Curious about The Alumni Way traits? While the book presents the traits of  Reflection – Curiosity – Passion – Generosity for alumni directly, this series of weekly blog posts focuses on how they can be adapted for energizing, effective alumni relations practice. 

Earlier this month, I dusted off  the suitcases for my first work related international business trip in two years. This is certainly a time for reflection. It’s a time to take stock of the learning during this pandemic period especially for alumni relations. Reflection can be taken in three ways:

  • Alumni Relations in the Pandemic Reflection: Let’s reflect on the disruption to the annual alumni relations cycle starting in March 2020. I wrote about the Alumni Relations Pivot– highlight some small scale research I did that showed how swiftly action was taken to support alumni in new ways. A quote:

Alumni relations stepped up and delivered high-quality programming

with ample creativity and, in many cases, little resources. Take some

time to recharge and celebrate as an alumni relations team.”

  • Values Reflection: My last work-related trip was to deliver a keynote address for the CASE Working with Volunteers Conference in Manchester (UK). Here’s a little synopsis from the event where I highlight another sense of reflection: how our alumni embody the values of the institution we serve. This is especially true in our alumni volunteers. A quote:

“We should leverage, promote and strategically remind the key

decision-makers in our institutions that our global alumni

volunteers are the embodiment of our institution around the world.”

  • Reflection- The Alumni Way: One of the key traits of savvy alumni from The Alumni Way book is reflection. In her popular podcast, A Dash of SALT, Dr Shelli Ann Garland asked me a question about my book (and it was a first!): Why do you start with reflection? She’s right. Usually, we think about reflection as a after-event activity. My challenge in the book is for people to reflect on their university story- their experience- as a growth-minded, learning experience. This way we are well-positioned to be open to lifelong opportunities at that same university—including a lifetime of alumni engagement. A book quote:

“Our challenge is to reflect on how to participate in this ecosystem.

As with any ecosystem, without participation from one part—in this

case alumni—it throws the entire system out of balance.”

Your Challenge: How are you actively reflecting on your alumni work? Alumni relations is ofter an active do-do-do activity. The pandemic period heightened this constantly active way of working. As we enter a new era of alumni relations, it’s time to reflect. Celebrate your best work, most inspiring alumni and incredible impact. Failures or not so laudable experiences? These are incredible learning experiences, again drawing on the growth mindset. Looking back will help to strategically shape the future!

Do you need to energize your alumni practice as we enter a new phase of hybrid work? The Alumni Way has an online workshop (or a special book club!) for your team to explore just that! Looking for an inspiring speaker to energize your 2022 and 2023 programming? For more information on workshops, speaking engagements and webinars book a Discovery Call with me or e-mail me at to learn more!