Kellogg School way
representatives and club presidents keep the Kellogg spirit
all the time.
ready to make your next career move, and the person who
provides you with the crucial job lead is a fellow Kellogg
graduate. Or you receive a phone call from a recent alum
who is researching career opportunities in your field.
traveling in a far-off land and notice a Kellogg sweatshirt
on a fellow sojourner. You strike up a conversation and
create a new friend and potential business contact.
think about the people who are closest to you, and a few
Kellogg classmates are near the top of the list. You might
even be getting together with some of them this weekend.
is manifested, the alumni network provides abundant support
and friendship for thousands of Kellogg grads. Nurtured through
alumni club activities, reunions and the Class Notes section
of Kellogg World, the network is as much a part of the
Kellogg experience as group projects and CIM Week.
Hori, Assistant Dean and Director of the Career Management
Center, speaks with recruiters after a roundtable discussion
in Minneapolis / St. Paul.
"The network serves an incredible purpose, on both a personal
and a business level," says Jana Pompadur Kierstead, who
represents the Class of 1997. "It helps people look for
jobs, start businesses, socialize and extend the Kellogg brand.
It's a very important network."
To be sure, Kellogg's emphasis on teamwork encourages strong
bonds between classmates. Lifelong friendships are often born
during late-night study groups, club activities and GIM trips.
But the strength and vibrancy of the network is due in large
part to its infrastructurea volunteer corps of several
hundred alumni dedicated to extending the Kellogg experience
More than 100 of these alums serve as class representatives,
soliciting and compiling news about their class for each issue
of the alumni magazine. Another 60 or so are presidents of alumni
clubs in cities as far-flung as Sydney, Seoul and San Diego.
They organize social events such as cocktail hours, community
service projects and lectures by visiting Kellogg professors.
Many are as busy with career and family responsibilities as
any other Kellogg alum. Why take on the added task of building
one of the world's great alumni networks?
For many, the answer is simple: a sheer love for the school
and the opportunities and friendships it created.
"Kellogg is such an amazing place," says Rosalind
Van Tuyl, who represents the Class of 2000. "There's an
unbelievable spirit of friendliness and community. It's not
just the students, but the administration, faculty and service
people. It's the most valuable thing to me in the world. I want
to be a part of helping it grow."
"I really value this community and this group of people,"
adds Katie Glockner Seymour, co-representative for the Class
of 1984 with Alisa Levy Klein. "Our class got along well
and had a great time. I like to keep our connections strong."
After graduation, representatives become the hub for news about
class members. Each compiles a thrice-yearly column based on
e-mail notes, phone calls and letters from classmates around
the world. Many relish the opportunity to reach out to peers
years after graduation. The responses are often heartwarming
"I get loads of responses back," says Melanie Brownrout,
representative for the Class of 1998. "Sometimes people
write back and say, 'I don't really have anything to report,
but I just want to check in.' It's rewarding to get so many
Brownrout, former editor of the Kellogg student newspaper The
Merger, was nominated for the job by her classmates. "I
love writing," she explains. "This is an opportunity
to do that, in a really fun way."
Brownrout says she never likes to think of Class Notes as a
"gossip column," though she admits to being questioned
by classmates who "come up to me and say, 'OK, so tell
me the dirt on so-and-so because you must know what's really
"It's great to talk to people and find out who's getting
married and having babies and so forth," adds Kierstead.
"People really seem to appreciate the work you do to keep
the class up to date."
The job can also be an important way of gathering support for
life transitions. Seymour notes that as class rep, she has been
in contact with many other women striving to balance careers
and young families. "You feel like you're not the only
one with a crazy life," says the mother of three. "That
sort of camaraderie has been very beneficial over the years."
graduates settle into their lives, they're less likely to report
a promotion, marriage, birth or retirement than those whose
memories of Kellogg are relatively fresh. That doesn't have
to be the case, Seymour says.
Area Alumni Club leaders meet with Dean Jain during a
visit to Intuit.
"You don't need to wait for a big event- people just like
to hear about family life or other activities," she says.
"They just like to hear about how other people are doing."
Karl Abt '48 agrees. In fact, the longtime class rep has taken
it upon himself to increase the flow of news to his classmates.
Through questionnaires or phone calls, he inquires about careers,
families and other activities. "If you wait for a letter
to come in telling you the news, you'll never hear anything,"
He aims to contact at least five alums for each issue. He almost
always finds a pleasant reception, even from peers he has not
heard from in half a century. "Everybody is always happy
to talk," he says. "It's a nice communication."
Abt is driven by both pride in the school and a sense of gratitude,
having attended Kellogg on a scholarship. He's found other ways
to stay involved, including playing clarinet in Northwestern's
The passage of time has made Abt's job as class representative
more compelling. In some ways, he feels he is bearing witness
to the accomplishments of his peers. "People have led interesting
lives," he says. "It's nice to keep their classmates
aware of them."
Club presidents face a different challenge. Their goal is to
create opportunities for alums to reconnect and re-experience
the Kellogg culture. Their role requires initiative and creativity.
But many say it's worth the extra effort for the chance to interact
with new and old Kellogg friends.
"Personally, I've realized how much I've gotten out of
attending Kellogg, and because of that, I've wanted to give
back to the school," says Sarita Soldz '91, president of
the Atlanta alumni club. "I love meeting Kellogg people
and finding out what they are doing. Everyone has a pretty amazing
story. And of course, the people I've met are just great."
Soldz notes that alumni clubs provide many opportunities for
Kellogg grads to meet each other, including social, networking
and educational events. Soldz and the Atlanta club have coordinated
cocktail hours, luncheons, Atlanta Braves baseball outings and
a forthcoming career workshop.
The work can be time-consuming, but rewarding. "I looked
at what I could do for the school and decided I could make the
biggest impact not just by giving money, but by also giving
my time," says Soldz. The return on her investment is a
thriving Atlanta alumni base that enjoys an increasing array
of opportunities to get together.
Niraj Singh '00 is trying to bring some of that to New Jersey.
The alum, who moved to the Garden State from Chicago last spring,
has taken it upon himself to revitalize a club that had largely
To do this, he has established contact people from the last
15 graduating classes among the 650 alumni in New Jersey, and
is working to establish a board. His efforts will get a boost
on Dec. 11, when Dean Dipak Jain will be the guest of honor
at a club dinner (for more information or to attend the event,
contact Singh at email@example.com).
"An alumni club is a great networking opportunity,"
says Singh. "At the end of the day in the corporate world,
it's who you know, as well as what you know. I figured that
if we could start a forum like this, it would be a great place
to leverage our connections with each other, as well as enjoy
each other socially."
The Kellogg alumni network has perhaps never seemed so important
as it did in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
in Washington and New York.
Class representatives and club presidents report that the phone
lines and e-mailboxes were jammed with inquiries from classmates
seeking information about friends and acquaintances. Many say
they were glad to be the person their peers turned toand
thrilled to be able to report that almost everyone had escaped
"People were looking to me to give them information about
our classmates," says Van Tuyl. "I was flooded with
e-mails, and I started sending out notes to everyone on the
distribution list. It was amazing to me how quickly our class
had responded. Within a day and a half, we'd learned about the
safety and whereabouts of about 130 people from Washington and
New York. I was stunned by how quickly our class had come together."
"I know that Kellogg was where a lot of people's heads
turned initially," agrees Kierstead. "It certainly
impressed upon me how close we still are."