Regional Program Team : What do we do?
• We act as regional ambassadors for Cornell’s Mission,
which is: to discover, preserve, and disseminate
knowledge; produce creative work; and promote a culture
of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell
community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to
enhance the lives and livelihoods of our students, the
people of New York, and others around the world.
• We connect alumni back to Cornell and to each other so
they can reap the benefits of their education throughout
• We provide clubs with contact information for the alumni in
your region, a common structure under which to operate,
leadership training opportunities, and tools to get the work
RAQs (Recently asked questions):
• What’s the rollout schedule for CornellConnect?
• Are we eliminating club dues?
• How is the annual announcement process changing?
• Will the book awards program continue?
• What’s happening with the Cornell Alumni Federation
Faculty Speaker Series?
• There’s still going to be a Zinck’s night, right?
• Where’s the annual planning packet and the 2009
• Who is our staff contact?
What’s the schedule for Cornell Connect?
• CornellConnect is a new web-based collection of communications and networking
tools. The biggest benefit for clubs is an online events management tool that gives
you much more autonomy. You can post your own events, collect credit card
payments online, and send your own HTML emails using the most up-to-date contact
information we have for alums in your region.
• Read more about the other features and benefits of the tool here:
• We’re doing a soft-launch with a few staff-driven events in the fall and will start rolling
it out to the masses shortly thereafter, assuming the initial experiences are positive.
• We’ll be starting to train you, our alumni volunteer leaders, this fall.
• If you don’t have a designated web master and a designated event planner who can
take the training, we can help you find someone in the region to join your board and
take on this task.
Are we eliminating club dues?
• An average of 5.2% of alumni pay club dues; that means 94.8 don’t.
For many reasons it makes sense for the university to eliminate club
dues. A full presentation on the how, what, why is in progress.
• Here’s the short version: alumni feel we’re nickel and diming them and
they feel their diploma – not a $30/year fee - grants them lifelong
membership to the Cornell family. From the “what’s best for Cornell”
standpoint, we’d rather invest the necessary funding into clubs and ask
volunteers to spend their collective intelligence engaging alumni and
furthering the Cornell brand in their communities, not on the
administrivia of fee collection.
Are we eliminating club dues (cont)?
• We’re taking a few volunteer clubs as “early adopters” of this dues-free
model, to consult with us as we work out the mechanics and processes.
Once we work out the kinks we will roll this out to all clubs.
• Several of our college alumni associations and peer institutions have gone
dues-free and report overwhelming success.
• We’ve recently moved to a much, much more streamlined expense
reimbursement and approval system, so staff finally have the right behind-
the-scenes tools to do this right.
If you are interested in participating in the pilot and acting as our
• Suspend membership recruitment efforts, but keep planning events and
activities the same as you always do; the only thing that will change is who
funds activities above and beyond break-even.
• Contact Jennifer Cunningham at email@example.com or
607.254.6196 to discuss; it’s much too complicated to include all the details
in this one presentation!
How is the annual announcement process
• Long before email, Alumni Affairs established the policy that once a
year we would mail a printed membership appeal and list of the year’s
events to all mail-able alumni in a club region.
• Simply put, electronic invitations and announcements are vastly more
effective. The Cornell Entrepreneur Network , our most popular staff-
driven program, consistently has through-the-roof attendance numbers
and hasn’t sent a paper mailing in 18 months.
• Snail mailing the traditional printed annual announcement costs (inc.
staff time) almost as much we collect. It also takes an enormous
amount of administrative time and counters the sustainability initiatives
that David Skorton has laid out for Cornell.
How is the annual announcement process
• As many of our peer institutions have already done, we are moving towards a
more effective, financially viable and earth-friendly model whereby we’ll only
send printed mailings to alumni who do not have a valid email address (currently
about 60% of alumni have a valid email on file with us; we estimate 90% of
alumni have one, but have not provided it to us).
• We’re also going to use a self-service system for printed materials this year.
You’ll type your information into a web-based form, we’ll plug it into a template,
clean up the formatting, and send it via bulk mail through Cornell Print Services.
