Emerging Leaders Profile: An update on May Mark, EL ’14 – ’15

May Mark, Emerging Leaders alumna
May Mark, Emerging Leaders alumna from the 2015 cohort in NYC

Two years ago we profiled May Mark, an alumna of the ’14 – ’15 Emerging Leaders cohort in NYC. May had just relocated to the Bay Area from New York City. When May decided to move on from the tech startup that she joined, she turned to the AlumniCorps network to help her learn more about opportunities in the Bay Area.

May enrolled in Duke University’s intensive 17-month Cross Continent MBA program and she found that the degree complemented the skills she had acquired in Emerging Leaders. “EL helped me to focus on who I am as a leader and how I see myself in the context of others. It was a very safe space with a master facilitator and many opportunities to practice what we were learning… I had already done self-reflection, so I had a strong sense of who I was and where I need to grow.” Like many Emerging Leaders alumni, May credits her program facilitator in NYC with the program’s success: “Yael was an amazing facilitator. I spend a lot of time in the professional development space for adult learning and she’s definitely masterful at what she does.”

Thanks to the global MBA program, May now has classmates around the world. Because of her MBA cohort and other communities May is part of, she says, “I feel very comfortable reaching out to others in a new environment.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that when May got an email from AlumniCorps describing the vibrant Bay Area Steering Committee, she reached out to Steering Committee member Julie Rubinger Doupé ’09. “This new AlumniCorps community was an extension of the one I’d joined in NYC during the Emerging Leaders program. Even though the Bay Area is different, both communities have shared values.”

May (front, left) facilitating the "Managing Up" seminar
May (front, left) facilitating the “Managing Up” seminar for Project 55 Fellows in the Bay Area in December 2017.

Indeed, the Bay Area Steering Committee wasted no time in asking May to lead a seminar that December on Managing Up (see photo). She taught Fellows how to be proactive with their managers by using tactics like anticipating managers’ needs and being crystal clear with deliverables. “I really enjoy working with adult learners. My seminar included brainstorming, role-playing, and lots of discussion.” The experience differed from sessions with Emerging Leaders because the Fellows are much earlier in their careers. “The way I crafted the seminar was definitely informed by my reflections on my early work experience. I wish someone would have shared this information with me when I first entered the workforce!”

“I started to proactively build out my network, and Julie really helped me get to know people in the Bay Area.” May was able to secure a position as the Deputy School Support Lead at XQ, an organization that sparked a cultural conversation last fall to rethink high school nationwide. The organization began with XQ: The Super School Project, a competition inviting America to reimagine high school. Currently, May is focused on cultivating communities of practice among the XQ Schools, methodically encouraging school leaders and teachers to connect and learn from each other.

As May finishes her first year at XQ, the current cohort of Emerging Leaders participants are getting ready for their final sessions and closing celebrations. She reflects, “I didn’t see the Emerging Leaders Closing Celebration as the end of my experience… it was the start. I’d encourage the current cohort to continue to take the content you’ve learned and work with it… use it to reach out to others.” We’re happy to report that Project 55 Fellows in the Bay Area are benefiting from May taking her own advice.

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Emerging Leaders Learn from Seasoned Nonprofit Professionals – Winter 2018

The Emerging Leaders program is designed to help aspiring leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors develop the leadership capabilities, management skills, and confidence to advance their professional contributions and accelerate their careers. Emerging Leaders is currently offered in New York City and Washington, DC. The program is designed to accommodate those with full-time jobs and requires employer cooperation as well. The program runs for a total of eight full-day, monthly sessions from June-February (skipping August). All sessions are held on weekdays in each city. Fees for the program are based on the budget size of the applicant’s organizational budget.

You can learn more about the program and start an application here. The application deadline is March 12th, 2018. Please contact Caryn Tomljanovich, Director of Programs and Strategy at ctomljanovich@alumnicorps.org

In Washington, DC (pictured above, left to right):

  • In November Amber Romine, an executive coach and leadership development consultant, coached participants on presentation skill-building and practice. The session also covered emotional agility, networking, and learning conversations.
  • In December Amy Nakamoto, Senior Director, Corporate Education Partnerships at Discovery Education, spoke about executive perspectives on nonprofit financial management. Amy has spent her career working in education, nonprofits, fundraising, and youth development.
  • In January, James Siegal, President of KaBOOM!, joined Alex MooreDC Central Kitchen’s Chief Development Officer, to speak about inter-organizational collaboration.

In New York City (pictured above, left to right):

  • In November Andrew Nurkin, Deputy Director for Enrichment and Civic Engagement at the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation and former AlumniCorps Executive Director, spoke about storytelling and public speaking.
  • In December Joan Carty, President and CEO of the Housing Development Fund in Stamford, CT spoke about non-profit financial management.
  • In January Peter Daneker ’95 Board Vice Chairman of DREAM Charter School (formerly Harlem RBI), and Laurie Williams, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read spoke about board/staff and executive director/chair roles and relationships.

