Connecting Our Community

A letter to our alumni community from 2020 GSMAA president, Kristy Bird-MaKieve MBA 15.

Dear Alumni,

I hope you are well. 2020 has become an extraordinary year, and the summer is only just starting. The pandemic turned our lives upside down in March. Then, in late May, George Floyd's murder sparked a growing acknowledgment of racial injustices, and unrest spread across our nation.

I wish each of you all the best—personally and professionally—from my heart. The Graduate School of Management is acting quickly to provide relevant resources for alumni, such as an upcoming wellness workshop.

And GSM Director of Alumni Relations and Network Strategy Aysha Dinius—herself an MBA alumna—has organized an online workshop with Casey Field MBA 16, who teaches at the School and is certified by the International Coaching Federation. Click here to learn more and register. I encourage you to take advantage of this offer. Aysha and Casey were my classmates through the MBA program, and I know them well. You’ll be in good hands, I promise.

I wish each of you all the best—personally and professionally—from my heart.

I have been thinking a lot about the GSM family of alums. On May 31, the Alumni Association held our spring meeting online. We thank Bryan Shepard for his excellent stewardship of the GSM Alumni Association. Here’s a collective toast on behalf of all alums to Bryan—thank you for your leadership! It is a great honor to be elected to follow Bryan as your next GSMAA president. 

What struck us most at the board meeting was Full-Time MBA student Kalina Springer sharing her story. I want to thank Kalina for her honesty. She explained that students felt a little lost as the program transitioned from in-person to online classes. She said their sense of camaraderie was difficult to maintain online. 

I want to commend the students and faculty for their resilience, creativity and flexibility given the abrupt switch to virtual course delivery in March. Kalina made me realize how much student life has changed since then. A student from each degree program serves as a representative on the GSMAA board to ensure we stay connected to what’s happening.

We also talked about the GSM graduating class of 2020. Given the coronavirus restrictions, they voted to delay their Commencement ceremony until December 5, 2020, to celebrate in person, as they would have this month. I hope this will be able to happen, and I look forward to joining the graduates on the big stage at the beautiful Mondavi Center with speeches and everyone beaming with pride and loved ones hooding the graduates on stage. 

How You Can Help

Like all of us, students and graduates are facing a global economic recession with record unemployment. Lining up jobs or internships virtually is challenging and difficult. My message to you as alumni is to reach out to these graduates, check-in with the GSM’s Career Development team to ask how you can connect, and find ways to help students on their path to success. 

My message to you as alumni is to reach out to these graduates, check in with the GSM’s Career Development team to ask how you can connect, and find ways to help students on their path to success. 

I was able to join an online toast to the Full-Time MBA and the M.S. in Business Analytics graduates. I welcome them to our family of alums and encourage them to activate this GSMAA network. 

Looking Ahead

I start my presidency on July 1 and look forward to collaborating with each of you and with the excellent board team. I’m excited to announce the following GSMAA board members are taking leadership roles:

  • Jamie Butler MBA 10 will serve as vice president and Nominating Committee chair 
    Janette Cruz MBA 15 will serve as Women in Leadership liaison
  • Abigayle Curtis MBA 14 will lead the Engagement Committee, connecting with you all and ensuring Class Ambassadors have the support they need 
  • Christa Dyck MBA 05 will chair the Alumni Awards Selection Committee
  • Robin Greenspan MBA 17 will chair the Student Fellowship Awards Selection Committee 
  • T.J. Johnson MBA 12 will chair the Fundraising Committee
  • James Terheyden MBA 16 will serve as the board's secretary

I am also pleased to welcome two new alumni to the board: 

  • Al Lavassani MBA 15
  • Anna Shen MSBA 18

And am deeply grateful to the following board members who have completed their service: Christopher Bush MBA 08, Marie Chaisson MBA 04 and Sara Happe MBA 07.

Save the Date: Virtual Alumni Reunion

On Saturday, September 12, we will host a virtual reunion for all alumni, focusing on milestone reunion classes ending in zero or five and 2019. Stay tuned for details. I recently participated in my undergraduate reunion online and found it a wonderful way to connect with many alums who might not have had the chance to attend in person.

I look forward to connecting with you and finding ways to help you succeed. 

Kristy

Kristy Bird-MaKieve MBA 15, CAE
Incoming President, GSM Alumni Association
Executive Director, Butte-Glenn Medical Society
CEO, Healthy Rural California

To get involved with the GSMAA, email Director of Alumni Relations Aysha Dinius.

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Alumni