Alumni Leader Reflects on Successful Leaders Weekend

By Emily Ball Jabbour '06SW

As chair of this year's Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend, held October 7-9, I am thrilled to have met so many enthusiastic leaders from across the University.  

The weekend kicked off with a packed reception on Friday evening at the Italian Academy. It was wonderful to see familiar faces from past Leaders Weekends, as well as meet new people who had traveled from around the world to attend! It was particularly great to meet so many new alumni from Barnard and the Business School, as this was the first year of their participation in Leaders Weekend. 


Saturday morning began at full speed with the option to attend one of three Leadership Training Breakfasts or to take part in the demonstration of the new online engagement tools: VolunteerColumbia and ColumbiaYou. These online tools will truly change the way that leaders can work with our respective alumni communities and better match interest with opportunity. 

The Keynote Address by Sheena Wright '90CC, '94LAW, president and CEO of the United Way of New York City, addressed her personal reflections on strong leadership, including the charge to be bold while being strategic to understand ground conditions. Following the keynote, the group broke into several smaller sessions that focused on women leading change, building a personal leadership brand, building a volunteer pipeline, and the benefits of volunteerism. 


At the Alumni Leaders Luncheon, we had the opportunity to hear from Columbia President Lee Bollinger about the latest progress on the Manhattanville Campus. Several Schools then met in their individual groups, providing the opportunity to take front of mind inspiration from the earlier sessions and operationalize those ideas into concrete action steps. 

The Alumni Medalists Gala Saturday evening at Low Memorial Library was a fitting end to the day, with a celebration of the 10 Alumni Medalists and recognition of leading Regional Clubs. For the first time, this year's weekend program offered the opportunity to continue the work on Sunday with a one-day Executive Education Program at the Business School led by a well-respected faculty member, who provided this opportunity at a special rate for alumni. 


I've had the privilege as serving on the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) Board for the past several years, and was honored to have the opportunity to lead this year's Leaders Weekend Planning Committee. The committee is a fully volunteer-driven effort to ensure that the programming each year reflects the latest activities and articulated needs of each School.

We had more than 700 participants in this year's Leaders Weekend, representing 15 countries—which was the largest turnout overall, in addition to the largest CALW kick-off reception and luncheon. I am excited for what's to come next year! 



Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend is an annual conference where the University's top alumni leaders and volunteers gather to exchange best practices, advice, and ideas. Read more about this year's conference here.

CAA Chair Brian Krisberg '81CC, '84LAW also recently reflected on the importance of CALW. Read his remarks.

View photos from this year's conference.

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