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  • 01 Aug 2016 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Special offer exclusively for Whitman NYC members (expires 8/1/16).


    Professional mentor and Syracuse Alum, Brian Gorman ('71) is offering a complementary 1 hour online coaching session.  This will be especially helpful for recent grads, someone who is considering a job/career change and experience professionals.  Brian will describe further in his own words:


    Attending Syracuse University in the late 60’s awoke me to many things within myself and in the world around me. It was the start of a lifetime journey as a student of change. Along the way, I have developed a deep understanding of how “every change is different, and all change is the same.” Recently, I was able to share some of what I have learned about change with Whitman NYC members during a Mentoring 101 workshop. It was an exciting and rewarding opportunity.


    As a way of saying “thank you,” I am offering complementary one-hour online coaching sessions to Whitman NYC members. During your session we can address any question, challenge, decision, etc. that you want to work on (professional or personal). Obviously, I cannot guarantee that in one hour we will always be able to answer the question, overcome the challenge, or reach a decision. What I can promise is that by the end of the session you will have new perspectives, deepened understanding, and an acknowledged sense of progress toward doing so.


    In order to schedule the session, email me (brian@briangorman.net) directly no later than Monday, August 1, and identify yourself as a member of Whitman NYC. Provide me with 3-5 times that you are available for a one-hour session prior to August 31. I offer coaching Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, and Saturdays 8:00 AM-Noon. Once I receive your email, I will select the first available time on my calendar, and send a meeting invitation. I will include instructions on how to log onto Zoom (the online meeting application I use…no account required on your part). I will also send you a brief information form that will allow me to know the topic of our coaching session.


    Brian Gorman, Syracuse University College of Arts & Sciences, 1971


    917.653.5198


    Blog: www.ChangeMentor.Net


    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/briangorman07030


  • 19 May 2015 10:44 AM | Dan Montaigne (Administrator)
     

    1-On-1 with Joe Bednar: Delivering Value to an Alumni Club

     
           

    The 1-On-1 Interview Series is a special feature on the Wild Apricot Blog in which we interview standout members of our Membership Advisory Group.

       

       

    Recently, Lori Smith, Wild Apricot’s Community Manager and Farhad Chikhliwala, our Marketing Assistant, interviewed Joe Bednar, president of the The Syracuse University Whitman Alumni Club of New York City (WhitmanNYC) in New York City. Here are highlights from their one-hour discussion.

       

       

       

    Lori Smith (Wild Apricot):  Joe, I recently read an article you wrote on the lessons learned in developing a membership club which offered some great ideas. But before we get to that, why don’t we find out a bit more about you and your organization?

       

    Joe Bednar: I’m a three-time graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA degree in Film Production from the College of Visual & Performing Arts, and two Master's degrees – a Master's of Science in Media Management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and an MBA in Marketing from the Whitman School of Management.

       

    I’d been working in the marketing field for about 15 years, post-grad, and I wanted to get involved with a New York City-based connection to my school. About five years ago, I was informed that they were starting the WhitmanNYC, and I joined the club in the role of webmaster.

       

    They didn’t have a website at the time. I am not a web developer or a coder, so I used a different company’s platform to create a website. But we found that it was not very powerful. It was a brochure site – not an interactive management platform. So we started looking for something else.

       

    How did you find Wild Apricot and what made you realize that you needed a membership management platform?

       

    After having used our brochure site for about two years, we realized that we could not keep tabs of our membership base, or control the registrations of our events or payments that had a rolling basis for people who joined the club. We were doing everything with Excel, and Word, and sticky notes, and chats. It was getting to be baffling how we were going to grow the club and also collect cash at the door, and not know who was showing up for what event. It was a mess.

       

    When I became vice president of the club three years ago, I worked with the then-president to evaluate different platforms, Wild Apricot being one of them. We found that some of the other platforms were just not easy to use. Many seemed not to have a reputation in the market yet, while Wild Apricot had an excellent reputation. So we jumped in and we decided to give it a try, and it’s worked out very well for us.

       

    Building an alumni membership from 200 to 1,800

       

    That’s great. About how many members do you have now?

       

    Currently, we have a few hundred paid members, but our contact database contains 1,800 alumni. And that has all been due to Wild Apricot’s reach and ease of use with doing campaigns. These 1,800 contacts are opted in. We did not import a database from our university. We aggregated those contacts over the course of three years. And what’s nice about it is that we can manage their membership and attendance in advance, and do campaigns to try to get them to become paid members of the club.

