Alumni volunteers permeate nearly everything we do here at CC, including serving on the Board of Trustees or the Alumni Association Board but also contributing time and talent as valuable resources to students in the classroom or to other alumni and parents at special programs.
Helping students with transition to the workaday world is as it has always been — of prime importance, and we are grateful that alumni are willing to share their connections, tips for internships or job opportunities, and lessons learned in a way that can benefit others. Alumni volunteer either through formal channels facilitated by the Office of Alumni and Family Relations or Career Center or through longstanding relationships with faculty and offices around the college.
Here are some examples of how alumni contribute time and talent to the CC community.
CC alumnae Camile Bzdek Blakely ’84 and Millie Olsen ’68 supported the Dynamic Half-Block course titled Advertising Agency Immersion. Blakely is managing director of marketing at iLending DIRECT, and owned a full-service advertising agency in Colorado Springs for nine years, and Olsen founded San Francisco-based Amazon Advertising. Olsen has been back to campus every year since 1999 to teach a two-day advertising course to economics students. In the class, Olsen teamed up with Liz Paul ’79 of Clorox who helped the students with a project pitch from a Fortune 500 nationally known brand. At the end of the course, the students presented ideas directly to the company’s brand strategy team via large-screen videoconference.
Anne Brataas ’76 has traveled from the Twin Cities to teach students about personal branding, building a portfolio, and recently “Building Your Freelance Writing Business: The Missing Manual for Successful Entrepreneurial Writing.” This last workshop focused on moving creativity into the billable realm. Participants learned the business basics of entrepreneurship and created a toolkit of business staples: forms, apps, a personal media kit, website, branded invoice, and logo, as well as a social media and outreach strategy — all ready to deploy when projects call. Brataas gives practical advice on making and sustaining relationships with freelance clients, how to structure and manage time, and how to line up mentors.
Students were also treated to a Half-Block course called Management Consulting by Kevin Boeh ’90, a corporate advisor and finance faculty member at the University of Florida. Students learned about the management consulting industry and choosing consulting as a career. Topics included an overview of the types of consulting, the key firms and their positioning, and the economics of consulting. With careers as a focus, Boeh discussed professional success factors, including structured problem-solving, analytical capabilities, communications and relationship skills, and various types of specialized knowledge and experience. Exercises to learn about and hone case interviewing skills, the primary method of screening potential consultants, were included.
The Stratton Series is made possible by a generous donation that allows alumni and parent speakers to visit campus and present career advice and one-on-one coaching sessions to students. Recently the series featured Ellie Wood ’10, regional director of environmental strategy and integration at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where she is responsible for the development and execution of sustainable aviation fuel strategy, customer engagement, and policy in the United States, Canada, and Southeast Asia. Jeremy Jepson ’99, director of public affairs for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, is another Stratton presenter. At Disney, Jepson leads global reputation management, working at the intersection of corporate responsibility, government and industry relations, and communications to address emerging risks to the hotel, amusement park, retail, cruise line, and restaurant industries. Don Strasburg ’91, co-president of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest, came to campus to share his experience promoting events at Red Rocks Amphitheater and working with musicians and the entertainment industry. These are just a few examples students have come to expect as part of the Stratton Series.
Rising Senior Symposium
The Career Center and Office of Alumni and Family Relations has teamed up since 2016 on a two-day program for students at the end of junior year. Students participate in work sessions on getting the most out of summer experiences; how to develop a network; the employment search process; graduate school and fellowship search process; navigating cultural differences in the workplace; personal finance; and tips on interviewing, résumés, dress, and more. Nearly 25 alumni and parents have volunteered each year, including Marc St John ’80, partner of CVC Capital Partners, and Jon Khoury ’84, CEO, Cottonwood Center for the Arts.
