Kellogg Magazine | Alumni Wire

Club & Network News


The Kellogg Alumni Club of Austria partnered with the local alumni club of Chicago Booth in January to host the largest meetup of MBA graduates from either university in Austria to date. This unlikely partnership strengthened the connection of the local MBA alumni community, and great stories about Chicago created an instant bond among the alumni.


The Kellogg Alumni Club of Boston was busy during fall 2018. Highlights included a workshop with Director of Alumni Career and Professional Development Matthew Temple, Professor Tim Calkins' book tour, a Kellogg Cares event and a women's networking event.

In September, Matthew Temple held the workshop, "Designing Your Life" at Bain and Company for more than 30 alumni. In November, the club hosted Professor Tim Calkins, who shared his expertise on presentation skills and their role in effective and persuasive business leadership. He highlighted four concrete ways to become a stronger presenter that are included in his latest book, How to Wash a Chicken: Mastering the Business Presentation, which each of the 40+ attendees received. The club also organized a day of giving back at Open Table food pantry for Kellogg Cares Day in November. It was truly a family affair, with more than 20 volunteers who helped process 3,000 pounds of donated food, cooked a turkey dinner for 100, prepared meals for the elderly and prepared a week's worth of snacks for school kids. In December, the club held a women and wine event as the first in a three-part series of women-focused events.

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Kellogg Alumni Club Chicago-West continues to host its quarterly breakfast club, a networking and reconnecting event buoyed by the efforts of Larry Lifson '88 and Brian Langenberg '95. Recent events included a morning of pastries, coffee and conversation sponsored by Republic Bank in Oak Brook as well as a doubleheader with Professor Tim Calkins reviewing his book How to Wash a Chicken and his traditional Super Bowl ad review.

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The Kellogg Alumni Club of Cleveland continues to find new ways to engage local alumni in its smaller regional market. They successfully co-hosted events with the local Harvard and Wharton clubs, expanded event invitations to several other clubs in the area and found corporations to sponsor events to help offset attendee costs. More than 100 people attended the annual summer social, held on the shores of Lake Erie at the Shoreby Club in July, and the annual holiday gathering at a local restaurant in December. The club looks forward to an even more active 2019!

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Dallas/Fort Worth

The Kellogg DFW Network was very active in 2018, hosting the 12th Annual Leadership Symposium with Kellogg professors Carter Cast '92 and Esther Choy '09 and Kellogg alumnus Noah Zandan '12, the first major Women in Leadership event, "Ladies Leading Law Enforcement" and the 13th annual Summer Soiree supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters co-hosted with the DFW Northwestern Club. The club also hosted a Speaker Series educated workforce panel in conjunction with the Yale, Stanford and Harvard clubs as well as several Kellogg Leadership Forum events at companies like Pizza Hut, McKesson, Texas Capital and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

As busy as 2018 was, 2019 will be even more active. In January, Camelot Strategic Marketing hosted a Kellogg Speaker Series event for nearly 100 people about Roku and the changing TV landscape, and BCG Dallas hosted a Kellogg Leadership Forum event focused on artificial intelligence in which BCG experts shared current case studies. In February, UT Dallas hosted more than 250 DFW executives for the 13th Annual Kellogg Leadership Symposium featuring leadership experts including Professor Nicholas Pearce '10 '12 and Kellogg alumna Maria Thomas '92.

Throughout 2019, the club will also feature Speaker Series, Leadership Forum and Women in Leadership events, a DFW newcomers' happy hour and a holiday party. Kellogg alumni from all class years and cohorts will come together for a night of fun and music at the 14th Summer Soiree. Finally, the club continues to look for new ways to engage alumni and, in 2019, has created an integrated Kellogg Learning Experience across the year. For more information, please visit

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Gulf Cooperation Council

Pictured, left: GCC Club President, Roberto Ordonez '05 and The Kellogg Alumni Club of the GCC at NU Connects in Dubai.

The Kellogg Alumni Club of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Dubai on January 24 to join the rest of the Northwestern community around the world for NU Connects. The club is an 85+ alumni-strong community of multiple nationalities, programs and industries living across the GCC with a mission to leave a positive footprint of change across the region. The club represents alumni living in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.

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Mexico City

In 2018, the Kellogg Alumni Club of Mexico formalized the inclusion of the Monterrey, Mexico, chapter. It also offered eight events between the two cities, including entrepreneurship chats with Miguel Ramirez, founder of and, in Mexico City and Jesus Martinez Larralde of in Monterrey; a PE & VC panel with alumni Roman Uribe '94, Alejandro Diez Barroso '11, Alejandro Capote '05 and Gabriel Mizrahi '05; a Kellogg Zell fellows visit to Mexico City in December (pictured); and prospective student info sessions in both cities.

The club also fully integrated all NU Schools in Mexico City by formalizing the NU-Kellogg of Mexico, where it welcomed Kellogg, law school and NU representatives. This will help integrate all NU alumni in a better way by organizing events and promoting across all alumni.

