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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Photo of the Day

As a thank you to our amazing volunteers for their hard work, The Emory Alumni Board and Alumni Presidents Club gathered last Friday afternoon for great food and a riveting debate by Alan Abramowitz, the Alben W. Barkley distinguished chair of political science at the College. In a presentation titled “The Outlook for the 2012 Presidential and Congressional Elections”, Abramowitz began by highlighting key issues candidates will need to address in upcoming months such the unemployment rate, the budget deficit, an aging population, ongoing military operations in three countries, a broken immigration system and growing economic inequality between classes. Hear Abramowitz’s ideas on the most important success indicators for candidates in the upcoming races by listening to his full presentation on ITunes U!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Network Like a Pro

After nearly 20 years of sleepovers, chick flicks and coffee dates, I am at a loss to explain how my girlfriends and I have not exhausted the one topic that consistently dominates our conversations: the rules of crushes. However after attending Chi Chi Okezie 98OX 00C and Terrell Pugh's presentation “How to Network Like a Pro” last Thursday at the Miller-Ward Alumni House, I was reassured that we haven’t necessarily been wasting our time!

If you’ve spent a significant amount of time dating or analyzing your friends’ interactions, I bet you know a lot more about networking than you think. And, if you already consider yourself a social media expert, I assure you that you still have more to learn. The night was an eye-opener for the 75 people in attendance, including my fellow interns and I (the three of us can hardly remember the days when we weren’t status updating, tweeting, or “liking” something every two seconds)! Decide for yourself by taking a look at the following tips from Okezie and Pugh…

* Similar interests make great conversation starters
Opposites aren’t the only ones that attract. Look to professional or social groups to meet people with similar interests and to find attractive networking opportunities.

* The first impression
Since first impressions are crucial, the experts began the night by posing an interesting challenge: try introducing yourself and your position in 30 seconds without using the words “I” or “we”. It’s much harder than it sounds, but eliminating these words allows for an effective and personal delivery. This also forces you to repeat your name and company frequently as a refresher so your new connection is more likely to remember you.

* When can you give out your number?
Consider waiting to hand out your business card unless asked. Why not let your potential connection make the first move? That way you’re assured that the desire to pursue a further relationship is mutual. However, if you feel comfortable you can always request your acquaintance’s information first and you may receive a request for yours in return!

* Personalizing messages and avoiding lines
Mass texting is a notorious misstep in the dating world. Okezie agrees that the same rule applies to office relationships. Don’t copy and past great-to-meet-you follow up notes. She urges to always take the time to personalize, even at the expense of sending fewer greetings out in exchange; it will pay off!

* The 3-Day Rule
Wait three days to send a follow-up message. You will appear organized and interested, but will also avoid coming off as too eager.

* Playing hard to get, (but not too hard!)
Make sure to establish your availability and interest without appearing desperate. After a couple of days without hearing back, it’s reasonable to inquire if your message was received. Checking in more than this is probably too forward. If you never receive an answer, take the hint, smile and move on. (Reversely, sending a follow-up message in a week or two is appropriate, while sending one months later is probably a mistake. No one likes to feel like a last resort!)

* Following up on initial promises
Establish credibility and trustworthiness by going out of your way to do what you say you will from the very beginning. The ability to follow through will set you apart.

* Your online image
When in doubt, leave it out. No one wants to spend energy on making a good impression and hooking someone’s interest just to lose the relationship to a last-minute change of heart because your connection learns something negative about you. Why make it easy for future employers who can find this information with a simple web search? Google yourself regularly. Also, be aware that even if you take measures to block certain parts of your online persona, programs like LinkedIn Recruiter allow employers to view all of your online content.

* The night ended with a debate around the dreaded question that I have personally agonized over many times: the Facebook friend request. There is little to say about this one except to use your best judgment on a case-by-case basis. Be aware that many people separate their personal and professional lives between social media platforms, and don’t be offended if someone rejects you on Facebook and requests you on LinkedIn, or a different platform instead. Additionally, be very selective about who you let see what.

A special thank you to Okezie from SIMPLEnetworking and Pugh from the Creative Touch for these pointers on how to flirt professionally!

-- Liz Speyer 14C, communications intern, EAA

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Law School Alumna Becomes First African American Officer on Georgia State Bar

Patrise Perkins-Hooker 84B 84L is no stranger to tearing down walls. While pursuing her MBA at Emory, she realized a pressing need for corporate lawyers capable of advocating for struggling black businesses in her community. That same year, she earned her J.D. from Emory School of Law and stepped up to fill the void.

She’s been busy in her role as vice president and general counsel of Beltline Inc. planning new parks and transit lines across the city. A state juvenile justice fund designed to aid sexually exploited young women now exists thanks to her efforts. And, on Jun. 4 she became the first African American to ever be sworn in as an officer of the Georgia State Bar during its 48-year existence. The Georgia Bar Association (which the Georgia State Bar replaced) also never installed an African American officer since its foundation in 1883. In addition to transcending the racial barrier, Perkins-Hooker is only the third woman to ever serve in an officer position.

“There is an assumption in this day that there are no more firsts on issues of race, but there are”, Perkins-Hooker said during a recent interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “It’s important to me that I’m the first African American in that job because it helps other people of color envision being in leadership roles”.

Joining her as newly appointed officers are fellow Emory School of Law alumni Kenneth L. Shigley 77L, Robin Frazer Clark 88L, and Charles “Buck” Ruffin 80L as president, president-elect, and treasurer respectively. Clark also makes history as the second woman to ever be president of the organization.

- Elizabeth Speyer 14C, communications intern, EAA

Photo credit: www.patriseperkins-hooker.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pastries, Presentations, and Progess

I’m going to be honest with you: I didn’t really think a training conference for alumni volunteers would be that exciting. (Shh, don’t tell my boss). I knew the setting, Boston, would be great. I knew the social aspects - the mixers and meals - would be fun. And, I knew the content would be immensely valuable. What I wasn’t quite sure of however was how this would translate into the overall conference experience.

In one word, it was awesome. At the meet and greet Friday night you wouldn’t have guessed that many of these people were meeting for the first time. The next morning really didn’t feel that early as everyone chatted away over surprisingly delicious walnut pastries. In fact, it’s possible that we were so busy enjoying everyone’s company that we forgot to start the conference exactly on time!
Our volunteers remained cheerful throughout a morning session jam-packed with detail. Perhaps they knew that we were just laying the foundation for the more interactive presentations to come.

Cut to lunch, where we had a prime view of the Boston Pride Parade from the hotel windows. Even this spectacular sight didn’t distract our new BFFs from mingling.

Josh Newton, vice president of university development, followed lunch with an update on Campaign Emory. Tears shed over the touching Emory Advantage testimonial and jaws dropped as Josh debunked some of the myths about Emory’s endowment. Myth #1: Emory’s got plenty of money. Myth #2: The endowment can be used by the entire University wherever it’s most needed.

Following a few more updates, we divided into discussion groups. I was truly inspired to see the passion and commitment of these volunteers, the open and honest collaboration, and the sparks of creativity as we figured out where we go from here.

Wrap up the entire package with a pretty bow (which in this case took the form of a lovely dinner that night and a tour of Fenway Park the next morning), and you’ve got yourself the perfect Emory Regional Leadership Conference. Or at least that’s what we’d like to think. Take a look at some of our photos from the weekend and decide for yourself!

- Ariane Fitch, assistant director of regional volunteer programs, EAA