I have officially been back to work 2 weeks now and I have walked into a new role as alumni engagement from student engagement. The position and the ideas of the position don’t exist and the rest of the university, from an alumni and engagement perspective, is watching what I create. So if test piloting this…please give me a crash helmet and parachute.
It is not often you get a blank canvas to paint an entire program or you are given a lump of clay to shape and build an idea. I have been fortunate to have tremendous support from Andrew Gemino, my direct report. I greatly appreciated his call during the week to say that I am already ahead of where he thought we would be…this really meant a lot. I think that if you are provided an opportunity, support and a passion, it is a recipe for creation. I feel like that artist that is out to create a masterpiece…but not knowing what it is yet!
Already we have focus groups in place…with the help of G, to ask our alumni what they want; however, as I meet alumni, ideas are already starting. Brent Seal, one of my favorites (ok you are all my favorites), met with me for lunch. I greatly appreciate Brent because he is open about the challenges he has faced in life and how he has overcome them. Brent is an avid hiker so we have started planning an alumni hike/picnic in a couple of months and he would like to lead it. A simple idea that just came forward by sitting and talking and tapping into someone’s strength.
I am fortunate as I have been provided an environment of possibilities and opportunities over limitations and boundaries. I am not sure how it happens but this is not the first time where I was told to go out and build something that does not exist. I have stopped admiring the house of student engagement I built (appreciate what I have created) and have moved on to now build a new house of alumni engagement. The work will be interesting and engaging…and I will need many hands to help shape this next opportunity. Ideas are welcome folks!