Active Alumni

Top 40

Top 40

I spent the majority of the day at a meeting with past winners of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, which I was lucky enough to receive a few years back.

The goal was to create an alumni association of sorts that would A) serve as a networking hub for past Top 40 recipients and B) pool our collective resources and talents to support some charitable cause.

The struggle to start such a group has been ongoing. Various alumni have been discussing this in various waves for over a decade, with no concrete results thus far.

I’m not a big alumni guy. From time-to-time I go to a Queen’s or LSE alumni event. But then I’m quickly reminded why I don’t go more often.  No offense to the wonderful people that run these events, but I find most of the attendee’s are either trying to relive their glory days or are desperate to network/meet new friends. Normally, the only thing I have in common with others there is that we both went to the same school. This bond, while initially strong, tends to weaken over the years.

If I moved to a new city I might become more active in the local alumni group—it’s a great way to meet people and make connections. But in a place where I’m already established in, I can network more efficiently using other means.

So, then, for me, what distinguishes one such association from another is its utility. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I am busy—so are most people. We want to join groups only if we get something out of it that is worth the time we put into it.

Too many organizations start alumni associations just because it’s something to do and seems like a good way to strengthen their brand. Don’t. Look at it as a value proposition from the perspective of potential members. And know that some people are already so over-networked it will be nearly impossible to provide a worthwhile value proposition to them.


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