Fall '11 Reunion Volunteers Rise to Occasion
Last fall nearly 600 Booth alumni from the classes of 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2010 gathered to celebrate their reunions. Through class dinners, classroom sessions, wine tastings, and campus tours, alumni reconnected with each other and dean Sunil Kumar, who attended many of the events.
"I left each of the reunion events invigorated by the esteem and affection the alumni showed for the school and each other," Kumar said. "As a professional school, it is very important for us to keep our alumni close. The reunions are a key component of our alumni engagement strategy."
None of this, including the generous reunion gifts Booth received, could have been accomplished without the passion and dedication of reunion volunteers. Following are three of the volunteers' stories.
From Booth to Beijing - and Back
For some Booth alumni, the one-year reunion wouldn't warrant traveling around the world. But it did for Zhiyong (Jason) Yang, '10. Yang, who served on his reunion committee, flew in for the reunion from Beijing with his wife.
"The one-year reunion was very important to me. During my time at Chicago Booth, I got to know so many great people," Yang said. "The US and China are critical economic powers, and I came back to stay updated on information and opportunities in both countries."
Yang was elected vice president of the Chicago Booth Alumni Club of China in 2011 and remains committed to facilitating communication between Booth and its alumni. He corresponded with his classmates and worked with the rest of the committee to organize the reunion.
"It was a good opportunity for me to reach out and get to know alumni in Asia," said Yang, director of the future business division at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Beijing.
Fundraiser Raises the Bar
To Brian Kasal, '06 (XP-75), giving back to Booth was the least his class could do for their five-year reunion.
"We all have the benefit of the great reputation of Chicago Booth," said Kasal, who served as the five-year reunion fundraising co-chair along with classmate Chris Wrobel, '06 (XP-75).
"We all owe the school for continuing to be relevant and receiving accolades that make all of us look good."
Kasal, who is the senior vice president and portfolio management director for the Fort Dearborn Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Chicago, implemented some of his strategies from fundraising for the Boy Scouts of America to collect donations from his class.
"Fundraising is always about new energy - where everything that worked before doesn't always work forever," Kasal said. "You can get stale, so you have to find a new angle."
When he and Wrobel called up their classmates to donate, they encouraged them to extend their gifts, a bold move that helped break the five-year reunion dollar record. Kasal said he enjoyed his role with his reunion committee, especially because it gave him the chance to motivate newer Booth graduates.
"I tried to keep that nucleus going - part for friendship, part for business."
10-Year Reunion Breaks Attendance Record
When Susan Elolampi, '01, and Pam Marroquin, '01, agreed to serve as program chairs for their 10-year reunion, they thought carefully about recruiting a diverse reunion committee to maximize the number of classmate connections.
"We thought about classmates in a variety of geographies, professions, and social networks," said Elolampi, managing director of the financial sponsors group at J.P. Morgan. "When I moved from New York to London in August, I increased my email outreach and discovered a couple other classmates who had recently moved to Europe."
The committee's outreach paid off - her class broke the attendance record for 10-year reunions.
"It was amazing how many people were at our class dinner," she said. "Every time I turned around there would be someone else who I hadn't seen in 10 years. It was a great night."
In the past, Elolampi had attended reunions and recruited on campus, but getting involved as a volunteer on the committee helped her get the most out of her reunion experience, namely reconnecting with classmates.
"I feel like it's really important to not only give back, but to organize an event for us to all come together," she said. - Rachel Skybetter
ARA Scholarship Program Expands to 12 Recipients
Last fall Chicago Booth announced the recipients of the 2011 - 12 Alumni Recognition Awards, which provide a merit-based scholarship worth $10,000 to exemplary second-year students. As part of the recognition, each student is paired with an alumnus who has excelled in his or her field and has agreed to act as a mentor.
"It's an excellent opportunity for me," said Benjamin Krop, a scholarship recipient. "Programs like this are crucial for students - it gives us a chance to attend a school like Booth and make meaningful connections with alumni." - Rachel Skybetter
Stand-Up Students: 2011 - 12 Alumni Recognition Award winners include, from left, David Van Der Beek, Sean Sires, Justin Ruflin, Daniel Shani, Gale Bowman, David Kim, Benjamin Krop, Maksim Piskunov, Michael Neiss, and Andreas Stocker. (Not pictured: Carmelo Barbaro and Matt Blomerth)
Recipients and Mentors
Michael Neiss with Michael Armstrong, '02, senior vice president and general manager, BET International and Paramount Pictures Channels, New York.
David Kim with Eduardo Carrillo Diaz, '76, chairman, Casa de Bolsa Finamex, Guadalajara, Mexico.