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New Mexico

The Kellogg Alumni Club of New Mexico has organized quarterly gatherings over wine and cheese for founder-CEOs of startups in New Mexico. The purpose is to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem by ensuring everyone knows each other and has a chance to collaborate or help one another. More than 100 people came to the December get-together, the fifth in the series. Kevin McDonald '83, Dana Barnard '83, Jim Gil '94 and Tom Keleher '94 have all been active in this project.

New York

The Kellogg Alumni Club of New York is leading the way with targeted programming for women.

When she took a break from the workforce to raise her three children, Barb Golub '87 lost touch with Kellogg. Later, when she went back to work, she attended her 30-year Kellogg reunion and found herself wondering, "Why didn't I stay involved over all those years?"

Attending the Global Women's Summit in May 2018 inspired Golub to become more involved with Kellogg as an alumna. She was invited to join the Kellogg Alumni Council and connected with the local Kellogg Alumni Club of New York, with an eye toward helping female alumni stay connected with the school, no matter what their career stage.

Working alongside New York club leaders Humaira Arifin '13 and Tiffany Chen '17, Golub helped organize a successful women's networking event in December 2018. Now she's leading an effort with the Kellogg Alumni Council to create a toolkit so that other clubs across the country can easily create events, continuing the momentum from the Global Women's Summit and building on new local initiatives in places such as Dallas, San Francisco, Boston and the established, Chicago-based Kellogg Executive Women's Network.

"We tried to make the New York event as open as possible — if you're working, not working, thinking about going back to work, wanting to quit your job. Everyone's welcome, no matter what stage of life you're in as a woman," says Golub, who recently left her job with Path Forward, a nonprofit that helps people restart their careers after time off for caregiving. She recently founded Next Steps 4U, coaching people at all stages of their careers and helping companies run more effective internship programs. "Many of the women who attended the networking evening said it was their first Kellogg alumni event. To me, it felt like we were reaching people who might not normally engage with the club."

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San Francisco

Rob Webb '98, believes there should be a section of the Kellogg application that asks, "What does it mean to be a lifetime member of the Kellogg community?"

Webb, president of UnitedHealth Group Ventures, firmly believes that a student's relationship with Kellogg should not stop once they've earned an MBA. He's stayed connected in a number of ways, including as a member of the alumni advisory council under Dean Dipak Jain and by recruiting Kellogg graduates to work in the field of healthcare.

Now Webb is collaborating with Craig Garthwaite, associate professor of strategy and the director of the Program on Healthcare at Kellogg, to help the school strengthen its healthcare management pathway MBA program. In turn, Webb believes Kellogg and its graduates can help the industry tackle some of its biggest challenges.

"Kellogg is just really well-positioned to start to cut through some of [the issues in healthcare] and start to say, 'Hey, let's really look at these things from a different point of view,'" Webb states. "Kellogg is reaching out to the industry and saying, 'What is really happening in the market? And how can we contribute thought leadership?' People listen to what Kellogg has to say."

In January, Webb and Garthwaite had a wide-ranging conversation about current trends and issues in healthcare as part of an event organized by the Kellogg Alumni Club of San Francisco Bay Area and HCAK.

The conversation between Webb and Garthwaite ranged from infant mortality to depression screening to obesity — and a handful of other potentially contentious topics. And yet, alumni who attended the event were congenial and engaged, a reminder to Webb of the special culture Kellogg has created and maintained over the years.

"We presented some difficult ideas," Webb says. "And the reaction was consistently, 'How do we come together to address the root cause of these challenges?' And to me, that's just such a Kellogg value."

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Riz Vazir '14 didn't intend to become so involved with the Kellogg Alumni Club of Seattle when he moved there after finishing the Kellogg Evening & Weekend MBA program. But the "Kellogg spirit," as he calls it, took over, and he quickly became the club's president, balancing club leadership tasks with his job as a senior program manager at Microsoft and a young family.

Vazir, with help from his fellow Seattle club board members, has helped breathe new life into the group over the last few years. Today, the club hosts formal and informal events designed to create a sense of community among Seattle alumni, no matter whether they are fresh Kellogg graduates or established professionals with dozens of years of experience.

For example, the club organizes regular dinners hosted by a board member at his or her home or a restaurant. This simple concept has helped foster organic relationships among Kellogg alumni at all stages in their careers, Vazir says.

"To me, it's a clear signal of the type of people that come out of the broader Kellogg community and are willing to just participate in a conversation over a meal," he says. "The idea of the club was always to have community-based events where people can come together and get to know each other, both on a personal and a professional basis — they don't always have to be super orchestrated activities. The community should be lively enough to breathe and flourish on its own."

The Seattle club has successfully hosted events centered around Kellogg professors, including Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing, and Carter Cast '92, clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Vazir says he's proud of the club for making the visits meaningful for the professors too, connecting them with people or businesses in the Seattle market. When Calkins visited Seattle, for instance, the club helped facilitate three additional engagements for the professor at Microsoft.

