AIESEC Life in Motion: Hub Leaders on the Move
By Karen Raiti Thigpen and the Hub Leaders
Great things have been happening in our alumni hubs throughout the country. Nine fearless leaders have embarked on an exciting journey to offer alumni in their communities the chance to interact in a diverse selection of programs and events. These events span the spectrum from happy hours to networking forums to fun cultural outings that have appeal to AIESECers both past and present. Just glance at the AIESEC Life Calendar to get a sample of recent events that have occurred and are in the works.
We took some time to interview our hub leaders and have them share a few words on what made them step up to the role of Hub Leader, and their visions for their hubs. Take a moment to read about them and get to know them! And, if you are so inclined, drop them a note. Volunteers always love notes of encouragement and/or suggestions and great ideas. They also love other volunteers – so consider getting involved and joining one of their steering teams. Several of them have open positions on their teams for the roles of Event Planning, Online Communications Manager, or LC Liaison.
What made you get involved initially? The truth is that I attended a cocktail party by Andrew King, and the next day all the attendees were placed on to the committee. Bryan Walker and I organized the next Happy Hour, and the rest is history.
How can alumni in your area help build your hub? We have many opportunities available in mentorship, event organizing, social media and fundraising, and we welcome any additional volunteers who may email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Who is on your steering team and what roles do they have? Bryan Walker (Sheffield, UK, 2001, MCs of UK and Venezuela) is hub co-leader and manages relations with the AIESEC US MC and New York LCs. He coordinates alumni involvement in RoKS, and is currently running alumni involvement for the Summer National Conference, which is being held in New York City. He also leads a sales mentorship program for the Baruch LC.
Andreia Leonard (Portugal MC 2003) is Chair of Social Media. She designs marketing communications and event invitations, posts them on the AIESEC Life site and other social media, and manages RSVP lists. She also coordinates coverage of our events for the newsletter/blog. We’ve had newsletter coverage of most events this year, including article and photos. She also manages requests to join the Facebook page and other inbound leads and converts them onto “The List”.
Anjene “NayNay” Abston (Miami of Ohio LCP 2006) is Events Chair. She organizes all happy hours & social events, along with Corinne Arnold (2003 Regional Director, Ohio State).
Allen Kone (Yale ’66) is Speakers Series Chair, along being on the Yale BOA and is now Corporate Secretary of AIESEC Life.
What kind of programs and events can alumni in your area expect to see from your team this year? We’re delighted to have clocked our 30th monthly Happy Hour, including receptions for the AIESEC US Board of Directors following their three yearly meetings. We ran 5 speaker events, and several socials including Picnic in Central Park and International Pot Luck Dinner at Allen Kone’s Brooklyn brownstone.
At the suggestion of Irvin Barash (Columbia ’64), we are developing a Venture Forum in October to coincide with the International Startups Meetings planned in Morocco and Peru. The NYC event will feature 3 AIESEC entrepreneurs who present their business plans, followed by commentary by a panel of experts.
What’s been the best part of being a hub leader? The best part about being a hub leader is the opportunity to reconnect and give back to AIESEC, an organization that has given me so much. I love the community of alumni, AIESECers and trainees we are building inChicago. I’m always amazed at how easy it is to connect – we know a common person or have had a similar experience. It is almost like we are old friends and by the end of the conversation or event, we really are. I also love interacting and supporting the students. They have so much energy and are doing amazing things. As alumni, we have so much we can contribute.
What made you get involved initially? I initially got involved because I saw an e-mail that went out about an event in the Chicago area. I had moved over to the corporate world after working on the AIESEC in the US National Team and had lost contact with the organization for about three years. I kept telling myself I would start volunteering with a not-for-profit (and I started a few times), but nothing stuck. AIESEC still held a special place in my heart. When Sean Parnell gave me the opportunity to plan an event that would bring students and alumni together around Japanese culture, it was like I had never stopped doing AIESEC. The energy came right back and that was two and a half years ago.
How can alumni in your area help build your hub? You can help us build the Chicago hub through participating. There are so many ways for alumni to participate from attending events, to generating traineeship referrals for the LCs, to sharing your AIESEC experience and mentoring a member, to joining our steering team (see below). Our goal is to expand our reach and programming to engage more alumni in theChicago area in meaningful activities that enrich our lives and support the LCs.
Who is on your steering team and what roles do they have? I am fortunate to have a wonderful team of people who are passionate about building the AIESEC Life Hub in Chicago. Jill Olle does anything and everything. Jill’s official title is Online Communications Manager, but she does so much more. Jason and Lilian Hall are LC Liaisons to Northwestern. They have done an amazing job supporting the LC in many areas, including helping to strengthen their relationship with their BOA and company contacts. Sean Parnell, Colleen Graneto and Jennie Rademacher have been instrumental in making sure that we have great events every month that bring together students, trainees and alumni. Thank you team!
We are, however, looking to grow our steering team. We have opportunities for alumni to get involved in a few ways. First, we are looking for an alumnus who loves event planning and will take the lead on managing our hub programming for the year. Second, we are looking for multiple alumni who are interested in leading the planning for individual events. Third, we are looking for an alumnus who would like to be the LC liaison toNorthern Illinoisand facilitate meaningful LC-Alumni interaction that will strengthen the LC and create more traineeships.
