12 Advancement Leaders We Learn From

I was inspired to found EverTrue after having consistently amazing interactions with my alumni community from the moment I arrived at Brown. As a first-generation college student, Brown’s community was a source of inspiration and education as I was introduced to networks and opportunities that I didn’t know existed.

Through our work at EverTrue, I’ve been fortunate to get to know many people who have built their career by strengthening our relationships with our institutions and with one another. Many of these people have shaped our product and continue to challenge us to develop our vision at the intersection of advancement and the social graph.

Andrew Shaindlin
Twitter + LinkedIn
Andy is Associate VP of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at Carnegie Mellon University. Andy also is founder and author of Alumni Futures, a website highlighting “ideas, trends & new directions in advancement.”

I was introduced to Andy (a fellow Brunonian!) by Travis Warren, President of WhippleHill Communications, just after founding EverTrue in 2010. Andy is both an advocate for and thoughtful critic of social media and technology in advancement. Andy challenges this industry to carefully articulate goals and measure results as opposed to simply signing up for the newest shiny object. We’ve learned from his blog and enjoyed our in-person conversations even more. Andy might have more frequent flier miles than anyone else we know.

Christine Tempesta
Twitter + LinkedIn
Christine is constantly challenging the status quo in alumni relations as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the MIT Alumni Association, and by her work as the District 1 Chair of CASE.

I first met Christine at IvyPlus at Cornell in 2011. We hit it off after realizing we were both former 4-H Club members in the alumni relations world. Christine has offered us a valuable perspective regarding the existing vendor landscape and the challenges of siloed data. She’s also an advocate of entrepreneurship through her support of Brad Feld and his work at TechStars. Brad helped us think through the early mockups of EverTrue through the lens of his experience as an MIT alum. We hope to work with Christine in the future to help develop a more level playing field for young companies in this sector aspiring to get involved with CASE. We offer young alumni discounts at events…why not do the same for young companies?

Shane Dunn
Twitter + LinkedIn
Shane is Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at MIT Sloan School of Management and Operations Co-Chair for this year’s upcoming CASE 1 Conference. Shane also is an active volunteer for his alma mater, Cornell University, and serves as Senior VP to the Cornell Club of Boston.

Shane and I met when he was still at Tufts and EverTrue was just getting off the ground. Shane epitomizes what it means to be “ever true”. Like many members of our team, he dedicates both his personal and professional life to connecting people around shared affinities and his passion is unparalleled. We think of him as an “offline” version of an excellent LinkedIn alumni group manager.

Anne Cushing
Twitter + LinkedIn
Anne is Director of Digital Engagement at the Harvard Alumni Association, where she has helped to expand the digital landscape during her tenure.

Anne has been at the cutting edge of exploring location-based networking and mobile engagement at Harvard. We first met Anne over a year ago through HBS Professor Misiek Piskorski and we hit it off right away. Anne helped spearhead the Harvard SXSW event that attracted over 400 alumni and has been a speaker at SXSW Interactive. Anne isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and she has pushed us to become a much better company in a short amount of time. Part of the reason we love being based in Boston is that thought leaders like Anne are just a short T ride away. Click here to vote for Anne’s panel proposal for SXSW 2013!

Kate Hunter
Twitter + LinkedIn
Kate is Executive Director of CASE Europe, and actively tweets on all things “relating to educational advancement.”

We were fortunate to meet Kate in conjunction with winning the UKTI Go For Gold competition. Kate and her team are operating in a challenging environment in Europe, where development offices are being challenged to “do more faster” as articulated by Steve O’Connor from the University of Leicester in his recent post. We’re excited to make our return trip across the pond for CASE Europe 2012.

Andrew Gossen
Twitter + LinkedIn
Andrew is Senior Director for Social Strategy, Alumni Affairs & Development at Cornell University. Andrew serves on the advisory board of the eduWeb Confernece, and tweets frequently on the “intersection of technology, communication and community.”

Andrew is very active on Twitter through his work at Cornell. As opposed to reading Mashable myself, I save time each morning by waiting for Andrew to share any tweetworthy articles. Andrew is open to collaborating with the private sector and his invitation to IvyPlus 2011 helped us meet many of the people on this list in person for the first time. From Foursquare’s API to mobile technology, Andrew has implemented a rapid innovation policy of “hypothesize, test, measure, iterate” that could serve as an example for other campuses.

John Hill
Twitter + LinkedIn
John is Higher Education Evangelist at LinkedIn. Prior to joining the team at LinkedIn, John (and his famous sweater-vest) worked at his alma mater as the Director of Alumni Career Services at Michigan State University.

We were fortunate to start collaborating with LinkedIn during our time at TechStars. We were even more fortunate that shortly thereafter, their education team recruited John Hill to be one of the only external facing employees at the company. John’s story of personal growth through passion for his alma mater and genuine relationship building is inspiring and reminiscent of my own journey from alumni volunteer to entrepreneur. If you haven’t met John in person yet, we’re willing to bet that you will. Be on the lookout for big things coming from the LinkedIn College Pilot Program.

Online Friends We Hope to Get to Know Offline

Francis Zablocki
Twitter + LinkedIn
Francis, a proclaimed “web geek of higher-ed,” is currently a Project Manager at mStoner. Prior to joining mStoner, Francis worked as a web communications manager at SUNY Geneseo and Nazareth College.

We first connected with Fran after viewing his presentation “In the Shadow of the Colossi – Alumni Online Communities in the Age of Facebook and LinkedIn”. Fran is thoughtful about looking at challenges and opportunities in advancement from the point of view of alumni, as opposed to the institution. Please take a look at Fran’s presentation on slideshare.

Kiera Reilly
Twitter + LinkedIn
Kiera has brought her passion for her alma mater and marketing to the University of Pennsylvania, where she defines and manages strategic plans for 15 domestic and 20 international alumni associations, along with overseeing all alumni activities on the West Coast.

We admire Kiera’s work from afar. She is always on the go connecting Penn graduates in real life. Kiera documents her journeys at the Frankly Penn blog, one of the best examples we’ve found of collaborative blogging among higher ed professionals. Kiera, let us know next time you’re in Boston!

Chris Marshall
Chris is Associate Vice President of Alumni Affairs at Cornell University. Prior to Cornell, Chris served as the Alumni Director at his alma mater, Lehigh University.

I’ve met Chris briefly a couple of times and I’m hopeful we’ll get to spend more time together in coming months. Chris has made some bold leadership moves early in his tenure through his work with regional club reorganization.

Elizabeth Allen
Twitter + LinkedIn
Elizabeth is Director of Alumni Relations at The American School in London. Elizabeth also keeps an active blog on “thoughts on engagement, advancement & measurement in education” at adaptivateblog.com.

We enjoyed meeting Liz briefly last fall and we’re looking to getting to know her better at her upcoming presentation at CASE Europe!

Keith Hannon
Twitter + LinkedIn
Keith is Assistant Director for Social Media at Cornell University, and an active blogger for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). This past March, Keith led three sessions at the Academic Impressions Social Media Conference including “What’s Next in Social Media,” “Making your Ask Stronger: Social Media and Solicitation” and “Social Media and Alumni Events.”

I loved reading this article from the Cornell Alumni Magazine about the work Keith has done to execute social media initiatives across networks and platforms. Coincidentally, this article was written by Shane and featured Andrew Gossen. The Cornell team and volunteers are formidable to say the least.

The people on this list are the thought leaders we look to for guidance every day. We’re grateful for the relationships we’ve begun to form with these individuals both online and offline. Who else should be on this list? We’d love an introduction!

Ever True!

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