       

    “We still need to focus on lapsed and suspended members and find out how we can win them back.”

       

    The past president’s goal before he left was to have 200 paid members. He almost met it in the end with 190 members. But we have not used Wild Apricot to the fullest extent yet. We still need to focus on lapsed and suspended members and find out how we can win them back. We have a chair of our membership committee and they’re taking care of producing a plan to win back lapsed members. We have about 300 lapsed members, and if they were all to rejoin, we’d have a wonderful membership base. And we believe Wild Apricot can do that for us in terms of its features.

       

    “The key word is value – what are members getting for their membership?”

       

    Do you have any insight as to why these lapsed members left?

       

    It’s because of perceived value. We have not done a good job as a club of marketing the value that we bring to alumni. While a lot of people join as recent alumni for a free membership for one year, when it comes time to pay for their next year, they’re not re-joining. So we need to instil in our marketing that the key word is value. What are you getting for your membership? And we have not done an excellent job of that yet, but we will.

       

    We now have two people on our membership committee who are preparing win-back and outreach campaigns. In addition, we’re beefing up our programming for the new year. We are not a fly-by-night alumni club by any means – we have at least have one event every month and these are divided between service, speaker and social events.

       

    What would you define as the big value for members at this point?

       

    Right now, any member can attend any one of our four annual speaker events for free.

       

    Are these big name speakers?

       

    Yes, we have had speakers from the NCAA, Steiner Sports,and Turner Broadcasting. We also held a retail panel that featured speakers from ROSS, Coach, and Hermes Paris. Our school is very well connected, but delivering those connections in terms of marketing is where we have struggled. And it’s not that we don’t have the technology to do it. It’s the manpower.

       

    Who organizes all of the events, and who does all this work? How many paid staff do you actually have?

       

    We have no paid staff. This is a volunteer organization, with a board of approximately 20 people.

       

    “Many people do not know the power of that rolodex that we have online for members … That’s one of the values we deliver.”

       

    You can also reach out to any of the members through our online membership directory. Wild Apricot has made it easy for us to have an online directory for networking. We consider it our private LinkedIn. Once you’re a member, you can view any other member’s contact information for professional networking, or sales.
       
        Having this university connection and an easy to use of membership directory is one of the values we deliver. Many people do not know the power of that rolodex that we have online for members.

       

    In your member directory, can you send a message publicly, or do they have a private member log in to get more information?

       

    Yes, once they log in as a member, they see the alumni’s address, telephone number, direct email, website, and the person’s interests.

       

    Mentorship is another value we deliver. All of these values – between the events, discounts, the directory, and mentorship – we need to boil down into a campaign to drive our membership.

       

    I noticed that some events, like the yearly barbecue, had a waiting list and were sold out. It seems some of these events are really popular and draw a lot of people, and offer great networking opportunities.

       

    Yes – eating good barbecue amongst a hundred alumni in Central Park on a sunny summer day is not a tough sell, especially for non-members. We open these up to everyone as sort of a membership drive, and we try to sign up people and swipe their credit cards on the spot using PayPal (which drives the financials in our Wild Apricot system).

       

    Using technology to sign-up members on the spot

       

    That’s great. And you find that’s pretty quick and easy to do?

       

    Very easy. You swipe the card, you enter the person’s email and first and last name, and a report is generated that we can follow up and add them to our database. It definitely makes it easy to sell people since you can attend four speaker events and save 50 percent by joining the club.

       

    How do you keep people informed about what’s going on with the rest of the alumni and the club?

       

    We use a social media feed on our homepage with Twitter. The secretary of our club sends out Tweets. We also use the blogging features (included in Wild Apricot) to post articles, and what’s nice about it is we can embed videos and photos in those posts. That is pretty much the outreach that we do, in addition to emails.

       

    Facilitating the mentoring of young business people

       

    What about your mentoring program? Do you have a lot of new graduates that are part of your club?

       

    We do. A lot of our new joins are people taking advantage of the free one-year membership for recent graduates.

       

    It helps them connect with the alumni base immediately. We publish an online database that is only for members and password protected. It has all of the mentors who have reached out in registration, saying they would like to mentor someone. We currently have 12 mentors on our list, and we’re looking to grow that to 36 over the next few years.

       

    Finding the right people to “fill the five critical roles”

       

    I want to get to the article you wrote, which had some great lessons I think we should share.

       

    You mentioned that you had to gather a group of people with diverse skills sets. So how did you find the right people to create your board?

