Over the past year the SOM Alumni Association has made significant progress toward its mission of providing a voice for Yale SOM graduates and strengthening connections across the alumni community. Here are highlights from our two key strategic initiatives: facilitating job placement and the growth of regional alumni chapters.
The SOMAA Alumni Mentor program was launched this year after a successful pilot test in 2004, with SOMAA Director Chris Layton '98 driving this initiative, along with significant help from David Schiffman ’05, SOMAA Student Liaison. A web site was developed that allows interested students to identify alumni with common career and geographic interests; 200 alumni volunteered to be mentors and over 100 members of the Class of 2005 participated.
The Mentor Program allows second-year students to tap into the unusual success, diversity, and commitment of our alumni community as they plan their post-SOM careers; advice may include insights into how their industry works, answers to "dumb" questions, and guidance on how to structure their job search. The Mentor Program provides a service to graduating students, a rewarding experience for alumni, and strengthens the spirit of the entire Yale SOM family.
One student nicely captured the benefits of this program: "I like the idea of being paired up with an SOM alum. First, it makes me feel like we have fans out in the work force who are interested in the same things that we are, and, at the same time, are willing to reconnect with current SOM students. I feel it help builds community within the SOM network, which is something we really need."
Next year, entering first-year students will also have the opportunity to work with alumni mentors, with SOMAA board members Shannon Small '00 and Chris Hanrahan '00 assuming the leadership of this program.
SOMAA directors Rob Greenly '83 and Rob Johnson '03 have been working closely with Pat St. Germain, SOM's Director of Alumni Relations, to build the network of regional alumni chapters. In particular, Rob Greenly has made significant progress in Boston over the past year. He worked with local alumni to hold a very successful panel biotech/healthcare discussion last November and is now building a team to support the further growth of this chapter.
In addition, SOMAA board members have been very involved in the New York, San Francisco, and Fairfield (CT) chapters, which are among our most active alumni communities. Going into next year, in addition to working with Pat to build on these efforts, Lamont Lee '85 and Maryann Dillon '87 will be developing a strategy to establish a sustainable regional chapter in Washington, D.C.
The SOMAA recently thanked outgoing directors Barbara Brenner '84, Alan Buder '83, Monty Cerf '83, Namita Kamath '02, and Helene York '88, plus Student Liaisons Carolyn Collins '05 and David Schiffman ’05, for their service to the board. We also welcomed new directors Damon Danielson '86, Maryann Dillon '87, Matt Eldridge '98, Bertina Hou '03, Alexander Mogg '96, Ingrid Stabb '99, and Student Liaisons Erin Pettifor '06 and Barry Wynn '06.
We look forward to working with Yale SOM and the alumni community to build on our progress in the coming year.
Fred Smagorinsky '87