Tag: higher education

AT16. Integrated marketing, racial equity and tough conversations with Tom Bull

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Today, I talk with Tom Bull, former Executive Director of Alumni Engagement at Portland State University.
Today’s trend lines include:
– alumni marketing and communication,
– trends in alumni engagement, and
– his perspective as an African-American in higher ed advancement.

Quick Listening Guide
at 4:26 Finding a passion for alumni relations
at 6:09 Four Foci: Student Outreach, Strategic Communications, Volunteerism On-Campus and Volunteerism Off-campus
at 6:28 Strategic Communications on a budget
at 8:51 Connect Alumni to the University not the Association
at 10:20 Adjusting to culture of campus and region
at 11:15 Unconscious bias and slights
at 11:59 Public vs Private
at 14:08 Honest truths about being a Black professional in higher education
at 17:30 Being anti-racist by having conversations
at 17:45 Be anti-racist by showing up
at 18:55 Be anti-racist by learning
at 20:32 Fair hiring practices in higher education
at 24:45 Alumni Clubs now called Networks

Tom Bull was the executive director for the Portland State University Alumni Association serving more than 185,000 (+) graduates 2011 – January 2020. He was responsible for overseeing and managing all alumni association activities and communications including serving as a member of the Foundation’s executive team for alumni engagement, Advocacy, and communications while representing the continuing interests and affinities of graduates at the University.

Tom has worked in the advancement field since 1995, serving in leadership roles for Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, DePaul University and Bastyr University. He has a strong belief in supporting communities: activities include service to his alma mater alumni in various volunteer roles, professional boards, student mentoring, neighborhood and community programs. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Loyola University Chicago and a master’s degree from Northwestern University.

AT15. Power of Partnerships with Microsoft’s Susan Vosper

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Today, I talk with Susan Vosper, the Chief of Staff for Customer Service and Support at Microsoft and former Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement at Seattle University.
Today’s trend lines include:
– power of partnership,
– corporate alumni groups, and
– lessons learned in corporate life and higher education.

Quick Listening Guide
at 2:43 Microsoft Exec turned high education pro
at 6:12 Diversified Business Experience
at 8:05 Complaining with solutions
at 9:38 Difference between corporate and higher education? Technology and Budget!
at 10:57 Environment where innovation and creativity thrive
at 11:21 Our biggest innovation where in our partnerships
at 12:20 Benchmarking against others
at 15:16 Corporate Alumni Chapters
at 18:13 Conversations on social justice at Microsoft
ay 21:20 What are you reading and binging?

As Chief of Staff for Customer Service and Support at Microsoft, Susan serves as an integral member and trusted advisor of the senior leadership team. She also leads Strategy & Business Planning which drives shared services for the organization including strategic planning, business management, communications, and employee experience.

Susan came back to Microsoft in October 2017 after successfully serving for 20 years building upon a broad portfolio of skills in operations, product planning, and change management. She backed the development of the company’s first sales operations team tasked with supporting Inside and Outside Sales. As a Business & Product Management Leader, Susan led strategic planning efforts and execution of initiatives such as leading organization development across global teams responsible for the delivery of technical support for Microsoft’s cloud services. Susan also brings significant business planning expertise through her experience overseeing the Corporate Controller’s office where she developed key financial and performance reporting, communications and strategic plans.

Prior to coming back to Microsoft, Susan spent over 6 years as Assistant Vice President at Seattle University where she oversaw the strategic direction for the alumni engagement strategy and outreach efforts. Susan built a world-class Alumni Engagement Office by restructuring their business based on a customer relationship management model, designed to position the institution as a forward-thinking organization igniting human potential and forming leaders for purpose and impact. Susan excels at setting organizational vision, leading major change, scaling operations, and building positive organizational culture.

She holds a BA in Psychology & Communications and a Leadership Executive MBA, both from Seattle University.

On a personal note, Susan is married to Douglas and both are avid dog lovers with two golden retrievers Jupiter (11) and Darby (6). Outside of family, Susan is passionate about creating great experiences for customers and employees, creating clarity and strategic direction, and helping her team achieve their goals as well as reading, gardening and being a fitness junkie. 

AT14. Lessons Learned: Virtual Events with Hilary Cohen

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Today, I talk with Hilary Cohen, Senior Director of Alumni Engagement at Rutgers University- – New Brunswick.
Today’s trend lines include:
– alumni engagement strategies,
– virtual events in response to COVID 19,
– trends in alumni engagement.

Quick Listen Guide
at 2:40 What do you love most about your work? The results…
at 3:30 Difference between corporate and higher education? BUDGET
at 4:52 Outcome driven event planning
at 8:25 COVID 19 and switch to virtual
at 10:26 Lessons Learned with virtual events
at 13:18 Strategic approach to events
at 15:06 Post-COVID 19 engagement
at 17:18 Fall plan without Rutgers Athletics
at 19:54 Navigating without a map
at 20:45 B1G Community of Practice
at 21:26 Re-org forced by COVID
at 23:54 Lightning Round: book recommendations, pizza and advice
at 28:15 Epic Engagement: Mosaic and the Who

Hilary started at Rutgers in December 2014 as the Senior Director for Events and Benefits for the Rutgers University Alumni Association, a title she held until July, when she became the Senior Director of Alumni Engagement – New Brunswick. Hilary came to Rutgers with 15 years of event planning experience, though Rutgers is her first foray into the higher education industry. Prior to Rutgers, Hilary worked at a variety of financial institutions, trade associations and founded her own event and meeting company. Hilary received her BA in English from Haverford College in Haverford, PA and earned her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) in August 2014.