What kind of programs and events can alumni in your area expect to see from your team this year? You can expect some great programming in 2012. In June we have a kayak trip on theChicago River planned that will also be a farewell to one of our trainees, Su, who will be missed dearly. This summer we are planning a cultural event where anybody who is attending has the opportunity to showcase a country and culture in which they have lived in, or to which they have traveled. We try to hold a variety of events on different dates and times to accommodate varying interests and schedules. Follow us on the AIESEC Life Chicago Hub page by becoming a member. What types of events would you like to see? We love any suggestions!
What made you get involved initially? I arrived in Florida looking for the Alumni Association. I couldn’t wait to meet people who would think and feel as I do.
How can alumni in your area help build your hub? Our goal is to reach 100 alumni in the area. We do not have that many as we are starting. The more the merrier! With more alumni, we can provide better support to the LC, which is struggling to survive and we can have a better network and higher quality meetings.
Who is on your steering team and what roles do they have? We are building the team. I have to contact some people to offer them positions where I believe they will strive.
What kind of programs and events can alumni in your area expect to see from your team this year? We would like to have an alumni cruise, and some after hour cocktails. We are also thinking of having more meetings with the LC in order to help them with their sales skills. Also, we are considering BBQs with alumni & LC members. Stay tuned … .
What made you get involved initially? I wanted to do whatever I could to help AIESEC here and keep up a strong alumni network for the LC members who will become alumni too.
How can alumni in your area help build your hub? If you have ideas for organizing or hosting an alumni event, your input is most welcome!
Who is on your steering team and what roles do they have? Anyone can join the steering team here. It would be great to have your help in any role.
What kind of programs and events can alumni in your area expect to see from your team this year? There is a very special opportunity for alumni to participate in a cooking class on July 14 with Seattle LCP ’91. Please see our hub page for details. Also, watch for invitations to meet the trainees coming toSeattle this year.
What’s been the best part of being a hub leader? Meeting the alumni, recent and not so recent; discussing experiences on traineeships; discussing the hopes and dreams of the current LC members; planning fun events.
What made you get involved initially? To be honest, I was railroaded at the Chairman’s Reception at Winter Conference by a friend/alumni. However, I had wanted to get reacquainted with the local chapter and with other AIESECers. It was such an incredible, positive experience that has brought lifelong friends and memories. I just want to see the alumni organization thrive because it will only help build AIESEC in the US and globally.
Who is on your steering team and what roles do they have? Renee Courington is helping find alumni in the Bay Area via Facebook and LinkedIn and will be hosting an event in the fall. Drew Weeks is our LC Liaison with San Jose and has shared his contacts with us so we can plan some unique events, such as a possible tour of a very cool car manufacturer in the area. Peter Kovacs is our resident social media and communications person. In addition, all the team members have provided input on the types of events we’ll be hosting for the rest of year and we’re all working on traineeship referrals.
What kind of programs and events can alumni in your area expect to see from your team this year? We’re organizing First Thursday Happy Hours around the Bay and tying to target them close to public transportation. We’ve also planned a hike, Giants baseball, wine tasting, and a speaker series, just to name a few. Stay tuned as we plan to have some really fun and unique visits to very cool Bay Area companies as well.
What made you get involved initially? A friend of mine mentioned they were looking for a Hub Leader and I was looking for a way to get involved
How can alumni in your area help build your hub? By coming up with more ideas for events and activities and helping us spread the message in their social circles.
Who is on your steering team and what roles do they have? I have 3 fantastic steering team members. Borbi Bropleh is our LC Liaison, Nikolay Nikolaev helps with Event Planning and Bior Bropleh is our Online Communications Manager.
What kind of programs and events can alumni in your area expect to see from your team this year? We’re planning a big Sales Training with the 3 LCs in the area over the summer. We just finished a great event on the ‘Evolution of Communication in Business’, where 2 dozen people came from 7 countries to share their experiences in AIESEC and in the business world.
What made you get involved initially? At first, it was curiosity to see my friends as most of them are from my AIESEC days. That got us all thinking about what we achieved as students. Those thoughts then evolved into wanting to see what we could now achieve together as alumni.
How can alumni in your area help build your hub? There is no LC here in Southern California, so one big thing alumni could do is help start one. We could identify ways to use our local personal and professional resources, such as traineeship contacts, to support AIESEC US with creating and sustaining a new LC in SoCal.
Who is on your steering team and what roles do they have? Judith Florido is our Events Chair. She is originally from Mexico and found AIESEC when she was on a traineeship in Poland. Our Chair of Social Media is Mike Pestano, who is originally from AIESEC in the Philippines. Lionel Simons, who founded AIESEC in the UK, and Paul Okoye, originally from AIESEC in Nigeria, will work on any LC extension efforts in the L.A. area.
What kind of programs and events can alumni in your area expect to see from your team this year? It is very difficult to have events in L.A. due to its large area, but we found that having events on Saturdays always gets a big turnout. So, we will be having “First Thirstdays” on the first Saturday of each month. Our next big get-together will be on Saturday, May 19th, where we will roll out ideas for events and see with which events people want to get involved. Come join us!
Interested in leading a hub in your city? Contact Karen to inquire!