Engaging our AlixAlumni
Our Alumni Relations Manager shares her reflections on the power of a lifelong alumni network
With one year under her belt, Sandy Gelinas shares success stories, lessons learned and how alumni programs are an effective way to build your professional network
Reflections from one year in the role
Meet Sandy Gelinas
What has been different about the alumni program or AlixPartners than you expected?
Part of the reason I wanted to join AlixPartners was because I could see that the right building blocks were in place. We want our alumni program to be a benefit to our employees, from the time you were recruited to the firm, to the time you retire from your career. We want to build an influential and supportive community that serves alumni long beyond their tenure at the firm.
Coming from an education background into professional services, I anticipated that it would be harder to get attention for our alumni program, with the competing demands of client work, travel, business development and leading teams. I was surprised by just how invested everyone at AlixPartners is in our alumni, and their willingness to make alumni engagement a priority for the firm.
AlixPartners people recognize that fostering relationships with our alumni results in mutually beneficial outcomes for our alumni and for the firm. As a result, I found that our alumni have a strong allegiance to the firm, in a very similar way to educational institutions.
What have you enjoyed the most in the last year?
It’s really been a year of two halves. In my first six months I traveled to many of our global alumni events, meeting our alumni in person and understanding what they wanted—this was a fantastic way to get a grounding in how our alumni want to be engaged, and it was very clear that there is no “one size fits all." AlixPartners has grown very quickly, and it is my job to make sure our alumni know who we are as a firm today. I found that even for alumni who only left the firm in the last 5 years, there was some reorienting to do—providing great scope for me!
Then, of course, in the early part of 2020, COVID-19 hit. Seven of our events were cancelled and I’m proud of how quickly we were able to adapt and instantly pivot from live events to virtual engagement. I’m very used to changing on the fly, and I received a tremendous amount of support from our colleagues who are alumni champions, and the rest of our marketing team.
What are you most proud of?
The core of our program is to engage alumni how they want to be engaged, so I’m most proud of the progress we are making in that area. Over the course of the year I have seen many of our alumni attend multiple events (in person and online), we have had volunteers from across the community share their individual stories, and we have had 15 rejoiners to the firm.
The most successful networks are always about what the network can give to each other. Especially at this time, when the world is in a challenging moment, it has been amazing to see the professional and personal support within our alumni community. If I had one ask of our alumni, it would be to do that even more—share interesting things you have read, webinars you are attending, job postings you are hiring for—our LinkedIn group is there for all of us to stay better connected.