• In the next couple weeks you’ll receive the information for the web-based form.
• On every print piece you should add an appeal for alumni to send us their
correct email address so in several years almost all of our communication will be
electronic and it will reach everyone. Additionally, every print piece should
include a link to your club website so alumni know where to go to get current
board contact information, up-to-date event information, etc.
Will the book awards program continue?
• The idea behind the book awards program, to increase awareness of
Cornell in select high schools, is very sound; it’s the method that needs
• Given the ease of buying books in bulk online, our staff no longer plays a
substantive role in supporting the book awards program.
Possible Next Steps?!
• In lieu of projects like this, we would like to spend our time working with you
to solve your region's biggest challenges while promoting Cornell's mission
and brand. Examples from our peer institutions’ regional clubs include
mentoring K-12 students, aggressively encouraging alumni to hire
Cornellian interns/graduates, working with regional officials to stop the brain
• If you’re interested in this concept, or are already doing it (NE Ohio!) and
could share your stories to help us formulate a position and process, please
What’s happening with the Cornell Alumni Federation
Faculty Speaker Series?
You’re aware that we put this program on hiatus so we could re-assess the
processes. In May we announced a new name to represent the new direction: Cornell
on the Road: Any person, any study…any place.
•A new full-time position was created and Kelly Speiser began in May. She comes to
us with ready-made relationships with several dozen faculty members and she has
already produced a few events.
•We’ll produce 30 to 50 in-person Cornell on the Road (COR) events/year, with a
dozen or so webinars/live video events so alumni world-wide can participate.
•Primarily we’ll produce events in cities where faculty are already traveling to take
advantage of their pre-paid travel arrangements and precious time resources.
•Not every club will get a faculty speaker every year; instead we will work with you to
produce different types of draws, such as a Cornell Entrepreneur Network event
featuring “rock star” alumni in your region.
•A dedicated webpage and brand is launching in the next couple weeks.
•The program is fully funded by the University.
•Club leaders are being asked to participate by helping to find venues, introduce and
host speakers at events, and work with Kelly on special events.
What’s happening with the Cornell Alumni
Federation Faculty Speaker Series (cont)?
• Expect to get invitations to several faculty-led
webinars and live videos, no matter where you live
• Expect to see more staff-driven events featuring
students and alumni as speakers.
• Listen to hear faculty interviewed on your local media
(we’re working with University Communications on
• Expect to hear from Kelly Speiser when a faculty
member is coming to your region.
• Sign up to follow COR on Twitter:
There’s still going to be a Zinck’s Night,
Yes, of course! Thousands of alumni in 90 cities participate in this fun
networking event that brings Cornellians world-wide together.
We are making a few improvements in how we communicate with the Zinck’s
Night coordinators, we’re adding a Facebook and a Flickr component, we’re
making online registration available, and we’re updating the trivia questions,
among other little things.
•Save the date - October 15th - plan your event, and let us know.
Where’s the annual planning packet?
• You’ll see it in August via email it and an online
posting. We’ve had lots of moving parts this year, so
it’s taking a bit longer to write it!
• We’ll be adding a basic planning sheet that will be
important for those clubs going dues-free. Questions
simply include: what types and how many events are
Who is our staff contact?
See the following slides for bios and specific cities that each
team member will cover. Here’s how it breaks down:
• The Midwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic
• Sonja Watkins Kelly/Donna Carl
• Metro New York
• Jessica Raha/Charlotte Davis/Associate Director TBD
• The West, including Texas
• Sarah Burton/Administrative assistant TBD
• International (except Toronto)
• Amy Jacobson/Charlotte Davis
Who is our staff contact (cont)?