The inaugural Tiger Talks event was held in Denver at Buntport Theater Company, home to the creative pursuits of several CC alumni who formed a theatre company and were honored with a Spirit of Adventure Award by the Alumni Association in 2015. Buntport’s Brian Colonna ’00 hosted the TED Talk-style evening featuring five alumni addressing topics “Out of the Ordinary.” They were as diverse topically as the breadth of the liberal arts: Brittni Darras MAT ’12 spoke on “shifting the academic culture” and told how her act of kindness made the difference in the life of a student who was about to take her own life; Yolanda Avila ’85 presented on being an advocate, trailblazer, and city leader; Joe Barrera ’72 talked about volunteering for war, in his case, the Vietnam War, which did not resonate well with his classmates at the time; Mary Therese Anstey ’91, presented on balancing historic preservation and new building design in Denver; and Raphael Broh ’13 shared his story of finding his own passion, as a microbiologist by training who is presently working to redefine beer’s environmental footprint. Stay tuned: more Tiger Talks are planned for Denver in September.
Tiger Treks have taken place in Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. The premise of the program is to take 12 students competitively selected via application to a city to meet with alumni at their places of work. Several corporate or organizational visits are conducted over the course of two days. Sites visited have included World Affairs Council, New York Times D.C. Bureau, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. State Department, Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, Microsoft, Airbnb, Apple, and Google, to name a few. As part of the San Francisco Tiger Trek, students were hosted at an alumni reception at the home of So Yong Park ’87. For the Seattle program, Doug Barrett ’88, principal at Merriwether LLC, fully immersed himself in all things Tiger Trek by reviewing applications, hosting students, and giving a joint presentation with Bill Stafford ’63 about the Seattle economy and its emerging culture.
Sustainability and Climate Forum
In the last issue of the Bulletin, you read about the Office of Alumni and Family Relations’ collaboration with Professor of Economics Mark Griffin Smith on a Sustainability and Climate Forum in San Francisco. In January, Smith reprised the forum, this time in New York City with Stuart DeCew ’99, executive director at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment; Lucy Kessler ’08 who is pursuing a master’s of environmental management at Yale and is a program coordinator and writer for Clean Energy Finance Forum; and Chris Edmonds ’14, a sustainability consultant for high performance building design and certification efforts at WSP Built Ecology. Sarah Davidson ’09 was instrumental in securing the space at J.M. Kaplan Fund where the forum was moderated by Smith with rich discussion contributed by alumni participants. When Jonny Goldstein ’91, resident of New York, saw notice of the upcoming event, he volunteered his services as a visual note-taker (pictured above). Another forum is slated for Washington, D.C. in April with Marcia McNutt ’74, president of the National Academy of Sciences; moderating panelists Cy Keener ’98, an interdisciplinary artist who uses environmental sensing and kinetic sculpture to record, represent, and understand meteorological phenomena; Katherine Neebe ’97, who leads environmental, social, and governance strategy for Walmart; Jennifer DeCesaro ’97, director of technology-to-market for the U.S. Department of Energy; and Matthew Banks ’97, associate director of energy and sustainability at Navigant Consulting.
CC Across the Country
In March at the SFJAZZ Center, CC assembled a panel of “Changemakers Who Are Shaping Our World,” with President Jill Tiefenthaler; Trustee Bob Selig ’61; Crown Family Professor for Innovation in the Arts Ryan Bañagale ’00; Director of Innovation at CC Dez Menendez ’00; Kadi Energy Founder and CEO Paul-Miki Akpablie ’16; Logitech President and CEO Bracken Darrell P’15, P’21; IDEO Senior Community Designer Em Havens ’09; and ProTherimmune Principal Margaret Liu ’77, M.D. Participants reflected on how CC gave them the tools to pursue innovative work and lives.
There will be a CC Across the Country event in New York on April 19 and one in Chicago on June 21. These events are part of Building on Originality: The Campaign for Colorado College. Check the latest details: www.coloradocollege.edu/alumnievents
These are just a few of the efforts underway to engage alumni in ways that are both meaningful to them and to the beneficiaries of their good deeds and words of wisdom. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many alumni who continue to make a difference for CC.