Alumni Boards: Strengthening Strategy and Growing Engagement

Alumni Boards: Strengthening Strategy and Growing Engagement

July 23 - 25, 2018 | Chicago, IL


Develop your alumni board in a way that allows you to accomplish strategic objectives and goals.

Learn how you can increase the effectiveness of your alumni board and its members’ involvement. Representing alumni relations, annual giving, and academic perspectives, our expert instructors will share practical tips and advice on how you can create a more effective board, including:

  • Defining your board’s purpose, roles, and strategy
  • Recruiting and onboarding board members and leaders
  • Increasing the effectiveness of your meetings
  • Identifying and solving communication issues
  • Assessing your board’s effectiveness with established metrics


Pre-Conference Workshop: Starting a New Affiliate Board in a Modern Environment

Chances are you have encountered someone across campus who wants to launch a new board, whether it is a dean or a colleague in affinity or young alumni programming. This workshop will walk you through:

  • How to decide if starting a new board makes sense
  • Determining a structure and founding members
  • Using technology to create a virtual community

Bring Your Board Members With You

This conference is carefully designed for institutional representatives charged with increasing board effectiveness, as well as alumni board members. You are highly encouraged to bring teams comprised of both constituents. When you register two people, a third can attend for 50% off the registration price.


Day 1: Monday, July 23, 2018
Pre-Conference Workshop Registration and Continental Breakfast (included in workshop registration fee)
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Starting a New Affiliate Board in a Modern Environment
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Chances are you have encountered someone across campus that wants to launch a new board, whether it is a dean or a colleague in affinity or young alumni programming. This workshop will walk you through:

  • How to decide if starting a new board makes sense
  • Determining a structure and founding members
  • Using technology to create a virtual community

Lunch for Pre-Conference Attendees (included in workshop registration fee)
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Main Conference Registration
12:30 - 1:00 p.m.

Opening Comments and Introductions
1:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Defining Board Purpose and Roles
1:30 - 2:45 p.m.
We will launch this conference with a conversation around how alumni boards have evolved, and how and if they should be best utilized. Assuming a board is the best route for your institution, we will discuss how to translate the board's purpose into meaningful responsibilities and how your board should work with institutional staff.

Setting Board Strategy
2:45 - 4:00 p.m.
With your board purpose set, and member responsibilities defined, the next step is to begin developing your strategy. This session will address how to cooperatively define long- and short-term strategy, and then how to ensure board buy-in from that strategy. We will then discuss how to move from strategy to implementation, and how best to assign responsibility for tactical issues, including committee charters and policies and procedures that are outside of the bylaws.

Afternoon Break
4:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Working Session: Reviewing and Evaluating Board Structure
4:15 - 5:30 p.m.
Structure should reflect a board’s purpose, roles, responsibilities, and process. Unfortunately, committees, policy, and bylaws are often created on an ad hoc basis and/or not updated regularly. During this session, the faculty will discuss how to create or revise your structure to make it reflective of your mission and will address how to most effectively implement your structure.

Networking Reception (included in registration fee)
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Day 2: Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Continental breakfast (included in registration fee)
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Role of the Board in Fundraising Efforts
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
What is the role of the alumni board in institutional advancement? We will identify different fundraising models and describe the relationship of the board with the advancement office. The faculty will also outline the role of the alumni board during a campaign.

Morning Break
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Identifying and Recruiting Board Members & Developing Your Pipeline
10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Identifying ideal board members from your pool of alumni leaders requires cooperation from all areas within advancement and the board. This session will focus on best practices for selecting and recruiting productive, dedicated board members, including how to convert board members from other volunteer programs.

Lunch (included in registration fee)
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Onboarding, Educating, and Training New Members
1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
Bringing new board members up to speed, while integrating them into the existing membership, is essential to managing turnover effectively. We will walk you through how to onboard and educate new members and provide tips for training them for their roles on the board.

Developing an Intentional Board Culture
2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
A healthy board culture is essential for a board to effectively execute its strategy and accomplish its goals. During this hour, we will provide examples of effective board cultures, ways to evaluate your board’s current culture, the importance of positive leadership, tone at the top, team building, active engagement, productive discussions, socialization, working through conflict, and continuous culture improvement.

Afternoon Break
3:15 - 3:30 p.m.

