Alumni Association Update

DEAR FELLOW ALUMNI:

David_FeldmanIn this, my final message to you as Chairman of the Wharton Alumni Association Board, I’d like to look back on some of the exciting developments I’ve seen in our alumni network in my seven years of service with the Board. I’d also like to share some thoughts on whither we go from here.

We’re more visible.When I joined the Board, it was a hard-working and active but little known and little recognized body. Now, with our presence in this Magazine, numerous events held jointly with the Board of Overseers and other Boards, much greater presence on campus and significant support from our amazing Dean and his administration, our Board and the alumni network it represents are very much on the radar screen. This means more and more support from the school, as well as more opportunities for alums to benefit from participation in the network.

We’re evolving.Thanks to technological developments, our club network has grown from a geographic based set of affiliations to include so-called “affinity” clubs such as the Wharton Private Equity Network and Wharton Health Care Network. We expect several more groups in the next year or so. Affinity clubs allow alums to network with others in their industry, not just those who happen to live in the same city.

We’re making our voice heard.Your alumni club leaders from around the world attend an Alumni Leadership Conference each May in Philly. The Board and school are committed to continuing this annual event, which ensures that your local needs and interests are heard and addressed by the alumni leadership and the administration. This interaction has had positive results, including, for example, the school’s funding of mailings by individual clubs.

We’re more student-focused.We have underscored the need for current and prospective students to learn about, understand and access the alumni network—which is key to the future success of both the network and the school itself. In addition to “priming” the pipeline for future active alums, we are letting students and prospective students see firsthand that being a Wharton student or grad means having access to a tremendous and welcoming group of dedicated alums.

We’re more development-focused.We believe that the Board has a responsibility to help the school build greater financial support from its alumni. Altruistic? Perhaps—but this is also a self-serving endeavor for all alumni. As we help raise endowment, program and scholarship dollars, we contribute to the long-term value of our own degrees. Unfortunately, we rank very low against our peer institutions in terms of percentage participation by alums in the Wharton Annual Fund. Our Board has made it one of our missions to determine the reasons for this reduced level of participation and to suggest ways to improve it. We hope more and more alums will realize the importance of giving back to the school and the community that gave them so much.

As for the future…I am honored to have been part of the growth of the last seven years, and I am confident that my successors will build well upon the foundation we have laid. As they carry on this important work, I ask four things of them on behalf of our alumni: 1) maintain as a priority the strengthening of the alumni network, 2) be willing to think big thoughts and consider big changes, 3) tell every active alum how much the school needs their time and talent, and ask for his or her ongoing commitment and 4) support our Dean and administration, while also challenging him to always advance the interests of the alumni network.

To you, my fellow alumni, I wish for you an endless number of connections among fellow Whartonites, an attitude to “take the call” when a student or Wharton alum calls you, and a strong feeling of connection back to your alma mater.

As always, if you are currently an active member of Wharton’s alumni network, thank you for your dedication. If you are interested in getting involved, start by going to wave.wharton.upenn.eduto find a Wharton alumni club in your region or your area of interest.

Please feel free to call or e-mail me directly with any questions. Thank you for your support of the Wharton Alumni Association and thanks for letting me communicate with you here in the Magazine for the past several years.

Please feel free to call or e-mail me directly with any questions. Thank you for your support of the Wharton Alumni Association.

Sincerely,

David N. Feldman, Esq., W’82, L’85
Chairman, Wharton Alumni Association dfeldman@feldmanweinstein.com

CLUB SPOTLIGHT

THE WHARTON CLUB OF SEATTLE: ATTRACTING MANY YOUNG ALUMNI

Thanks to the ubiquitous Microsoft, most people now think of Seattle as a hotbed of technology rather than the rainy and distant metropolis that was portrayed in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” back in 1993. As a result, the city now attracts many young alumni who are pursuing careers in Technology or Telecom, or who are just heeding the call to “go west, young man.” Many newcomers are surprised to find that the weather is, contrary to what is reported, often sunny and pleasant. And there are those who believe that the locals conspire to keep the good weather a secret in an attempt to slow down the influx of easterners and Californians.

Like the city, Seattle’s Wharton Club has seen tremendous growth over the past several years. Due to its size, the Club in Seattle is co-led by Alexa Chiang (C’92), Julie Lin (WG’97) and other Penn and Wharton alumni. The Club has been focusing on providing its members with opportunities to network with other professionals, reconnect with their classmates, and stay informed about the latest news of the School.

The centerpiece of the Club’s programming is the semi-annual Executive Speaker Series, which invites Wharton alumni and local business executives to share their insights on their success and their industries. In addition to a visit by Dean Patrick T. Harker, the Club has had the good fortune to host Jean Bartel of Bartel Drug, Craig Tall of Washington Mutual, executives with Safeco Insurance, and Tom T. O’Keefe of Tully’s Coffee Corporation. The Club has also had group presentations, including an Entrepreneur Panel Discussion featuring Terry Drayton, John Lusk, Andy Liu, Jon Staenberg, G. Kevin Doren, and David McShea speaking on “Lessons from the Crash and the Outlook Today for Starting Your Own Company.” In these events, alumni got the opportunity to listen to industry veterans about their experience on various topics, such as retail competition, merger and acquisition in the financial industry, and entrepreneur’s do’s and don’ts.

In addition to the Executive Speaker Series, the Wharton Club participates in a number of events in conjunction with other schools. The Wharton Club in Seattle is a founding member of Seattle Business School Alliance (SBSA), an alliance whose mission is to unite Seattle area’s business school alumni through various coordinated educational, social and networking events. The Club also shares social events with its Penn brethren, whose focus is more on social, sports, and cultural-type events such as curling, Penn Jazz Ensemble, and happy hour.

If you are moving to Seattle or plan on visiting Seattle, please drop a line to hartoninseattle@yahoo.com, and we will provide you the information on the latest events. Or you can visit Wharton’s online club directory at www.wharton.upenn.edu/alumni/clubs and click on the Penn-Wharton Club of Seattle link to find out about upcoming events.

THE WHARTON CLUB OF POLAND: BEEFING UP RECRUITING

The small but dedicated Wharton Alumni Club of Poland is a unique blend of MBAs, undergraduates, AMPs and researchers. It also includes—albeit unofficially—a few dedicated current MBAs: both loyal Poles living and working in the U.S. as well as students from Poland recruited to attend Wharton.

This past year, like never before, alumni in Poland worked closely with students on campus to beef up recruiting in a country where European MBA degree schools have an extremely strong presence. The MBA students contacted dozens of Polish companies through family and friends in early fall 2004. Club president Anne Kalin WG’91, enlisted McKinsey & Co. to sponsor the recruiting reception and more than 25 interested candidates attended the October reception in Warsaw.

In late December, MBA Candidate Christian Seyne met with 10 candidates from Warsaw from a variety of high tech, marketing and telecom backgrounds. According to Kalin, “Our cooperation with the students on campus will continue. And over the years, I hope they return to Poland after Wharton to help continue the cycle of increasing Wharton’s presence in Poland. This cooperation has been fantastic for Wharton.”

For complete information and calendar updates, visit www.wharton.upenn.edu/alumni/ and select “Alumni Event Calendar” from the menu on the left.

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