Alumni Friday Blue

Listening to our alumni leaders

Dear friends,

As I have highlighted several times in this newsletter, I have the pleasure and privilege to serve another year as the President of my own alma mater – the University of St Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. When I first took on this volunteer leadership position, I rode the wave. The tone for the Board meetings and alumni events seemed to be set. Instead of starting an alumni revolution from day one. I listened. I observed. I attended events. What worked well? How could things be improved? While attending my most recent reunion I spent a lot of time talking to alumni. Listening to their stories. Understanding their deep affinity to people and place that led to the action of attending the event. Finding those shared connections!

I wrote about my experience in the early days here, in a College blog, Insight Out, that offers other alumni a voice to offer their perspectives on various topics or trends that resonate with the College community.

Do we listen to the alumni voice? Is it a whisper or have we tuned out the alumni bellowing voices? I love it when alumni leaders take the initiative to voice their leadership perspective. Here’s one I like: Mike Gallego, a long-time alumni leader who has made it his mission to connect with university chapters in Chicago. His post is titled: Adventures in Alumni Leadership . (What would it be like if all our alumni considered their alumni service as an adventure?) I love this multi-dimensional alumni perspective. It’s refreshing to hear his thoughts on taking on alumni leadership.

Your challenge this week:

For alumni-facing professionals: Reflect on this question: How do you integrate the alumni voice in your work? Think of a way to amplify the alumni voice into your planning.

For students and alumni: 
Think of ways that you might get (re)engaged with your alma mater. What’s stopping you? Think of a way to communicate this obstacle to the alumni professionals so they might be able to consider possible solutions.

Next week, I am attending the QS Higher Education Europe Summit in Dublin. I plan to delve into the programme with my alumni hat firmly on my head and report back week after next. So there is a break from the newsletter next week- see you in July!

I am still taking bookings for late 2023 and early 2024 for speaking engagements, workshops and webinars – if you are planning and see a place for networking and inspiration for your alumni or your professional team, hit reply or book a discovery call with me.

Sending the sunshine from Donegal, Ireland to you!

With alumni inspiration,


 Quote from the book

“I believe that as alumni, we are ready to be leaders of this movement. I believe universities are ready to foster this leadership for greater societal impact.
Are you ready?”

The Alumni Way, p.7


Photo below: Old friends and new friends, one shared connection! At my recent St Mike’s alumni reunion my friends and I met a group who lived at our same student residence, only 15 years earlier – our shared experiences were so similar, we instantly bonded – social capital at work!
(that’s me fourth from the right 
😊 )