own lives.

I am an alumni trailblazer. That’s why I wrote The Alumni Way. This is the start of a worldwide alumni movement, to embed alumni connection in policy, in our immediate thoughts and in our communities. My aim is to raise awareness to the world that after graduation, or after a shared experience, we all of us have a dynamic alumni network at our disposal, whether we know it or not.

I want everyone to recognise their alumni status offers lifelong value from their educational investment and shared experiences from life for life. To achieve this vision, I designed The Alumni Way as an enterprise with a distinct social purpose. The Alumni Way and its parent company KITE – Keep in Touch Education, offers thought leadership, strategic research expertise, education and resources for alumni, future alumni, governments, educational institutions, and other alma maters. I can often be found shouting to the rooftops about alumni. I find it is more effective to speak at events and engage with organizations to build alumni literacy to explore, share and make our lives better.

Everyone can be an alumni leader. Alumni leadership drawing on your learning from your shared experience. With over 20 years as a scholar, higher education manager and advancement professional, my own journey of alumni leadership started early.

And it is not only how much I have personally and professionally gained from my alumni connection. I generously give my time, talent, treasure, and ties too. I am on the Board of Alumni Association for the University of St Michael’s College – University of Toronto. I am an active eMentor with the University of Sheffield and the University of Victoria. I evaluate scholarship applications. I reconnected with a fellow Encounters with Canada alum recently to record a vlog on community.

Most importantly, everywhere I go and everyone I speak to from the airport security queue to a sushi bar to a night out with friends, I ask about alumni connection. I encourage people to leverage the connections they have already to enhance their own life and the lives of others.

Do you have an excellent alumni connection story? I’d love to hear from you! Contact me or use the hashtag #TheAlumniWay. Sign-up to my mailing list to get regular doses of alumni inspiration!

Don’t forget to follow Twitter and Instagram @alumniway and use the hashtag #thealumniway to share your fabulous alumni stories of celebration!

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