       

    Well, as I mentioned, I didn’t start the club, there were two women who did. But I was sitting around the table with about five people that they had gathered, and we talked about what we would like to contribute to the club. What skills did we have?

       

    Fortunately, we all went through a school of management. So naturally we could find a treasurer and do our reporting, and we found someone who wanted to be a webmaster – yours truly.  Someone who enjoyed writing became secretary. And we grew it organically over time. It was really important that we had a core of people to fill the office roles: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, webmaster – would be the five critical roles that any organization should aim to fill immediately.

       

    What’s your passion? Why do you do it?

       

    I do it because I like to remain connected with the alumni base, and I do it because I love the people I work with. It’s more of a social reward than it is anything else. I really enjoy seeing everyone at the events and bringing them new opportunities, and dreaming up new things for us to do that keep our Syracuse University and the Whitman connection, while living in New York City.

       

    You feel part of something, don’t you?

       

    Yes in an alumni club, you have a bond. It doesn’t mean everyone gets along. It doesn’t mean everyone’s best friends, but you have a common thread to help you in your future.

       

    Knowing your audience and what they want

       

    You also mentioned in the article that it was important to know your audience. How did you gather information about your alumni needs?

       

    We brainstormed. I'm going to be honest with you. We didn’t do a lot of marketing research. We took a look at other clubs around the country and what they were doing. We made it our mission to include all working people from the university in our club. They don’t have to show a diploma from our college in order to join. So, that’s our mantra, and we include everyone in our contact database and membership database and try to accommodate their needs to get to an event that maybe begins right after work.

       

    So the timing and event location can actually make a big difference?

       

    Yes it can, and also time of day. We just launched a breakfast series for the real estate industry, and it’s going very well.

       

    It’s about conversation, and it’s about looking at what the needs are for our audience. And also making it so that we’re not overlapping what other clubs are doing because we are not a “me too” organization. We are unique.

       

    Well, I'm going to wrap up [our interview] with a quote from your article.

       
               

    “A flourishing club takes a critical mass, collective buy-in, hard work and time, but the value of camaraderie and connections is immeasurable.”

       
       

    I wish you good luck in all these things. And I'm happy to see that Wild Apricot is helping you manage it all and is reducing the amount of time spent on pesky admin tasks so you can focus on creating great events for your members.

       

    Lori, thanks for your time and a big plug to all of our members who may be listening to this recording: we thank you for your membership. And Wild Apricot, we thank you for enabling us to do what we do.

       

    Want to listen to the full 1-On-1 Interview?

       

    Please note: this post has offered some of the highlights of the interview with Joe Bednar, of WhitmanNYC. If you’d like to listen to the full one-hour interview, you can listen to it below.

       
         
         
       
     

     

  • 09 Mar 2015 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    Networking is an art and it requires some skill to yield the right results. Often, we can do the right thing the wrong way and not get the results we were looking for.





    On February 25, 2015, Dr. Howard Leifman spoke at the Syracuse University Whitman School of Management New York City Alumni Club at the Lubin House about networking. Dr. Leifman turned this into an unconventional networking event by providing good nuggets and helping all the attendees to make the right connections by the end of the night.

    Here’s some of the information he provided that you need to keep to the forefront the next time that you are networking:

    • 1.   “Remember that you bring something to the table too. Learn what questions to ask to get people to talk about themselves.”
    • 2.   “LinkedIn works by being exponential (It’s best when you have approximately 250-300 connections. Leifman said that these people shouldn’t be random connections, but people that you actually know)."
    • 3.   “People say that they hate selling, but they are selling themselves everyday of their lives—whether its dating, an interview, etc.”
    • 4.   “You’re either a source or resource.”
    • 5.   “When you are networking, it is a commercial about yourself.”
    • 6.   “You don’t have a relationship instantaneously.”

    Dr. Leifman started and ended this event on a high-note. He got all the attendees to open up.

     


  • 14 Oct 2014 1:01 PM | Anonymous

    On October 7, 2014, the Syracuse University Whitman NYC Alumni Club kicked off its speaker series featuring Mark Emmert. Mark Emmert is a Syracuse alumni and the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Prior to his speech, 10 VIP attendees were invited to a meet and greet with Emmert. The VIP attendees said they enjoyed mingling with him and each other. Outside of the room, the chattiness, merriness and laughter of the attendees could be heard all the way on the lower level.



