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Still an alumni romantic, fostering a growth mindset for/as alumni

Dear Friends,

I write to you this week en route to CERN for their signature alumni weekend, Third Collisions, where I am part of a career development panel. One of the key themes of our session is fostering the growth mindset as we navigate our lives as alumni. 

A concept developed by Professor Carol Dweck, the growth mindset focuses on hard work and effort towards life success. Setbacks and failures, Dweck contends, are all part of a wider learning experience. 

Are there ways we can foster our (alumni) growth mindset? 

In the past during #LoveAlumni celebrations I promote my contention as an alumni romantic.  While it is easy to romanticize alumni engagement, we also need to consider alumni sense of belonging (see Noah Drezner and Oren Pizmony-Levy’s article linking sense of belonging and all kinds of pre-philanthropic action, including volunteering). I see this as a cascade effect: reflection on one’s student experience, building the growth mindset (i.e. learning from this experience, good and bad) and then building a sense of belonging leading to the potential for alumni engagement. 

The question remains: How do we create opportunities for reflection for our students and alumni so that they can consider their experience, and build their growth mindset muscles?!

This week I leave all of you with one simple challenge: reflect on your own student and alumni experience. What can you learn about yourself from this experience – good, bad, positive, negative, transformative. Start with your own growth mindset heavy lifting before trying to help others do the same. 

The underpinning of The Alumni Way book is based on honing the growth mindset. This is one of the best ways to #LoveAlumni: offer them spaces to become growth minded. Check out The Alumni Way Workbook to offer students/alumni a tool for this work (and it’s a free download!). Networking online workshops and The Alumni Hour are also ways we are trying to support alumni to reach their full potential. 

I am curious to see how CERN Alumni embrace our session – I will report back next week. If you would like to explore more growth-minded activities with and for alumni (and alumni-facing professionals!) book a Discovery Call here.

With global alumni love, 


Quote from the book

“The growth mindset focuses on process not outcome…By investing in the right strategies and hard work, our alumni capital can be the platform to our own growth.”

The Alumni Way, p. 23-24

Photo below: Don’t get snowed under by engagement metrics. #LoveAlumni is a human endeavour, building growth-minded alumni offers our alumni (and ourselves!) with a lifelong strategy to battle all weathers our career – and life- throw at us!