One unique component of the Seattle club's success is a new initiative spearheaded by the Kellogg Alumni Council and Kellogg Alumni Relations that pairs senior alumni with local club leaders. Acknowledging the rapid growth and significance of the Seattle market, the school asked Gerron Vartan '67 to work alongside Vazir and the Seattle board.

"We really have functioned as partners in helping the club leadership figure out, 'What are you trying to achieve in the local community and how can I be supportive?'" says Vartan, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and manages AEGIS Partners, a consulting firm.

Vartan, a Pete Henderson Society member and past chair of the Kellogg Alumni Council, has also been working with the Seattle club to engage more senior alumni, a population that may have fallen out of touch with Kellogg programming and initiatives. Case in point, Vartan is working to create a senior alumni advisory group for the Seattle market.

"It's very easy to connect people with Kellogg because they're open to it and because they see the value in it," Vartan says. "People are receptive."

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South Florida

The Kellogg Alumni Club of South Florida had a strong 2018, hosting more than 10 events throughout the year. The events ranged from speaker talks on the Miami campus to social events connecting local alumni with current students to community outreach events. Working closely with the Miami campus Kellogg staff, the club hosted events that connected local alumni with current students graduating from the program. At the end of 2018, three new board members joined the alumni club and one stepped down. Felipe Echeverri '14, after completing his term as treasurer, transitioned his role to Prithi Ramakrishnan '14, who became the club's new treasurer. The club wants to thank Felipe for all his hard work incorporating it as a nonprofit and it wishes Prithi much success.

Felipe Conill '16 became the president of the club and Veronica Smith '11 joined as a board member. In 2019, the club will be formalizing the vice president and events chair roles for the board. The club's focus for 2019–2020 will be to create other types of events to engage the alumni community. Its second goal is to provide a springboard for recent Kellogg graduates who want to move to or do business in South Florida. To achieve this, the club will be working closely with the school as it seeks to increase its involvement in South Florida.

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Pictured: The Milwaukee Brewers hosted the Kellogg Alumni Club of Wisconsin and the HBS Club of Milwaukee at Miller Park on January 24, 2019. Alumni who attended included (L to R) Karen Hung (HBS Club); Jim Pondel '01; Carman Empey '14; Mike Schwartz '11; Bob Klug '76; Maureen Collins '14; and Margie Stratton-Norman '93.

The Kellogg Alumni Club of Wisconsin held a joint event with the HBS Club of Milwaukee at Miller Park on Thursday, January 24. Mike Schwartz '11, vice president of strategy and analytics for the Milwaukee Brewers, and David Sterns, president of baseball operations, hosted a roundtable discussion about the business of baseball and offered perspectives about the upcoming Milwaukee Brewers' season. More than 60 alumni attended and gleaned fascinating insights about similarities between the consumer packaged goods industry and the "product" of Major League Baseball.

The club's monthly event schedule will continue to be busy through June with a number of CEO breakfasts as well as onsite company events in March at Strattec (one of the world's largest producers of locks, keys and access control products for the global automotive market) and in June at Northwestern Mutual Life, at which Kellogg professor Kent Grayson will discuss "Trust in Business."

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Kellogg Executive Women's Network

These past few months, subsequent to the 2018 Kellogg Global Women's Summit, saw an increase in programming specifically directed to Kellogg alumnae. While KEWN has been primarily active in the greater Chicago area since 2003, regional clubs are now stepping forward to recognize and address the special interests of Kellogg alumnae.

KEWN continued to host a variety of signature events, as well as new programs. In September, KEWN held its 4th Annual Fall Social/New Member Welcome at Quartino Ristorante and Wine Bar in River North. It was a great evening reconnecting with classmates, networking with peers and meeting other new KEWN members.

In November, KEWN participated in the 2nd Annual Kellogg Cares Day with Sarah's Circle, a nonprofit organization with a mission of serving women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. Kellogg alumnae and friends gathered to prepare and serve a luncheon and visit with 50 women who are served by the nonprofit.

In December, KEWN held its 12th Annual Holiday Brunch/Networking Event to benefit Community Alternatives Unlimited. CAU is a private nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals with a wide range of disabilities, mental health needs and child welfare challenges. This event is always anticipated by KEWN members and represents the start of a giving holiday season. Also in December, KEWN members and guests gathered for a special evening with Dr. Janice Eberly, professor of finance at Kellogg, at Catalyst Ranch in the West Loop. Janice discussed economic policy in the current environment as well as women in public leadership.

In January 2019, KEWN held its 3rd Annual Women Entrepreneur Panel at EvolveHer in Chicago's West Loop to hear successful women share their experiences and challenges in funding and operating their businesses. Nearly 50 attendees enjoyed the event, with panelists including Sonali Lamba '12, co-founder and COO of Brideside; Katy Lynch, co-founder and CMO of Codeverse; and Linda Maclachlan '98, founder and CEO of Entara. Linda Darragh, the Larry Levy Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, acted as moderator.

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