Regional Program Accelerates Connection
According to recently launched Pioneers Build the World (pioneers.du.edu), 142,633 University of Denver alumni reside around the globe. More than half live outside of Colorado, so the University launched a regional program to connect Pioneers to each other and to a network of support.
Pamela Johnson (BA ’79) owns the event production company Notable Enterprises and also founded the Future Color of Fashion Foundation, a nonprofit promoting multicultural talent in the fashion industry. As a student, Johnson helped to engage Black students at the university and assisted in establishing a presence in student government by serving as the Black Student Association’s (BSA) president.
She has stayed in touch with classmates, but not with the University. “I had tunnel vision when it came to DU,” said Johnson. “And DU was not in my tunnel.” When the Midwest regional team launched in Chicago, they reached out to Johnson. She shared her vision for a BSA reunion, and now plans are under way for an event at Alumni Weekend 2020. “The door has opened,” said Johnson. “Now I’m interested in how I can be of help.”
The regional program is active in 10 cities, from Seattle and San Francisco to Boston, New York and beyond. On the front lines of this effort is a team of market activators connecting daily with alumni to hear about their interests and create opportunities for connection.
Jeremy Lynch (BSBA ’12) co-led the DU alumni club in San Francisco for three years before joining the University as the market activator for the Pacific Northwest region. His previous community engagement roles at Facebook and Airbnb and his student leadership roles at ZBT fraternity and the Daniels College of Business made him a natural fit for building relationships among DU alumni in the Bay Area. “We live in a global world, but we want to connect locally,” said Jeremy. “It’s my role to discover what DU looks like in the Bay Area, what it looks like in Seattle, and help build a community.”
In partnership with market activators, market fellows and development directors in their region, alumni are supported in trying new things. Tri Nguyen (BA ’14) partnered with the regional team in New York City to host a Pride event. “The whole idea was to create an oasis and meet people you might not know,” said Nguyen. She’s now collaborating on building career support for young alumni. “The alumni office is doing so many great things,” said Nguyen. “It helps us maintain connections and meet new faces.” Together with the regional team, Pioneers are building the world and building their network.