Justin Ruflin with Carolyn Chan, '02, partner, Heidrick & Struggles, Singapore.
Daniel Shani with Dean Curnutt, '96, president, Macro Risk Advisors, New York.
Maksim Piskunov with Paul Donofrio, '90, head of global banking, Bank of America, New York.
Carmelo Barbaro with Ghian Foreman, '01, president and chief marketing officer, Retirement Plan Advisors, Chicago.
Matt Blomerth with Ilham Habibie, '03, president and chief executive officer, PT Ilthabi Rekatama, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Benjamin Krop with Logan McDougal, '00, vice president of customer marketing and operations, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Chicago.
Gale Bowman with Merilee McDougal, '00, consultant manager, GfK Strategic Innovation, Chicago.
Andreas Stocker with Byron Rader, '97, chief financial officer, Microsoft France, Paris.
Sean Sires with Beth Satterfield, '98, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Glencoe Capital, Chicago.
David Van Der Beek with Bassam Yammine, '94, managing director and co-chief executive officer for the Middle East, Credit Suisse, Dubai, UAE.
25th Reunion Chair All Business about Alumni Weekend
Stephen Limpe, '87, is approaching this spring's 25-year reunion the way any Booth alumnus would: like a business.
Limpe, CEO of Petro-Chem Development Co., Inc., a specialty engineering company serving the global oil refining and petrochemicals markets, is chair of the Booth class of 1987 reunion - a big task considering it's only the second consecutive year that Booth has aligned a large reunion with the University's Alumni Weekend, which takes place June 1 and 2. There are no 25-year reunions held during the fall.
"Since I run an operational business, I thought I could provide value in helping to organize the reunion, on top of contributing money," Limpe said. "I'm looking at this like it's a start-up business and measuring success in terms of both our turnout and the funding that's raised for Booth."
Limpe wasn't always so involved with Booth. Although he did some recruiting early on after graduation, he never made it back for any reunions and he largely lost touch with his classmates. It wasn't until he visited Booth a year and a half ago that he realized how much he wanted to give back.
"I was blown away by all of the progress that has been made at Booth over the past 25 years," Limpe said. "It made me reflect on my career and how my education at Booth helped prepare me for what I'm doing now."
Limpe's talent for business and passion for Booth resulted in the creation of a 20-member volunteer committee, which is twice as big as any other 25-year group in recent history, according to Tali Griffin, senior associate director of Booth's Annual Fund and Reunions.
The weekend will honor both Limpe's class as well as alumni who graduated in 1986 and earlier, the Quarter Century Club. Booth's presence during the University's Alumni Weekend has gradually increased, and Limpe hopes to increase attendance numbers substantially this year.
In addition to University-wide Alumni Weekend events, the Booth reunion will include tours of the campus and the Charles M. Harper Center; a school update by dean Sunil Kumar; a back-to-the-classroom session with Robert Aliber, professor emeritus of international economics and finance, who taught many of the returning alumni; and a celebratory class dinner at Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House.
"It would have been more traditional to host it in a hotel ballroom or one of the business school buildings, but we wanted to pick a venue that would give people a reason to come back," Limpe said of Robie House. "It's a special, world-famous place, and it's right next to the business school."
Limpe and the committee are focused on outreach, using social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to strengthen ties in the Booth community. A lot of the ways alumni connect have changed in the 25 years since Limpe was a student at Booth - campus was a much different place with a lot less school spirit, he said.
"We're just pounding the pavement," Limpe said. "I'm a big believer that the most effective way to do this is through networking. If everyone contacts 10 or 15 people, then you get viral marketing going on and that's really what it's all about." Limpe hasn't lost the ambition the school instilled in him 25 years ago, which is evident in his approach to planning the reunion.
"Like a lot of Booth people, I'm a competitive person, so if I take something on I want it to be as successful as possible," Limpe said. "I think we all owe a great deal to Booth for wherever we are and whatever we have become. Now's the time to step up and reconnect with all of those people who were just as young and naïve as you were 25 years ago." - Rachel Skybetter
To volunteer for on your Reunion committee, contact Alumni Affairs and Development at reunions@ChicagoBooth.edu or 866.557.1806.
Council on Chicago Booth Gets Six New Members
Six alumni have joined the Council on Chicago Booth this year: Calvin Baker, '69, managing director and senior portfolio manager, Brown Capital Management; Charles Cannon, '82, chairman and CEO, JBT Corporation; George Kadifa, '89, director, Silver Lake Partners; Craig Kipp, '83, president and CEO, Boart Longyear; Jorge Saieh, AM '97,
MBA '98, chairman, Banco CorpBanca; and Ron Tarrson, '72, owner, Santa Fe Aero Services.