Board Meeting Format and Agenda
3:30 - 4:15 p.m.
There is nothing more frustrating than a board meeting that fails to accomplish its goals. We will explore different format/agenda options for board meetings and discuss how to apply the best
options to your meetings to make them more productive. You will learn how to create agendas that address strategic initiatives and leave board members energized.

Closing and Q&A
4:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Day 3: Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Continental breakfast (included in registration fee)
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Navigating Your Board Through Change
9:00 - 10:15 a.m.
Natural board flux can rapidly shift to uncertainty and inaction without proper leadership. However, being well prepared can allow you to address changes with ease. This session will help you develop that preparation, build a leadership pipeline within your board, and manage your board through inevitable change.

Morning Break
10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

Establishing Board Metrics and Assessment
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
An effective alumni board must identify clear criteria for measuring success across activity—ideally at the mission level, the goal level, and the individual level. Our instructors will show you how to formally and informally evaluate your alumni board and its members, including how often to conduct your assessments.

Faculty Panel, Final Q&A and Closing Comments
11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

July 23 - 25, 2018

Chicago, IL


Location Information:

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
505 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Room Rate: The rate is $199, plus applicable tax.

Room Block Dates: The nights of July 22, 23, and 24, 2018

Rate Available Until: Make your reservations prior to June 29, 2018.

To reserve your room, call 312.944.4100. Please indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate.


Stony Brook, NY; Stony Brook University: Alumni Executive Director Matt Colson

Matthew Colson

Executive Director, Alumni Relations
Stony Brook University

Matthew is an industry leader in alumni relations, building successful programs both in small private college and large public university settings. At Stony Brook, Matthew is responsible for the vision, strategy, revenue generation, communications, and program development for engagement of SBU’s alumni worldwide. He works closely with the thirteen college deans and University Advancement colleagues to develop meaningful student and alumni experiences that create and sustain lifelong relationships with the university. He also serves as Executive Director of the Stony Brook Alumni Association, working closely with its Board of Directors, Executive Board, and Committee Chairs. Currently Stony Brook is in the final year of a $600 million campaign that is unprecedented in the State University of New York (SUNY) system.


Susan Pyron

Associate Vice President of Annual Giving, Alumni and Parent Relations
Gettysburg College

Susan E. Pyron has direct responsibility for the alumni association’s board of directors and oversight of the annual giving, athletic giving, alumni relations, and parent relations offices focusing on constituent engagement and securing current operations support. Previously, Susan was the executive director of the Commission on the Future, a project that engaged nearly 400 alumni, parents, and friends in a year-long study that formed the foundation of Gettysburg College’s former $100M campaign. Gettysburg College is currently in the public phase of a $150 million comprehensive campaign.


Sandra Richtermeyer

Dean of the Manning School of Business
University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Dr. Richtermeyer’s teaching interests are in the areas of corporate governance, accounting information systems, and managerial, governmental, and nonprofit accounting. Her research interests include corporate governance, technology enablement and enterprise systems, nonprofit accounting, and professional issues for accountants.

Dr. Richtermeyer works actively with a variety of professional organizations and is a frequent speaker for professional development programs on financial leadership, technology integration, organizational governance and performance measurement. She has authored many articles in academic and practitioner publications. Before joining UMass-Lowell, Dr. Richtermeyer was Associate Dean and Professor of Accountancy at Xavier University, on faculty at the University of Wyoming and the University of Colorado at Denver, and taught while completing her doctoral studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Erin E. Stringer

Director, Alumni Relations
Catawba College

Erin currently serves as the Director of Alumni and Parent Relations for her alma mater, Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. Previously, Erin was the lead staff liaison to the ‘Burgians Of the Last Decade (BOLD) Council at Gettysburg College. There she implemented plans to establish and manage a volunteer board of young alumni in order to create meaningful connections between the College and its most recent graduates. In addition to working with the young alumni board, she also worked on initiatives that served the Gettysburg College’s entire young alumni population. Prior to career in Higher Education, Erin worked on Capitol Hill as a press aide and a clerk in the House of Representatives.

Pre-Conference Workshop Only

$395 through July 13$495.00

Learn how to start a new affiliate board in a modern environment in this pre-conferece workshop.

Main Conference Only

$1,495 through July 13$1,595.00

Learn to better leverage your alumni board to accomplish its objectives and goals.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?

Gwen Doyle Herbert

Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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