Alumni events provide a sense of belonging

Alumni events provide a sense of belonging

When asked the question “as an Australian living and working overseas what do you miss the most?” the answer you’ll likely to receive is something like “vegemite, mint slice or pavlova eggs!”

QUT Alumni events

Yasaman Baradaran and lucky door prize winner, Dr Farzad Salim, enjoying a ‘taste of home’ at the QUT alumni event in Seattle.

Sometimes a taste of home is all that’s needed to foster a sense of community.

With over 23,000 alumni currently living and working overseas, QUT regularly provides opportunities for our international alumni to experience that sense of belonging and chance to network through special alumni events.

In the USA alone over 3,000 QUT alumni live and work in a range of mid to senior level roles in prominent companies across a diverse range of industries and professions.

In June, QUT hosted events in New York, Santa Monica and Seattle where hundreds of alumni connected to share knowledge and learn about what is making news back at their alma mater as well establish new connections with fellow QUT graduates.

At all three events, QUT alumni were given a snapshot on QUT’s progress over the last year, a reflection on the last 30 years and finally senior QUT representatives discussing “How does QUT support people to be their best?” as we look to inspire the next generation of alumni.

Santa Monica event

Attendees heard about the exciting and diverse range of research projects that have come to fruition in 2019, including the development of non-invasive diagnostic tools for early detection of metastatic cancers, using drones and infrared imaging to detect koala populations and QUT’s part in leading a case report on the second reported case of semi-identical twins in the world.

In New York, attendees enjoyed an alumni panel discussion with Vice President (Global Business Lead/Allergy) GSK, Carolyn Dawkins; Vice President (CRM and Fan Engagement Strategy) Warner Music Group, Duke Badger; and General Manager (Finance, Technology, Auto and Member Services) Verizon Media, Joanna Lambert, who spoke about “Leadership in the age of disruption”.

Conversation centred around how companies are operating in an environment of constant change, uncertainty, and ambiguity. As leaders in their organisations, Carolyn, Duke and Joanna shared their unique leadership approaches in navigating uncertainty and highlighted how disruption redefined their leadership.

The second largest number of alumni in the US call the state of California home, so for the very first time, QUT hosted alumni in Santa Monica.

New York event

The Santa Monica event treated attendees to a robust and insightful discussion from three inspirational QUT alumni; Senior Product Designer at The Walt Disney Company, Courtney Novitis; Postdoctoral research fellow at UCLA, Dr Tim O’Shea; and Vice-President/Regional General Manager of The Americas at Tourism Australia, Jane Whitehead.

Together they shared their unique insights on “Imagining the future: Technology in tourism, medicine and entertainment” and how they see the influence of technology shaping these particular industries.

In Seattle, strong connections and networking was the order of the evening. Senior QUT representatives worked with alumni to ‘think outside the box’ on international alumni engagement to workshop innovative ways to connect with alumni living overseas.

QUT’s Executive Director of Advancement, Margo Powell said the feedback from these alumni events was extremely positive and that alumni living overseas are highly motivated, with a strong desire to give back.

Seattle event

“One of the many takeaways from the visit to the USA, is that our alumni would like to be more actively involved in career mentoring, facilitating internship opportunities for QUT’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program, fundraising activities, and guest lecturing opportunities for when they are back in Brisbane,” she said.

“A number of these initiatives are already in the pipeline for both domestic and international alumni, so we are looking forward to bringing these ideas to life.”

Are you a QUT alumnus living overseas? Get in touch via email – alumni@qut.edu.au so we can connect with you and keep you up-to-date on future events, networking opportunities and other ways to lend your time and talent.