    Following the meet and greet, Emmert made his way downstairs and spoke with the general audience about the NCAA. He gave a general breakdown of how colleges allocate monies to be spent on collegiate sports at their schools. Emmert was able to get the audience to understand that the NCAA provides more than just entertainment, but there is a business side to it. He explained that 90% of the NCAA’s revenue comes from March Madness. As a recovering college sports lover, it’s unbelievable that the national collegiate sport operates so well based on its performance over a three-week period. Then, he addressed the other business-related issues such as pending antitrust lawsuits and dissent over athletic policies. Nevertheless, Emmert stated some amazing statistics such as the fact that more athletes graduate from college than non-athletes, especially minorities. Some critics felt that education wasn’t being pushed for athletes. However, these statistics demonstrate the opposite and quiet feelings that are merely myths. We are so glad to have alumni such as Emmert who are making a mark in the world and we wish him the best for this upcoming collegiate athletic season.


    In the future, we will be hosting more speaker series packed with great speakers such as Emmert. You will also have the opportunity to attend the event as a VIP member and make the connection with the speaker. Please check out our events page and look for announcements for future dates. Don’t miss out on a great event.


    By Nicole Bovell, Secretary 

  • 24 Aug 2014 11:27 AM | Anonymous

    The 6th Annual Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Picnic was a nice way to spend a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Central Park. We were fortunate and grateful to have the support of the Syracuse University Whitman School of Management faculty such as Carol Heil, Cindie Adams and Jim Seward, Professor of Finance at Whitman (Cindie’s husband). At the event, old friends were catching up and reminiscing, new connections were being forged, great conversations was flowing and laughter could be heard from our area. The food was great. What’s a picnic without great food and people? One of the favorite dishes of the attendees were the macaroni and cheese. Also, the snacks were a hit too and devoured shortly. If you come next year, make sure as soon as the snacks are on display to get one immediately.

     

     

     

    Within the first hour of the event, we had approximately 90 people show up to the event. As the time went by, more people trickled in. It was great to see the repeat annual picnic attendees, recent grads, a former board member, families, and guests of the attendees. Near the end of the event, we did a raffle. Every year a raffle is done at the annual picnic. Most of the attendees held on tightly to their ticket to hear their numbers called. Luckily, most of the attendees received something from the raffle that included Syracuse University memorabilia.


    As the event was winding down, we were sad to say good-bye, but it was an afternoon well-spent and it was beneficial. Our annual picnic is the only spectacular event that we have. We have several beneficial events for our Syracuse alumni in the NYC metropolitan area. For information on our future events, please check at our site www.whitmannyc.com.


    Written by Nicole Bovell, Secretary 




  • 22 Nov 2013 2:48 PM | David Finkelstein
    WhitmanNYC held its Fourth Annual Wine Tasting last night and it  was a great success. Under the leadership of Joan Berkowitz and Lori Canell, we upgraded our event with great wines from Sherry-Lehman and a larger menu of food selections.

    Thanks also go out to Alex Pomerantz '10 of Kivelstadt Cellars who generously donated four bottles of limited-release wines for give-aways.

    We have a crowded forward calendar - we've never been busier!  Please pencil in the following events on your calendar.

    Dec 11 Meet the (new) Dean (Dean Kavajecz)
    Dec 15 St. John’s game at MSG (co-sponsored with Big Apple Orange)
    Dec 17 Holiday Party
    Jan 6    Careers on Wall Street speaker event
    Jan 22  Orange is the new Black (retail/fashion speaker panel)
    Feb       Ten Ways Social Media can boost your business and personal brands with Stephanie Voong

    Thanks again to Lori and Joan for a great Wine Tasting!

    Dave
  • 13 Oct 2013 4:39 PM | David Finkelstein
    It's been far to long since I last wrote, but we have so much planned at WhitmanNYC there's no better time than now to give you an update on recent activities and what's on tap

    In August we held our 5th Annual Dinosaur BBQ Picnic in Central Park. We had to cap RSVPs at 150 people - I hope you were not shut out. Thanks a million to event organizer Rachel Marcoccia '98 who organized the event for the fourth year in a row. The food, weather and camaraderie were top-notch, as usual. In September we held our 5th Anniversary Party on the rooftop at Yotel. This time we had over 160 reservations. Thanks as always to Social Events Chairperson Allie Levine '05 for arranging a great event

    Here's what's coming up:

    Oct 24 Syracuse Scotch and Cigars (co-sponsored with Big Apple Orange)

    Oct 26 Superstorm Sandy Clean-up at Liberty State Park

    Nov 21 4th Annual Whitman Wine Tasting

    Dec 11 Reception for Dean Kavajecz

    December   Holiday Party

    Jan 6 "Careers on Wall Street: Advice From a 30-year Veteran"

    Feb 10 "Selling Yourself" with author and media trainer Joyce Newman

    2014 "Syracuse Start-Up" - an entrepreneurship panel discussion
    2014 "Builder, Buyer, Broker" - a real estate panel discussion
    2014 "Retail Today: it's not your mom's (Betty Draper's) department store" a panel discussion

    If you'd like to attend, help with or plan these events do not hesitate to register today, or contact me directly for further information. You can find WhitmanNYC's committee chairs and contact info here

    GO ORANGE

    Dave
  • 14 Jun 2013 1:41 PM | David Finkelstein


    We had another great meeting, recapping a great year for WhitmanNYC.


