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.

August 4, 2016 – Delivering on the Data 2016 – University of Queensland, Brisbane

August 4, 2016
Delivering on the Data 2016 – Intelligence from Alumni to Shape your Strategic Direction
University of Queensland, Brisbane

Fresh thinking around alumni feedback to take Alumni Relations forward in your institution…

We will focus on sustained improvement in effort and outcome.

Rationale for attending:

So many universities in our region do not have a strong relationship with their alumni. Some cohorts do not have a relationship AT ALL. This seminar brings Gretchen and Kym together for the first time to looks at ways to use alumni feedback to build their relationship in an authentic and respectful manner.

To be covered:

  • Why Alumni Relations is a critical function for Universities today, and the importance of alumni feedback
  • Getting the alumni feedback loop right
  • Starting with where you are
  • Prioritising the data
  • Applying the data to programs and partnerships

For more information or to register for the event, click here.

September 8-9, 2016 – Educate Plus International Conference 2016 – Gold Coast, Queensland, AUS

September 8-9, 2016
Educate Plus International Conference 2016
Gold Coast, Queensland, AUS

I had a great experience partnering with Educate Plus during their 2015 Queensland Chapter conference. This year I will return to deliver two professional development sessions, both occurring on Thursday September 8.11:35am-12:35pm  – “Everyday Alumni Engagement Beyond Annual Events”Alumni engagement happens 365 days a year but often our efforts are focused on only a three-day annual Reunion program or a weekend special event. Why does that happen, and are there ways to support new priorities that respect the realities of limited resources and time? With increasing opportunities for alumni to virtually participate in the life of students and alma mater, and continued focus on developing alumni communities that are global and mobile, alumni relations programs can benefit by maintaining a wide perspective on alumni engagement that creates everyday opportunities to cultivate new and enhance existing relationships. This session is for all levels.

Key takeaways:

  • Identifying “what success looks like” when employing virtual models of engagement for annual Reunions, special events and new programs.
  • Learn about best practices in global alumni engagement
  • Enhance the value of the alumni relations program by acquiring new ideas for sponsoring/co-sponsoring career-related programming for students and alumni.

2:15pm – 3:15 pm  “Working with Government to Promote International Alumni Engagement

In 2015 Australia’s national government committed to developing a new global alumni engagement strategy (now called Australia Global Alumni) and the State of Victoria became the first state to take proactive steps to engage in a similar exercise. What motivated these movements? What are the benefits to government, education providers, students, and alumni, themselves? How are the approaches similar, and what makes them distinct among other alumni engagements practices and programs?

We will also discuss the status of these initiatives and ways in which education providers can leverage the support and facilitation from these government partners.

Key takeaways for participants:

  • Learn how governments are turning limited resources and time into a strategies built upon these interests: “branding,” “supporting,” “connecting,” “mobilising,” and “celebrating.”
  • Understand where education providers sit among the Alumni Stakeholder Map
  • Determine how education providers can build upon current alumni engagement practices (and develop new ones) when forming partnerships with government

To read more about the Conference or to register today, click here.

September 14, 2016 Liverpool, UK EAIE Annual Conference

September 14, 2016 from 16:00 – 17:30

Title: Alumni Relations presents: going global, the future of alumni relations in Europe and beyond

Description: The creation of global citizens is one of the goals of most higher education institutions, and it is through the alumni of the institution that the success of creating global citizens is assessed. In this session, a panel of alumni relations experts will discuss the major issues and trends of the rapidly developing alumni relations programmes in European institutions of higher education.

 Speakers: Philip Conroy, Conroy and Associates (session chair), Gretchen Dobson, Gretchen Dobson LLC, Serge Sych, Central European University, Gregory Makrides, University of Cyprus EAEC

October 20, 2016 – Melbourne, AUS – AIEC Annual Conference

October 20, 2016 – Melbourne, AUS

AIEC Annual Conference

I am looking forward to participating in the annual Australian International Education Conference this October. I have contributed for the last three years on ‘international alumni relations’ themes; this year, I am partnering with colleagues (Janelle Chapman, TAFE Queensland; Gordon Scott,; Kent Anderson, University of Western Australia) to talk about something different:


Future-proofing an international education career: professional development plans for yourself and/or your team”


Session Abstract:


We believe that having one career for life is no longer the norm.


What do International Education Careers Look Like in 2020? What are the emerging niches that international education professionals must know about?

Which priorities and trends will require specialisation and new skills? Do you and your team have the skills associated with student employability?

What other new skills will your staff need to support your objectives in the region?


This session focuses on our professional needs today, and tomorrow. We also stress that managers need to recognise employment “hot spots” when recruiting, retaining and developing their teams. What are the innovative structures and topics today? Some may include:


– short term employment contracts

– transfer of skills

– career pathways

– up-skilling

– moving from professional positions outside of the industry


Professional development trends are not topics for the future – but for today – and this interactive session will discuss their implications on career development within our industry.

November 22, 2016 – London, UK – UK NARIC Annual Conference

November 22, 2016 – London, UK

UK NARIC Annual Conference

“Alumni Ambassadors: advantages, opportunities and strategies for harnessing a qualified resource”

We’ve heard it before: the best referral is personal. An endorsement from an international student or scholar who has experienced life at your institution firsthand is powerful. Word of mouth and student referrals are one of the most influential marketing channels for prospective international students and scholars.

Today’s challenging market requires us to think beyond one-dimensional testimonials in brochures and websites. Prospective students and scholars want to hear first-hand – and unfiltered – accounts about life and study at your institution.

Alumni ambassador programs are an increasingly important part of institutional and governmental marketing strategies and, if done effectively, can act as an effective tool for alumni engagement.

This workshop will showcase a number of institutions, governments, and organisations around the world that have developed successful alumni ambassador programs and incorporated alumni into their marketing campaigns. What can we learn from America, Asia, Australia, and Africa? What can we learn from each other?

In addition,
How do we inspire international alumni to support the next generation of students?
How do we utilise social media to inspire international alumni volunteers?
How can online programs help build relationships with alumni volunteers?
How can alumni assist to maintain a strong reputation and brand for your institution?
And, how do these efforts support institutional and national goals for creating access and opportunity for all eligible students?

Dr. Gretchen Dobson will facilitate an open Q&A to conclude this session.