In the summer 2021 issue, I introduced the idea that “Dickinson is where you are” and challenged each of us to leverage technology and local engagement to enhance our mutually beneficial relationships with the college and one another. In this issue, I’ll share examples of how members of the Alumni Council have intentionally built relationships with their fellow alums and current students, and, in doing so, with Dickinson as an institution.
The statistics show that almost all of us will be impacted by what’s being called the Great Attrition, the Great Resignation and the Great COVID Job Churn, according to outlets like Forbes, McKinsey and The Wall Street Journal. Many of us are tired, grieving and wanting a new sense of purpose, and as a result, one recent survey by McKinsey showed that 40% of employees said they are at least somewhat likely to quit in the next 3-6 months. In one month this past spring, 4 million Americans quit their jobs, the greatest number ever recorded, according to CNBC. And Dickinson’s own Advising, Internships & Career Center website reminds us that the average worker has 10 jobs before age 40. The question this raises, then, is how we as Dickinson alumni can position ourselves and current students to benefit from this radical movement in the employment market.
Eric Fennel ’92’s approach suggests the answer may be tied to connecting with the broader Dickinson community to help cultivate a diverse professional network. Eric is vice president for national network strategy, innovation and value-based solutions for Aetna and joined the Alumni Council in fall 2020. Several years ago, one of Eric’s LinkedIn posts spurred a connection to Daniel Kaplan ’11, a fellow alum living in Southern California and also in the health-care innovation field as an investor. What started as a one-on-one conversation to discuss their profession led to sustained monthly chats, collaboration on investment ideas and business opportunities, and a growing network through sharing of professional contacts (as well as ideas for their respective vinyl collections).
Skip Persick ’83, P’18 is focused on generously sharing time and insights (in addition to specific job, externship and internship opportunities). Skip, who practices family law at Weber Gallagher, joined the Alumni Council in 2018. He calls his son Matt a “Dickinson Career Center success story.” Matt went from an internship with an alum to a full-time job with the same alum. Skip maintains that regardless of how mundane your job is, there is someone at Dickinson or in the 24,000+ member alumni community who wants to learn something about it. Provide opportunities for these individuals via the LinkedIn Career Community and AlumniFire.
Whether you are just beginning your career or are a seasoned working professional, Dickinson’s Advising, Internships & Career Center is available to serve you (a notable difference from many of our peer institutions where the career center focuses solely on the current student body!).
The Alumni Council met on campus in September for the first time since the pandemic. We came together with three goals: to strengthen relationships with one another, to connect with students, and to support the college in increasing alumni engagement. One of the most notable events was a networking reception and etiquette lunch with first-year students who opted in to the Explore More: Jumpstart to Connecting the Dots program, which was recently featured in The Washington Post. These students have only just begun their journey as Dickinsonians, but already they are thinking proactively about how to use their time on campus to gain not just the well-rounded, thought-provoking liberal-arts education that we all so cherish, but also the tools required to be career-ready professionals.
In the next issue, I will share more about how the time on campus spurred further reflection on my own affinity-groups (including the Blue Hats, caf workers, Phonathon callers and policy management majors) and how these affinity group relationships serve as a natural vehicle for engagement.
Published November 18, 2021