Talking with Alumni

July 18 — August 22, 2019

One of the great things about Loran is that alumni interact with every part of the organization on an almost daily basis. That means that I’m not the only person in the office that alumni speak with. This post is meant to give you an idea of what I get up to each month and a sense of what alumni are talking about across the network.

Who did I talk to? 

This month I spoke with 56 (ish) alumni in a substantial way. For now, the definition of “substantial” means an IRL meeting (or brief chat), a phone call, or an email exchange (one email going each way).

Combined with last month, I’ve had a substantial interaction with ~248 unique alumni in the last eight months.

What did we talk about? 

This is not an exhaustive list of topics, but it gives you a flavour of some of the conversations that we had together this month. The questions listed below each theme are meant to illustrate the theme; they are not the exact questions that came up in conversation.

Strengthening Community Bonds

After last month’s newsletter we received some reflections from alum about the idea of “re-meeting ourselves” and staying connected to our “why.” People shared ideas about ways that we could stimulate the informal ways that alumni are already doing this. We heard about a pair of alum who do yearly check-ins with each other, suggestions about using digital tools, and thoughts about how to strengthen attendance at local events.

  • What tactics could we use to create more opportunities for alumni to remind each other of their purpose?
  • How can we use what we’ve learned from the existing Alumni Hubs, to deepen the strength of the community?

Generations of Alumni

Our alumni community spans Generation X, Y, and Z and that means that we have both the opportunity and the challenge of learning how to work together in ways that recognize the unique contributions that each of us can make. We also have generations within Loran which means that we all have similar experiences, yet are shaped by different memories and moments.

  • How do we make sure that alumni from each generation are engaged in the organization?
  • In particular, what are the best ways to keep engaging the group of alumni from the 1990s?
  • What opportunities for support and learning exist because of our generational diversity?

Connexion 2020

We are inviting alumni from around the world to gather together in the fall of 2020 and we’re having lots of conversations to imagine what we might do together. We’ve spoken about the programming, location, purpose, and how to make it accessible for as many people as possible.

  • How can we encourage deep engagement at Connexion while also ensuring that as many people as possible get to connect?
  • How can we balance the social aspects of connection with a desire to host an event with engaging content?

Spaces to Grow

The Scholars’ Retreat at Crieff Hills inspired reflective conversations about the kinds of conditions that each of us need to grow. We spoke about recognizing the variety of conditions that help us to feel capable of meeting our goals and how our needs can change over time as circumstances change and we get to know ourselves better.

  • To what extent is what we need to grow today the same or different from what we needed when we were younger?
  • How do we help to create the conditions for others to feel able to grow and learn?

How did we see alumni engaging with Loran?

  • Organizing and attending the hub events NYC, Vancouver, and Halifax
  • Planning alumni events in Montréal and San Francisco,
  • Contributing to #livingloran
  • Writing for #risksforgood
  • Providing informal/formal mentoring to alumni and in-stream scholars
  • Presenting at the Scholars’ Retreat and 4th Year Transition Day
  • Coaching in-person and online during 4th Year Transition Day
  • Coordinating and supporting fundraising in New York and London, UK

What kind of activities are on the horizon?

  • Planning alumni events for the fall and winter
  • Connecting alumni in various cities to first year scholars
  • Distributing a survey to ask for alumni feedback on plans for Connexion 2020
  • Designing next year’s approach to the alumni fundraising campaign