• New York State (minus Metro New York)
• Mindy Hillenbrand/Administrative assistant TBD
• The Northeast
• Calicia Mullings/Donna Carl
• Cornell on the Road
• Kelly Speiser/Francine Darling
Team Senior Director
Northeast NY State
Associate Director Assistant Director
Donna Carl Calicia Mullings Mindy Hillenbrand
Mid-America, The West VACANT
Southeast, Mid- Associate Director
Atlantic Sarah Burton
Sonja Watkins Kelly
Director Cornell on the
Assistant Director Francine Darling
New York City Kelly Speiser Administrative
Jessica Raha Assistant
Charlotte Davis Senior
Associate Director Cornell Connect
Metro New York Kim Barrett
Sonja Watkins Kelly
Senior Associate Director
• Alumni Affairs Regional Team: December • Washington DC
1999 to present
• Alumni Affairs Reunion Team: August 1996
to December 1999 • Florida (Gold Coast, East FL & Miami)
• Public Relations and Archives: 6 years with • Colorado
the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in • Maryland
• Reunion Committee Co-Chair for Springfield • Atlanta
College class of 1990 and College Fair • Central Carolina Northeastern Ohio
representative for Springfield College Michigan
• Emergency technician: 5 years with the • Sarasota-Manatee
Animal Emergency Hospital in Danbury, CT
• Cornell Hockey Association Board of
Directors: 8 years; including 2 years as Sonja.Watkins.Kelly@cornell.edu
President and 6 as the editor of Faceoff
• Springfield College ’90; Editor for the Alden Note: Sonja’s on maternity leave July 13 -
Street Review, photographer and features
writer for the student newspaper and October; please direct all inquiries to
yearbook, Spring Week Committee Donna.Carl@cornell.edu and she’ll
member, Senior Week Committee member funnel them to the right person!
• Alumni Affairs Regional Team: July
2009 to present
• Northern California
• Reunion Campaign Officer, Cornell
Annual Fund: January 2008 – July • Los Angeles
2009 • Western Washington (Seattle)
• Interim Associate Director, Cornell Law • San Diego
School Annual Fund: May 2006 – • Oregon
January 2008 • Texas
• Office of the Councils, Cornell: June • Orange County
2005 – May 2006
• West Virginia University ’04: Kappa
Kappa Gamma; Gamma Beta Phi Sarah.Burton@cornell.edu
• Alumni Affairs Regional Team: March • Ithaca
2007 to present • Albany
• Class and Reunion Programs, Office • Rochester
of the Councils: December 2005- • Central New York Buffalo
• SUNY Oswego: B.A. Public Relations,
Office of Admissions Representative • Toronto
• Rochester Children’s Book Festival
• Worked for Cornell • Pittsburgh • Lancaster, PA
University Alumni • Central Florida
Affairs since 1988 • Wisconsin • Tennessee
• Enjoy reading, yard • Southwestern Ohio • Savannah & Hilton Head
work and walks with • the Suncoast • Jacksonville, FL
my dog • St. Louis • Club of Mid-America
• Charlotte • Mid-South
• West Michigan • Piedmont-Triad
• Central Ohio • Louisville
• Central Indiana
• Central Virginia
• New Orleans
• Southwest Florida
Donna.Carl@cornell.edu • Blue Ridge • Oklahoma
Mountains • The Emerald Coast
• Middle Tennessee • Vermont
• All Other States/Regions
not represented by an
• Alumni Affairs Regional Team: November 2008 to
• PCCW: Alumnae Engagement committee
Tufts University: 3 years in Regional Programming, Regions
planned and coordinated the 2007 Regional • Boston
Leaders Symposium, liaison to the Regional
Programs Committee and Tufts Black Alumni • Cape Cod
• Other Professional Experience: Admissions (3 • Coastal
years), Career Services (2 years), and Grant • Connecticut
Writing – local State grants (3 years)
• CASE: Winner of Gold Medal in Alumni Relations • New Hampshire
programming (Regional Programs – Tufts World
• The Berkshires
• CASE: Presenter at District 1 conference 02/2008
• Cornell Volunteer: Class of 1998 Treasurer,
CAAAN interviewer for 3 years
• Cornell ’98: Arts & Sciences, Africana Studies and Calicia.Mullings@cornell.edu
Research major, Student Assembly minority at-
large representative, involved with various campus
groups and lived in Balch for 3 years.
