Dear Fellow Alumni:
Time certainly zooms by. Your Alumni Association Board of Directors has had a busy year, and I would like to take a moment to briefly outline a few of our key achievements. There is still much to be done, but we have made much progress in our mission – on behalf of Wharton’s 77,000 alumni, to build and grow simply the greatest business school alumni network.
U.S. Alumni Conference. We have made significant progress in planning a major Global Alumni Forum in the United States, to complement the extremely successful international forums.
New Clubs. This year we have added the Wharton Club of Quebec, Wharton Out For Business, and now boast a club network of dedicated Wharton alums. In addition to the traditional geographically based Clubs, we also are establishing new ways for alumni to connect through “affinity”-based clubs such as the Wharton Private Equity Network and Wharton Health Care Network. See below for more information on the Private Equity Network, known as “WPEN.”
Alumni Leadership Conference. In May, we held a tremendously successful Alumni Leadership Conference on campus during reunion weekend. At this meeting, a group of Club Presidents and alumni leaders from around the world participated in workshops and brainstorming sessions and heard from key administration figures. All went away with a renewed sense of purpose and new ideas about how to build our Wharton alumni network at the Club level.
Stronger Connections with Students. More than ever before, alumni are coming back to campus through various programs which encourage them to attend conferences and give talks. Our Wharton Colloquia, each a one-hour session with new Wharton undergrads during orientation on topics such as “Stock Market 101,” “Dressing for Success,” “What is Leadership,” “How to be a CEO by age 40” and “Effective Business Networking,” will be expanded greatly this year. We have also made great progress in assisting MBA student clubs’ efforts to organize alumni advisory boards.
Annual Fund Participation. Continued growth of the Wharton Annual Fund is tremendously important to maintaining the School’s world-class reputation for business education. Building the Fund is therefore an important part of the work of the Alumni Association Board. During the past year, we continued to work closely with the School to focus on ways to increase our participation rate. We will soon be delivering a series of recommendations designed to foster a greater sense of connection among those who have not previously donated to the School.
Alumni Stakeholder Survey. We have been working closely with the Dean’s Office to develop a comprehensive survey of our alumni. We believe the results of this survey will be very helpful in improving our responsiveness to the needs and interests of our alums.
My thanks go out to our dedicated Alumni Association Board members, and especially our President, Vige Barrie, CW’74, WG’76, for all their hard work this past year. I also offer special thanks to Associate Dean for External Affairs Steve Oliveira, Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Leslie Arbuthnot, and their fantastic staff (especially Dawn Downing!) for providing us with a truly unprecedented level of support and commitment.
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 and would like to find out more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact the Alumni Affairs office at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are many ways in which you can make a difference. Start by going to wave.wharton.upenn.edu to find a Wharton alumni club in your region or your area of interest.
I look forward to continuing our dialogue with you in this column during the next year. Please feel free to call or e-mail me directly with any questions. Thank you for your support of the Wharton Alumni Association.
David N. Feldman, Esq., W’82, L’85
Chairman, Wharton Alumni Association
Wharton Private Equity Network: A Model for Affinity Alumni Clubs
The Wharton Private Equity Alumni Network (“WPEN”) was formed in 1998 for Wharton and University of Pennsylvania alumni working in the Private Equity industry. Its members include both General Partners and Limited Partners investing in leveraged buy-outs, growth capital, mezzanine, venture capital, distressed and secondaries. The goals and objectives of WPEN are networking, education, awareness and interaction for the thousands of Wharton and UPenn alumni in the Private Equity industry.
The WPEN is currently led by co-Presidents Dean Miller ,WG’99, a Partner with venture capital firm PA Early Stage, and Rob Newbold, WG’99, a Managing Principal with the buyout firm Graham Partners. The organization was conceptualized and formed back in 1998, led by the efforts of Praveen Jeyarajah, WG’95, Amarish Mehta, W’95, Ben Terk, WG’99 (a current member of the Wharton Alumni Association Board of Directors and current Chairman of the WPEN), and Steve Sammut, WG’84, Senior Fellow and Lecturer in the Wharton School’s Department of Management.
