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Each month, Gretchen and colleagues are training and consulting around the world. Learn more about services and support in person by taking advantage of Gretchen Dobson LLC’s presence in your region. Contact Gretchen to make arrangements to meet the team on site.

October 6-9, 2015 – 29th Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) – Adelaide, Australia

October 6-9, 2015
29th Australian International Education Conference (AIEC)
Adelaide, Australia

I am looking forward to attending my third AIEC annual conference and spending quality time with both local and international colleagues. As of mid-August 2015 Gretchen Dobson LLC will be based in Brisbane, the largest city of beautiful Queensland. Monthly international speaking engagements and client projects continue to create much mobility and opportunities to further the conversations about international alumni relations.

October 23-25, 2015 – China Annual Conference on International Education (CACIE) – Beijing, PRC

October 23-25, 2015
China Annual Conference on International Education (CACIE)
Beijing, PRC

Each year I grow a stronger partnership with CACIE. This October’s conference will feature a half-day workshop (13:30-17:00 on 24 October), “Weaving your Alumni Network” and I’m thrilled to bring back my session partners from 2014’s conference, Mr. Charles Hoedt, Director, Neso China (Nuffic), and Mr. Wang Yong, Deputy Director International Office, Peking University. A downloadable conference overview may be found here.

October 29-30, 2015 – 4th Annual International Forum – Melbourne, Australia

October 29-30, 2015
Africa Australia Association
4th Annual International Forum, “Doing Business in Africa: Linking Australian Education with African Opportunity.”
Melbourne, Australia

Presentation 29 October 2015:
The African Student Experience and the Next Generation of Alumni
I am looking forward to my first experience with Africa Australia Association. In this session I will review a) what is alumni relations and how alumni engage students at all stages of their lifecycle with regard to their experience as applicants, accepted students, new students, current students, and recent graduates; b) each stage provides an opportunity to build relationships and better brand the alumni’s alma mater (former institution) and the value/benefits from studying in Australia; c) provide specific case studies of student-alumni partnerships that extend to industry, further education (graduate school), scholarship programs, and community development. The case studies will provide a range of examples incorporating undergraduates, graduate students, scholarship recipients, and part-time/short-term students.

November 17-19, 2015 – Asia-Pacific Institute for Alumni Relations Professionals – Sydney, Australia

November 17-19, 2015
Asia-Pacific Institute for Alumni Relations Professionals
Sydney, Australia

I am excited to spend time with colleagues across the Asia-Pacific region. On Tuesday 17 November, I will lead a panel presentation on the following topic:

Local and Global: Trends in Alumni Relations across the Asia-Pacific Region (Advanced)
Gretchen Dobson, Chua Beng Hwee and Bruce Mortimer

In 2015 we are witnessing developments in alumni relations across the region that reflect commitments to reinforce strategic priorities and/or changes to alumni engagement that respond to a diversity of agendas. The panel will present best practices by institutions, explore the notion of partnerships (what works and why), and introduce the national and regional schemes that aim to engage more alumni both home and abroad.

To view the full program schedule, click here!

November 23-24, 2015 – UK NARIC Annual Conference – London, UK

November 23-24, 2015
UK NARIC Annual Conference
London, UK

This November marks my inaugural UK NARIC annual conference and I am very excited to return to one of my favorite cities: London. In addition to leading the capacity building session, Alumni Ambassadors: Advantages, Opportunities and Strategies for Harnessing a Qualified Resource, I will also host a follow up thought leadership seminar for conference attendees interested in delving deeper into the topic of international alumni and student recruitment.
More information to come as the conference program will be published in August.

December 13-15, 2015 – CASE District V Annual Conference – Chicago, IL

December 13-15, 2015
CASE District V Annual Conference
Chicago, IL (USA)

Monday 14 December, 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Presentation: “East meets West, and West meets East: the application of theory to practice for alumni relations and annual giving in China

Going back to the USA around the holidays could not be better and excited to spend some time with colleagues and friends from CASE District V. Co-presenter, Benjamin Tipton, Corporate and Foundations Relations Officer, Kent State University, and I are teaming up for one of the few internationally-themed sessions at the conference. In our hour we hope to cover much ground.

Here is a glimpse at the description and topics:

You probably have some preconceived notions about alumni relations and individual giving in China. Perhaps it’s been influenced by a news clipping about a large Chinese alumni gift to their alma mater, or you may be thinking, “philanthropy in China, is there such a thing?” This session will explore the opportunities and difficulties of doing our work in the world’s’ most populous nation.

We will explore the following topics:

  • Indecision or Decision: Wading in will not work; it’s ‘jump in’ or ‘get out of the pool.’
  • Individual giving behavior: Although there is a lack of a ‘giving culture’ tradition, philanthropic behavior is very much a cultural norm in China – it is just very different. Knowing how to link with the cultural norms is the key to success.
  • Mistrust and transparency of giving is a key issue to be aware of in China. Giving to organizations – especially educational institutions and nonprofits – is a new phenomenon in China. Added to this, mistrust abounds, but this is changing and giving is trending towards western standards.
  • It’s different in China. Although this statement seems obvious, we can’t stress enough how everything needs to be rethought. Western fundraising standards, for the most part, do not work in China.
  • What doesn’t work: We’ll explore why some Annual Fund Campaigns are not very effective, even when tailored to the Chinese alumni group. We will also share from our experience about what works in China.
  • Awareness of the Value Proposition: Alumni relations is about building relationships and “Guanxi” literally means “relationships” —  the long-standing tradition in business and social networks is an important concept to understand if one is to function effectively in Chinese society.
  • Inviting the Local Perspective for Student Recruitment: exploring alumni and admissions efforts, and how, overall, successful approaches to working in the largest international student and alumni market in the world.
  • Starting with Student-Alumni Engagement: Chinese students abound on our campuses and may be thriving academically but not so much socially and/or with career planning. Alumni can play a pivotal role as we present models of student-alumni programming and special initiatives.
  • Leveraging multinational professional networks: our academic/research priorities can become alumni priorities when there are value-added incentives for alumni to become active with their alma maters by way of professional and industry partnerships.

Our session intends to present a comprehensive perspective of both alumni relations and development for both seasoned professionals and newcomers.