    Peter Daneker ’95 Board Vice Chairman of Harlem RBI, and Laurie Williams, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read (both at the head of the table) spoke to the NYC cohort in January 2018.

Regional Updates – Winter 2018

New York Area Committee

The New York Area Committee hosted a holiday party at Judy Hole Surrat’s lovely upper west side home in December 2017. Attendees included Fellows, Area Committee members, and other AlumniCorps community members.

The New York Area Committee also hosted a seminar at the Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Clinic in November 2017. The Adolescent Health Clinic provides free and subsidized healthcare to youth and families in NYC, and is known for its inclusion of other social services and youth support programs. The Committee hosted a panel discussion with the executive director—Angela Diaz—as well as a staff psychologist, and one of their youth coordinators. After the panel discussion, which featured topics ranging from fundraising for a $1 million+ budget to mental health programs for urban youth, Ms. Diaz provided a tour of the facility. Attendees included about 14 fellows and Area Committee members Molly O’Neill ’14, Judy Hole Surrat s’55, Amy Olivero ‘13, Maria Katarina Rafael ’14, and Scott Taylor ‘75.

The New York Area Committee has a Career Night planned for early February, which will cover areas of interest such as law, medicine, immigration, and media. In addition, New York City PP55 Fellows will attend a seminar at Planned Parenthood which is planned by the University of Chicago’s analogous public interest fellowship program. Look out for photos!

In Memoriam: Dr. Robert (Bob) Myrl Amick ’55

Dear AlumniCorps Community,

We were deeply saddened to learn last week of the death of Dr. Robert (Bob) Myrl Amick ’55 on Saturday, January 13, 2018, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Bob died peacefully in his sleep after persevering through myriad health issues over the years. Bob and his wife Carol Ruth Jockers Amick were true friends of AlumniCorps; Bob served on the Princeton Project 55 Board from 1999 to 2005 and, as late as 2014, generously donated his time to mentor Fellows in the Boston area. AlumniCorps is truly grateful for his years of service and very generous support of Princeton AlumniCorps.

Bob had an accomplished career in medicine and medical administration. He received his MD from Yale Medical School in 1959, which is also where he met Carol. He interned at Cincinnati General Hospital and after a residency served in the Army at the Fort Chaffee, Arkansas station hospital. He completed his military service in June 1965 and moved with his family to Boston, where he worked in cancer chemotherapy at the adult clinic of the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation, a division of Boston Children’s Hospital. Bob moved to Veteran’s Hospital in Jamaica Plain, MA in 1967, where he was promoted to staff physician and then appointed Chief of Staff in 1974. He received a Master’s Degree in Management Science from MIT’s Sloan School of Management as a Sloan Fellow in 1979. He returned to Veteran’s Hospital as the Associate Chief of Staff for Education, which he held until his retirement in 1998. He also held an academic post at Boston University School of Medicine as well as membership in various regional and national VA advisory groups. Bob exemplifies the contributions the members of the Class of ’55 have made to society themselves and, through Project 55, now AlumniCorps, through succeeding generations of Princetonians.

Bob’s classmates and colleagues described him as generous, quiet, and solid. Mike Lee ’55 had the privilege of attending Yale Medical School with Bob – Mike fondly remembers their experiences as lab partners. George Hackl ’55 said, “Bob was admired by his classmates for his integrity, his intelligence, his wit, and the fundamental goodness of his heart.” Kenly Webster ’55 noted he has “never known a more genuine person, dedicated to fairness and the highest ethical principles.” Steve Boyd ’55 remembered that while Bob did not attend the founding meeting of Princeton Project 55, Steve traveled soon thereafter to Boston and successfully recruited Bob to sign on to the nascent organization’s cause. Pete Milano ’55 remarked, “Bob was a person of the highest ethical and moral standards imaginable, always with a caring and insightful demeanor in his approach to people and in addressing issues of consequence. We will sorely miss him.” Anne-Marie Maman ’84 credits Bob for making her feel welcome when she was first introduced to AlumniCorps through the Boston Area Committee.

Bob is survived by his wife, Carol, of Brookline, MA; son Robert (Charlie) Amick and his wife, Tamra, of Sunnyvale, CA; daughter Helen Amick of Sunnyvale, CA; daughter Joan Kelly and her husband, Steve, of Newton, MA; daughter Lisa DiAdamo and her husband, Rob, of Brookline, MA; brother James Amick of Princeton, NJ; eleven grandchildren; and two nieces and two nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Donald Amick of Warren, NJ; his sister-in-law Helen Bradley of Center Tuftonboro, NH, and a niece.

A memorial service in celebration of Bob’s life will be held on Saturday, February 3rd at 10:30 am at the Union Church in Waban – 14 Collins Road, Waban, MA 02468. There will be a luncheon to follow at The Country Club – 191 Clyde Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.

Bob’s quiet leadership and dedication are a model for us all.

In Community,

Liz Duffy ’88, