The Columbia Alumni Association of Boston is masterful at “dedicated leadership” and is committed to "bringing University initiatives and opportunities to the local community,” according to the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA), which honored the club with its Regional Club Award of Excellence last year.
To what does the Boston club credit its success?
“The important thing is to get a good team of people,” said Stephen Kane ’80CC, ’83LAW, president of the club. “I’ve been really lucky to be able to recruit people to come on board.”
Kane added that although many club members are eager to assist with as many programs as possible, it is essential to assign projects based on members’ strengths.
“If the same people with the same tastes plan all of the events, it’s too much work and is too limiting,” he said, adding that divvying up the work also ensures no one gets burnt out.
Kane organizes lectures and professor speaking events, others plan Columbia-Harvard basketball game-watches, some assist with pub networking nights, and musically-inclined club members are preparing a trip to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where Columbia alumnus Ken-David Masur ’02CC is a conductor.
Kane, the Managing Director at Rich May, P.C. law firm, said this teamwork is essential to his being able to balance his career and the alumni club.
“You gotta have a team,” he said. “John Mullervy [’00SEAS] runs the website. Diana Ramos [’13SIPA] takes pictures at events.”
The president says the club’s location also is key.
“I think we’re kind of lucky,” he said. “We’re far enough away from New York that even dedicated Columbia alumni can’t go into the city for an event, but we’re close enough to New York, so we have a big alumni base.”
The Boston club gets close to 100 attendees at the Harvard-Columbia basketball games, and is expecting at least 80 people at its Columbia Connects event this fall, including many new faces and recent Columbia graduates.
Looking ahead, Kane said the club plans to get more involved with the Beantown branches of Barnard and Columbia Business School’s alumni clubs.
“The business school in Boston is a great ally,” he said. “If they have an interesting event, they’ll let us know. Once a year, we co-sponsor a networking night.”
One of the club’s biggest hits? Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Professor Jerry McManus’ talk on the Ice Age.
“People found it really fascinating,” Kane said.
For more information about the CAA of Boston or to become involved, visit their website.