AT13. Affiliate Groups and Volunteers with Scott Francis

Stay #OnTrend with Scott Francis

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Today, on this episode I talk with East Carolina Pirate, Scott Francis. Scott is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and President of the ECU Alumni Association board at East Carolina University.
Today’s trend lines include:
– his career,
– affiliate groups – the Florida Gator way,
– fall plans in response to COVID 19,
– and his perspective as an African-American in higher ed advancement.

Quick Listening Guide
at 3:28 Scott’s Career progression
at 4:01 Baseball Career (BA .167)
at 10:40 Affiliate Groups: The Gator Way
at 13:36 Florida’s Association of Black Alumni and Association of Hispanic Alumni
at 15:21 Programming beyond Athletics
at 17:43 Welcome to the GatorHood
at 20:07 Race and Ethnicity based Affiliate Groups
at 34:36 Lessons in Leadership through COVID 19
at 39:48 Experience as an African-American higher education professional
at 45:54 What’s Trending in Advancement


Scott Francis is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and leads the alumni team. In this role, he works directly with the ECU Alumni Association board, serving as its President.

Scott joined the Pirate Nation in August of 2019, bringing 20 years of Higher Education experience to the role. Scott served his first 12 years in higher education in housing and residence life, followed by 7 years serving as the Director of Gator Clubs and Affiliate Groups for the University of Florida Alumni Association where he was responsible for support and development of the 95 Gator Clubs®, and the 6 affiliate groups, representing over 422,000 alumni.

A graduate of Stockton University, Scott earned a degree in Criminal Justice. He also earned his Master of Science degree from Western Illinois University in College Student Personnel. Scott hails from South Orange, New Jersey and lives in Winterville, NC with his wife Stephanie and their children Steven (8) and Isabelle (6).

Scott is committed to the vision of the ECU Alumni Association developing and executing programs and initiatives that transform the experience of being a Pirate.

AT12. The Alumni Trending Origin Story with Michael Sgro

What’s Up Trendsetters!

On this episode I talk with Michael Sgro, higher ed veteran, executive coach, superhero, the godfather and OG of the Alumni Trending brand! Michael is the owner of Michael Sgro Leadership Coaching in Syracuse
Today’s trend lines include:
– the Alumni Trending origin story,
– executive coaching,
– and his perspective on higher ed advancement.

Quick Listening Guide
at 3:30 Alumni Trending Origin Story
at 6:04 #AlumChat on Twitter
at 8:35 Creating an Online Community of Practice
at 13:16 Serving your Purpose
at 15:31 The role of an executive coach
at 20:54 Motivation to achieve your goals
at 22:01 The Leadership Challenge for post COVID 19 world

Michael D. Sgro is a business owner, a certified professional coach, an advocate, a performance expert and empathic leader. He coaches professionals to improve their overall effectiveness, leadership skills, career readiness, digital savvy and so much more. Michael’s vision for himself is to help people achieve their human potential through relationship building, developing emotional intelligence and community building. 

Sgro, a Syracuse native, ascended the ranks in higher education at several institutions in New York state, earning a stellar reputation for his work with constituent engagement, program management, professional networking and digital marketing. He spent 20- years on college campuses in New York City and the Central New York area before coming home to Syracuse to start his own coaching practice. 

Michael has earned several honors through the years, including the NYU Advocate for Change Award, the SUNYCUAD award for best alumni program, the Downtown Syracuse Committee Perfect Partner award and the prestigious Le Moyne College Ignatian Award for Service.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Le Moyne College, a certificate in business coaching from the Professional Business Coaches Alliance of North America, a certificate in project management from the American Management Association and is a certified facilitator of Extended DISC.

AT11. Unshackle Greatness with Kim Nyoni

What’s Up Trendsetters!

On this episode of the Alumni Trending podcast, I visit with Kim Nyoni, Associate Vice President for Development at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Kim Nyoni talks about and asks all of us to take the pledge and make a difference so that equity and inclusion can thrive in advancement.

Today’s trend lines include:
– the power of philanthropy,
– mentoring and team building,
– anti racism,
– and the pledge (AADO and Black Leaders in Advancement)

Quick Listening Guide
at 5:03 My Mission: Unshackle Greatness
at 8:17 Building Institutional and Professional Relationships
at 14:04 Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch Everyday
at 22:36 Black Leaders in Advancement
at 26:33 The Pledge Diversity and Inclusiveness in Advancement
at 28:00 How are we Sourcing Talent?
at 31:07 White Privilege and Institutional Racism
at 33:46 Unconscious Bias in Career Advancement
at 38:01 Coconspirators in Anti-Racism
at :43:04 Diversity in the Board Rooms
at 44:14 What’s Trending in Advancement

Kim Nyoni serves as an Associate Vice President for Development with the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).  He is a seasoned fundraising executive with over fifteen years of experience in higher education. Kim has been with UNLV since 2017 and oversees fundraising teams that work to secure philanthropic gifts in support of UNLV’s strategic priorities in academics and athletics. Additionally, Kim is responsible for working closely with academic leaders to develop and execute fundraising initiatives.   

Kim started his career at the University of California Berkeley and served in key fundraising roles at Washington University, Utah State University, University of Arizona, and the University of Missouri. Kim joined UNLV from the University of Missouri, where he served in various leadership roles in university advancement.  

Kim is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a Master of Arts in Advertising and a Bachelor of Journalism in Broadcasting. He also attended the Institute of Education Management (IEM) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  He enjoys serving the Las Vegas community as a proud member of The Rotary Club of Las Vegas. Kim is an avid Nebraska Cornhusker, a Lifetime Member of the University of Nebraska Alumni Association and a proud Las Vegas Raiders fan.