    The meeting elicited great support as we had 24 RSVPs (and 17 attendees) out of our 143 members - a very high participation rate.  The 143 paid members is a record high (up from 110 a year ago) and is just below the goal I set a year ago to reach 150 members by June 30, 2013. We have a few weeks left!  Help us reach the goal!  Our goal for next year is 200 members.


    We discussed our tentative event lineup for the remainder of 2013.  We have our traditional events, some new events and some new ideas which we may pull off if we get the strong support from members and if volunteers step up to organize them.  Here's what we discussed:


    Jun 27   SUcess in the City (Office of Alumni Relations)

    Aug  7     Summer Mixer with UNC's Kenan-Flagler NYC alumni club

    Aug 17    5th Annual Dinosaur BBQ Picnic in Central Park

    Sep   WhitmanNYC's 5th Anniversary Party!

    Oct 10  Syracuse Scotch and Cigars  (targeted date) Nov 21  Whitman Wine Tasting Dec 17  Holiday Party  (targeted date)


    We also brainstormed the following ideas. Please drop me a line if you would attend them, or would like to help organize it:

    • Cooking Class
    • Chocolate Tasting
    • Walk-a-thon


    I'm happy to report that our annual elections were civil and orderly (no fistfights as in previous years!).  This is your 2013-14 roster of  Officers and Board Members.  (asterisks denote those recently elected)

     

     President  David A.Finkelstein ‘82
     Vice President  Joe Bednar ‘G00
     Treasurer  Joan Berkowitz '81
     Secretary  Nicole Bovell* ‘06
       
     Community Service Chairperson  Juliettte Mistrale* ‘93 
     Membership Co-Charperson  Tim Blonski* ‘10
     Membership Co-Charperson  Paul Adorno*  G'76
     Mentor Program Co-Chairperson  Joe Bednar* ‘G00
     Mentor Program Co-Chairperson  Chris Ransom '10
     Social Events Chairperson  Allie Levine '05
     Social Media Chairperson  Stephanie Voong* '12
     Speaker Series Chairperson  Spiro Dekantios* '03
     Webmaster  Michael Harney* '10


    As Always, if you would like to help out, or if you have ideas, do not hesitate to contact any Officer 

  • 04 Jun 2013 8:24 AM | David Finkelstein

    If you've thought about getting involved in the Whitman Alumni Club of NYC now is the time.  Our Annual Meeting and Elections is this Monday June 10  at Lubin House.


    While we will offer our usual faves (Picnic, Wine Tasting, Scotch and Cigars) we'd like your input and assistance to execute these and other new events.  Below is a list of our current volunteer needs.  You can find additional information on the positions here.

     

    Please sign up today and join us Monday June 10th.  If you cannot make it in person, a teleconference dial-in will be provided to all registrants.

     

    2013-14 Board Positions Available

    Officer*

    -Secretary


    Board of Directors Member^

    -Social Media Chairperson(s)

    -Speaker Series Chairperson(s)

    -Community Service Chairperson(s)

    -Membership Chairperson(s)


    Committee Members

    -Social Events Committee

    -Social Media Committee

    -Speaker Series Committee

    -Picnic Committee

    -Mentoring Committee

    -Community Service Committee


    If you are interested in the Secretary or Director positions, please contact any Officer with any questions.  We will nominate you for election at the Annual Meeting. Please be prepared to share with us your SU and career background, current activities/job as well as why you would be great in the position sought.


    * Two-year term

    ^ Three-year term

  • 12 May 2013 10:00 PM | Dan Montaigne (Administrator)

    The Whitman School of Management is included in this story as one of the schools offering an Entrepreneurship Bootcamp course teaching disabled veterans to start their own businesses.  The majority of this motivating broadcast segment was shot on-site at the school.

     

    Whitman on 60 Minutes - May 12, 2013 from Admin on Vimeo.

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