What goals have you set for your term as president of the alumni association?
My main goal is to increase the awareness of the alumni association with the students currently enrolled at John Marshall. I graduated and was not aware that we even had an alumni association. I’ve got plans to introduce the alumni association to students while they are still in school and invite them to our networking events. I’m working with the Career Services Office to ensure that they let students know that their greatest resource for employment and mentoring exists right in the alumni association. The greatest asset that any student has is the alumni association.
I also would like to establish the goal of this association. I believe its main function is to provide networking opportunities with other alumni, and in order to do that, we need opportunities to network online and in person. Our association has had the benefit of some really great past presidents who have already established a number of networking events, events like the Freedom Award, Judge’s Night, and the Student/Alumni Exchange to name a few, and I hope to build on those a bit. We sponsored a cruise on the Spirit of Chicago at Navy Pier and we hope to do a few more events like Casino Night. The more alumni utilize their contacts, the more business the alumni are able to generate, which makes this alumni association successful. We should be familiar with who in the group does estate planning, or criminal law, so that when a need comes up, that person gets a call.
How do you anticipate meeting these goals?
We’re currently working on different ideas. One idea is to hold our monthly meetings in the afternoon. We’ll meet from 4 to 5 p.m. and then have a cocktail hour that the students will be invited to. The Career Services Office is going to help with passing some information to students. We’re going to put together a brochure about the alumni association and why students should be interested in attending events and why it is critical to helping them be employed. We’ve got plans to put together an event at graduation as well, to introduce them to the association and let them know the benefits of being active in the organization.
How can alumni get involved?
First, remember that everyone is a part of the alumni association. Alumni can get more involved by coming to events. It’s hard to network when you don’t come. People cannot follow your career or know what is new with you if you don’t come and talk to anyone. Everyone can benefit from coming to alumni events to network and meet new people, but you cannot do it from your office chair. People don’t seem to realize that the time to network for your next job, or to network for new business, isn’t when you need it. By then it’s too late. You should be meeting people on a regular basis, either to keep others informed about what you do, or just to mentor another attorney.
Whenever a family law issue comes up that I don’t know the answer to, the first thing I do is call my network of friends. Your network can keep you informed when new cases come down, when new positions open up at law firms, and the day-to-day events relating to others. Alumni who don’t utilize this association to network with their fellow alumni are really missing out. This is a great organization to keep you informed about so many things. I’ve kept up to date with classmates, mentored new attorneys, had wiser attorneys mentor me, and above all, it’s been a great socialization avenue for many years.