From several small-scale events and a geographically limited membership, the WPEN has grown to over 500 members with regular events in New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. The expansion of events into additional U.S. cities, as well as several international locations, is underway. In addition to local events, the WPEN holds a dinner every year the night before Wharton’s student-organized Private Equity Conference in Philadelphia in late January.
The WPEN looks to strengthen the bond between Wharton Alumni working at all levels in the Private Equity industry. Relationships established and fostered through the WPEN have helped to advance the careers of the many alumni in the industry and, through outreach with current Wharton students, have increased the number of Wharton graduates entering the field. All alumni working in the Private Equity industry are welcome to join, so please visit the website at www.wpen.org.
Club Spotlight: The Wharton Club of Southern California
The Wharton Club of Southern California (WSC) continues to be one of the more active Alumni Clubs, with an ongoing slate of social and educational activities. In late March, the Club held a private equity event that brought together prominent Los Angeles private equity investors for an engaging panel discussion on deal-making in Southern California. Prominent law firm and sponsor Latham & Watkins moderated the panel, which included partners from Leonard Green & Partners, Apollo Advisors, Oaktree Capital Management, Bison Capital Management, Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund and Gores Technology Group. WSC also recently hosted an event on estate planning and asset protection for Baby-Boomers and Generation X-ers.
The Club has more events planned for this summer, including a Resume Review Workshop on June 23, where Wharton West’s Career Management Advisor, Jennifer McElrath, lead participants through resume tips and suggestions. In addition, there will be a dinner party at the Jonathan Club on the Santa Monica Beach on August 3. For more information on WCA events or for club officer contact information, go to www.whartonsocal.com.
On the Road and Looking for Some Wharton Connections?
Remember that as a Wharton alum, you are always welcome at local Club events, even when you are away from home. If you know you’ll be traveling and would like to meet fellow alumni, be sure to check out www.wharton.upenn. edu/alumni/clubs to see if there are any planned events in the city you are visiting. New York and Philadelphia have especially active Clubs with frequent events, but many other Clubs hold events and welcome you to participate.
Wharton Women in Business: Upcoming Conference and Call for Nominations
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wharton Women in Business (WWIB). Decades ago, the concept of women in business was heralded with a caption of “Alternate Lifestyles” in a Wharton newspaper. We have come a long way since those early days, and today WWIB is one of the largest clubs at Wharton.
This year’s WWIB conference on November 4-5 in Philadelphia aims to celebrate WWIB’s 25th anniversary by taking the conference to new heights. The conference will be a wonderful networking opportunity and will feature diverse panels and workshops to address alumni and students’ most pressing concerns. Come hear remarkable stories from truly inspirational women who have courageously led, scaled new heights in challenging environments, chosen unconventional paths, redefined success, and achieved personal fulfillment. The conference planning team is working closely with Alumni Affairs, the Wharton Women’s Task Force, and other areas of Wharton administration to make this year’s conference a “Must Attend” event.
Every year at the conference, WWIB pays tribute to the tremendous life achievements of Ms. Kathleen McDonald, WG’78, by awarding the Kathleen McDonald Distinguished Alumna Award to a deserving Wharton Alumna. This Award was created in 1995 to highlight the accomplishments of Wharton alumnae and to build a stronger bond between Wharton alumnae and current students. Recipients of the Award serve as role models for Wharton Women by creating a supportive environment for women in business, achieving professional excellence, and demonstrating a commitment to a balanced career, community involvement, and other personal pursuits.
Candidates are nominated by the Wharton community and selected by an electing committee because of their many outstanding personal and professional achievements, meeting the following criteria:
1. A nominee must be female and a recipient of the MBA degree from The Wharton School
2. A nominee must be a graduate of at least five year’s outstanding
3. A nominee should serve as a role model for Wharton Women through efforts to create a supportive environment for women in business
4. A nominee should demonstrate professional success and exhibit strong potential for continued career development
5. A nominee should demonstrate a commitment to balancing her career, community involvement, and other personal pursuits.
To nominate someone for the WWIB Kathleen McDonald Distinguished Alumna Award, or to find out more about this award, please visit www.whartonwomen.org/alumni.asp.