• Community involvement: I serve on various
committees at Thacher Montessori School, the
METCO program and I am very involved with the
Caribbean community in Boston
Senior Associate Director
• Alumni Affairs and Development: • New York City – all 5 boroughs
August 2006 to present
• Long Island
• Currently enrolled in ILR’s Master of
Professional Studies (MPS) program in • Philadelphia
NYC • Westchester
• Non-profit industry for seven years • Northern New Jersey
• Cornell ’99, Captain of Varsity Track • Fairfield County
and Field, Varsity Cross Country, Quill • Princeton
and Dagger • Note: all but NYC will go to new
• 2009 Inductee to Cornell’s Athletic Hall Associate Director, TBH soon
• Alumni Affairs Regional Team,
International Programs: May 2009 to • Belgium
present • China
• Cornell Major Gifts Program, Major • France
Gifts Associate: May 2007 – June • Germany
• Great Britain (London)
• Cornell University Graduate School,
MA ‘07, Department of Government, • Hong Kong
Comparative Politics and International • India
Law: August 2003 – May 2007 • Japan
• University of California, Irvine ‘03: • Saudi Arabia
Political Science and History; Phi Beta • Singapore
Kappa; Delta Gamma Fraternity
• South Korea
• Alumni Affairs and Development: • Monmouth/Ocean Counties
• Rockland County
November 2008 to present • Mexico
• Graduated from ILR in May 2008; • Thailand
wrote thesis on journalism and the Iraq • Australia firstname.lastname@example.org
War • Brazil
• Long term goals include getting • Philippines
degrees in law and anthropology • Israel
• Outside of work, I volunteer as a • Greece
paralegal for a non-profit law firm, as a • Turkey
docent for the Mount Vernon Hotel • Malaysia
Museum, and as a assistant for a non- • Italy
profit holistic health center for women • Spain
with breast cancer. • Netherlands
• Favorite class at Cornell: Theories of • Peru
Equality • Sweden
• Sri Lanka
• What I miss on campus: 4th floor, • Guatemala
Mann Library • Puerto Rico
Assistant Director, Cornell on the Road
Cornell Alumni Affairs and Development: since January 2008
• Joined Regional Alumni Affairs/Cornell On the Road in May 2009
• Helped develop an employee giving program, From Within: Faculty and
Staff Giving to Cornell
• Supported Cornell Entrepreneur Network and Cornell Silicon Valley
Nonprofit fundraising and volunteer management: over 10 years spent
working with small organizations, including an INGO working with
women and children in Nepal, a modern dance company, and a human
service agency working with incarcerated people and their families.
Experience includes developing donor databases, running annual
campaigns, managing fundraising and recognition events, running
volunteer programs, capacity-building, and working with nonprofit
boards of directors and special committees
Volunteer experience: member of various nonprofit boards, including the
Durland Alternatives Library; volunteered in NYS prisons for 3+ years;
serve on Cornell staff volunteer organizations including the University Kelly.Speiser@cornell.edu
Assembly, Communicators@Cornell, communications committee of the
Employee Assembly, fundraising committee of Cornell Prison Education
• Cornell University graduate education: 5 years in a PhD program in
History of Architecture & Urban Development (College of Architecture,
Art & Planning); TA for courses including Intro to History of Architecture,
African Architecture, and Intro to History of Modern Art
• Wesleyan University Class of ’91, Art History/German Studies major
Administrative Assistant, Cornell on the Road
• Alumni Affairs Regional Team: since
• Book Awards Administrator: Since December
• Ithaca College: B.S. Music Education (piano) Francine.Darling@cornell.edu
12 years - jewelry design
20 years - accompanist and performing pianist
• Alumni Affairs Regional Team: October 2008
• Cornell Entrepreneur Network Director: 14
• Entrepreneur: 8 years (copywriting, career
advising/resume writing businesses)
• Chamber of Commerce leader: 4 years
• Advertising Agency Executive: 7 years
• Cornell Volunteer: CAAAN chair 5 years,
Portland, OR club board 1 year
• Cornell ’92: Kappa Delta, Intramural sports,
Agricultural Economics major, Public Relations
Student Society of America board, Extern and Jennifer.Cunningham@cornell.edu
Intern w/Cornellian-led businesses