With new direction, a revamped Young Alumni Leaders Council aims to engage recent grads

With new direction, a revamped Young Alumni Leaders Council aims to engage recent grads

By Emily Wilson

With new direction, a revamped Young Alumni Leaders Council aims to engage recent grads

By Emily Wilson
After a three-year hiatus, the Young Alumni Leaders Council relaunches with a talented new Executive Council, an efficient structure, and a plan for increasing engagement among young alumni.

Newly minted University of Miami graduates disperse across the globe, prepared to shine in innumerable roles and capacities. But as they pursue their personal and professional growth, young alumni often find it hard to stay involved and connected to the U.

To help young graduates stay engaged with their alma mater, the University of Miami Alumni Association launched the restructured Young Alumni Leaders Council in June. The first meeting of its new Executive Council brought together an elected group of 12 enthusiastic advocates who are ready to forge relationships and build on the University’s vibrant culture of volunteer support.

“It can be challenging for young alumni to stay connected with the University after they graduate,” said Associate Vice President of Engagement Erica Arroyo, B.S.C. ’03, M.A.L.S. ’08. “They’re finding jobs, building their careers, often relocating, pursuing post-graduate degrees, or embarking on married life and parenthood. The revitalized Young Alumni Leaders Council will play an essential role in keeping recent grads connected with their alma mater — and ensuring a brighter future for young alumni engagement at the U.”

Representing more than 26,000 alumni who received undergraduate degrees in the past 10 years, the Young Alumni Leaders Council is a volunteer leadership group established to support the needs of recent graduates. Tasked with developing and tailoring communications and events for this demographic, the council complements other groups such as regional ’Canes Communities and school and college alumni associations. Many council members go on to serve on special interest alumni groups and affinity boards, as well as the Alumni Board.

Reflecting the University’s hallmark diversity, members of the new Executive Council  come from a wide range of backgrounds. Together, they will bring a variety of talents and expertise to meet a special challenge: raising awareness among young alumni of the benefits of their philanthropic support. One of their goals is to increase giving participation among recent graduates to five percent.

MacKenzie Green, B.S.C. ’10, the council’s incoming president, is vice president of social media for Who What Wear/Clique Brands, an international fashion company. Based in Los Angeles, Green holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University and has a decade of communications and brand management experience. As president of the Young Alumni Leaders Council, she will also serve on the 2021 – 2022 Alumni Board of Directors to represent the young alumni voice.

President-elect Max Myers, B.B.A. ’2011, is a financial advisor and senior portfolio advisor at Merrill Lynch in New York City. Myers has experience managing relationships with individuals and institutions. He and his sister, Alana, are legacy ’Canes. Their father, Dean, is an active member of the President’s Council and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the U. 

The immediate past president of the Young Alumni Leaders Council, Vikesh Patel, B.S.B.E, ’17, M.S.F. ’18, will support the incoming leadership. A business and intellectual property law clerk at Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC, Patel is in his third year of law school at South Texas College of Law Houston and has three siblings who are also ’Canes.

Other Executive Council members are Kenneth Esman, B.B.A. ’13, and Jennifer Pallicer, A.B. ’15, M.B.A. ’17, co-chairs of the Development and Membership Committee; Kristi Mooti Persad, B.S.C. ’11, M.B.A. ’14, Melissa Jordon, A.B. ’14, J.D. ’16, and Valeria Velasco, B.B.A. ’19, co-chairs of the Programming Committee; and Connor Adams, B.S.Ed. ’14, Brianna Hathaway, A.B. ’16, Christie Velasco, B.B.A. ’11, M.Acc. ’12, and Lauren Lee Pettiette Schewel, J.D. ’14, co-chairs of the Strategic Engagement Committee.

As the University prepares for the exciting academic year ahead, the council is aiming high. Its strategies for reconnecting with young alumni include creating engaging events, facilitating networking activities, providing learning opportunities, and increasing philanthropic giving and volunteer participation. The council will also revive its signature 30 Under 30 program, which honors 30 outstanding alumni under the age of 30 for their impact on their professions, their communities, and the University of Miami.

With the combined insights and guidance provided by the Executive Council, the reenergized Young Alumni Leaders Council is poised to become a central resource for recent graduates. Onboarding of the entire council will take place in July.

The Young Alumni Leaders Council advances the mission and supports the goals of the University of Miami Alumni Association, more than 191,000 members strong, which includes all U graduates, honorary alumni, and honorary degree recipients. Every UMAA volunteer promotes the U by serving as an ambassador and encouraging involvement.