By Brandon Gillet
If life beyond uOttawa takes you to one of a dozen key cities around the world, you’ll want to know about the University’s 12 regional alumni councils. With a mandate to foster new relationships and spread the uOttawa word, the councils are also designed to offer a warm welcome to new alumni relocating to other cities after graduation.
The councils are made up of alumni who go above and beyond for their alma mater and are located in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, New York, Boston, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Paris and London.
“These are economic centres and powerhouse cities,” says Rhea Laube, the regional engagement officer who liaises with the alumni councils worldwide. “They’re also places the University wants to be for the purposes of recruiting future students and finding good CO-OP placements for current ones.”
Bay Area buzz
Take the Bay Area, for instance, where the University’s presence is going from strong to stronger.
“There are wonderful CO-OP opportunities there, with Tesla being a great example,” Laube says. “Bay Area council member Anthony Bagnulo (BASc ’10), a team leader at Tesla, has hired two other alumni and has three CO-OP students working with him this summer. There’s quite the uOttawa cohort growing there!”
Students who won the most recent uOttawa Top 5 Start-Up competition also benefited from the support of the Bay Area Council during their learning and networking trip there in May 2017.
Council member Jennifer Campbell (MBA ’85) hosted a special gathering for the five winners, as well as visiting Executive MBA students from the Telfer School of Management. The event was held at the San Francisco headquarters of the electronic signature company DocuSign, where Campbell works as a strategic enterprise account executive.
“It’s about building the reputation of the University internationally,” Laube says. “And who are our best ambassadors? Our alumni. They do it because they want to give back to their alma mater. These are busy people, but they make the time because they care.”
Welcomes and send-offs
Councils also organize welcome events for newly arrived alumni as well as send-off parties for students heading off to uOttawa. Calgary Council president Feisal Keshavjee (MHA ’94) recently hosted seven students from the Calgary French and International School who will start their studies at uOttawa this fall.
“Coincidentally, the school’s principal, Malcolm Mousseau (BSc ’85, BEd ’86, MEd ’96), is also a uOttawa alumnus and made sure to attend,” Laube says. “We’re tremendously grateful to these alumni around the world who volunteer their time to help our future students and new alumni.”
uOttawa on the Road
The Alumni Office itself organizes events sponsored by the Alumni Association in the 12 regional council cities through its uOttawa on the Road initiative, visiting all cities at least once a year. These events offer an opportunity to showcase the expertise of inspiring professors and alumni, and thus feed the intellectual curiosity that characterizes uOttawa alumni.
The University’s global reach is not limited to the 12 cities, Laube points out. Where there is no regional council, there is often still an alumni ambassador acting as uOttawa’s point of contact.