Dynamic leaders collaborate with others to generate fresh ideas, identify common goals, and drive actionable strategies. Alumni leaders from Europe and the Middle East gathered at the Yale European Leadership Forum with staff from the Yale Alumni Association and members of the Yale International Alliance to strengthen their abilities to do just that.
The forum, hosted by the Yale Club of France, was held June 14 and 15 in Paris. Over the two days, more than 30 alumni leaders and current students cultivated connections that span geographical boundaries. Attendees from more than 10 regional clubs and varied interest groups participated by sharing their successes and identifying opportunities to grow.
The forum was rooted in defining practical strategies through sessions that invited contributions from every attendee. That was illustrated in the opening session by Nicholas Roman Lewis ’93, senior director for Shared Interest Groups at the YAA, which prompted attendees to define why volunteers give back and how alumni connect.
“Alumni passions are our lifeblood,” Lewis said. “We want to help connect your passion to Yale’s mission.”
The excitement carried on throughout the weekend as clubs and university partners shared practical case studies and engagement strategies. Some of the most enthusiastic sessions were those where attendees learned directly from their peers.
Bartley Grosserichter ’88, of the Yale Club of Germany, encouraged alumni leaders to start small as she outlined the creation and implementation of the “Dialogues in Democracy” speaker series.
“We started with an idea, and now it’s taking off,” said Grosserichter. “What we get back in return from each event is the most enriching part for me.”
Mindy A. Marks ’00, YAA senior director of Yale Regional Clubs, led an active group discussion focused around identifying challenges and leveraging peer experiences in the room.
“There is a leader in this room who has encountered the same obstacle as you,” Marks said as attendees organized into focused breakout groups. “Today, we ask you to share how your club has transformed challenges into successes, so we can all learn to be better leaders.”
European clubs and interest groups also connected with a wider alumni base in real time during a social media bootcamp. Facilitated by alumnus Kevin Winston, president of Yale in Hollywood and a member of the YAA Board of Governors, the session offered dedicated time for clubs and groups to establish a presence on social media or elevate their existing channels through recent photography.
By the close of the forum, participants gained valuable insights from group discussions, interactive sessions, and invited speakers. Leaders were energized and better prepared to implement new strategies for engaging alumni living in and visiting their regions. Through connections made during the event with the YAA and other university partners, European clubs and groups are now building even stronger communities abroad.