Boston Alumni Coffee and Conversation

Text reads:
Text reads: What is this?

A lightly-facilitated opportunity to connect with fellow Wake Forest alumni in the Boston area – to exchange questions and answers, to offer guidance, to think about career transitions, work strategies, and big life decisions.

Think of this as less than a formal mentoring program, and more than a cold-call to someone you look up on LinkedIn or in the WakeNetwork. There are no expectations, on either side, for long-term engagement; it’s just coffee and conversation! (or lunch, or a walk, you get the idea)

Text reads: What are these conversations about?

The alumni who have volunteered to have these conversations have identified 2-3 topics they are excited to discuss. These topics might center on:

industry knowledge (for example: healthcare, marketing, accounting)

general career development (think: seeking your next step, negotiating for a promotion, strategically building your skillset)

life choices (something around: balancing work and life priorities, family decision-making, planning for the future).

As with any good mentoring conversation, these alumni have selected topics which they feel comfortable discussing, and with which they have some familiarity or experience. They are not trained counselors, advisors, or other such professional resources.

Before searching the Boston Alumni Coffee and Conversation Program spreadsheet, take a moment to think about your needs and interests. Then, start looking for common ground. Seek out the person who has experience in the areas that align with your goals.

Text reads: How do I sign up as a volunteer to have these conversations?

If you are raising your hand to be open to these conversations, take a moment to fill out this brief form with your contact information, role and organization, and 2-3 topics you would be willing to discuss with another alumnus. Once you hit submit, your information will be added to the Boston Alumni Coffee and Conversation Program spreadsheet.

Text reads: How do I reach out to a fellow alumnus for a conversation?

Any Boston-area alumnus is welcome to use and reach out to a fellow alumnus through this program, including those who have added their names to the spreadsheet (hey, you have needs, too!). And while we are calling this a “Program,” that’s more of a handy identifier than anything else, so let’s not overthink this. We recommend taking the following steps to connect with your fellow alumni:

  1. Take a moment to reflect on and identify your need(s).
  2. Look through the spreadsheet and find a person who aligns with your need. It’s never a bad idea to do a little extra research through LinkedIn before you connect with someone.
  3. Send an email introducing yourself and where you found them, and ask if you can find a mutually-agreeable time to meet for coffee (or lunch, or a walk, or whatever).
  4. Come prepared! Make a list of a few key questions you would like to have answered, and show up ready to engage in conversation. And remember, everyone’s busy, so be respectful of each other’s time.
  5. Enjoy your time with your fellow alumnus!
  6. Say thank you. A follow-up email expressing your sincere thanks is always a nice thing to do.

Finally, a note. Sometimes you may reach out to someone on the list who declines your invitation. That’s ok! It may not be a good time for them, they may have just had a week’s worth of conversations with other alumni and are feeling a little burned out, hey, they may just be in a bad mood. No matter what the reason, it is ok. Say thank you and move on to the next person.

Text reads: What if I want to remove myself from the list or have questions & concerns?

Despite our use of the word “Program,” we are not managing the process or the relationships. We’re all grown-ups here; let’s take some personal responsibility for our lives, shall we? That said, we will monitor the spreadsheet to ensure its appropriate usage. If you would like to remove yourself from the list at any point, or revise your responses, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Allison McWilliams at mcwillae@nullwfu.edu.

We’re so excited for the relationships and the network you will build through this Coffee and Conversation process!