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In a rotation of ExCo members writing for the AlumNet, this month for my turn I find myself reflecting on our USB Alumni Association vision

Dear USB Alum

In a rotation of ExCo members writing for the AlumNet, this month for my turn I find myself reflecting on our USB Alumni Association vision, “To be the most desirable alumni association in Africa”. As far as vision statements go, it is powerful and effective with a purpose and yet only achievable if we work together.

We are extremely proud of our more than 27 000 alumni who have excelled in managerial and leadership roles all over the world. In fact, alumni together are from 30 countries in Africa, 12 countries in Europe, 10 countries in Asia, 5 countries in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and the UAE. This is a powerful network to leverage on!

We have all been through the blood, sweat and (hopefully not too many) tears of studying either at USB or USB-ED but too often after the exhaustion of studying and the celebration of graduating, we forget that we can give back and would prefer to return to the daily grind of our own worlds where suddenly time is a constraint again. Admittedly, I am guilty of this too. However, can you remember the thrill of networking when you were a student of USB? The eagerness to attend all events, meet new people, likeminded individuals who shared your passion to make a difference and have an impact on the world? I was recently reminded of this when attending some events in the SADC countries.

Given the current economic climate and the ever-changing political landscape, it is even more crucial now than before for us as Alumni to come together and be inspired to pull our resources, intelligence and leadership to make a difference going forward.

During August we had another successful run of “First” events in Africa with “First Wednesday in Swaziland”, “First Thursday in Botswana” and “First Friday in Namibia”. The purpose of the events are to gather our clients and alumni in country on a monthly basis to participate in a knowledge sharing session with USB Executive Development and USB Alumni Association. Since starting in April this year, they have grown immensely popular and this month, Dr Tienie Ehlers (USB-ED’s Chief Learning Officer) was the guest speaker and shared his thoughts on omni-channel learning and how we need to adapt our skills in the work place faster than what the job requires it to change.

There are two Masterclasses coming up in the near future. Firstly at The Country Club, Woodmead, Johannesburg on 24th August with Prof Anita Bosch sharing the latest research and best practices on attracting and retaining women in the workplace. Alternatively, if you are based in the Western Cape, join Dr Morne Mostert on the 1st of September discussing the future of universities (who knows, your children may not have the same opportunity or experience that you did!). The final “first” events run in September too.

I am not sure what it will take to re-ignite your spark to attend one of the many sessions available to Alumni across the world (and I don’t want to play on your guilty conscious) but hopefully I have inspired you to see your classmates again, continuously improve your personal journey, to network, laugh and bond with new exciting people who you would not have otherwise met and to help form the most desirable alumni association in Africa when it is needed most.

All the best
Brigitte Schwartz


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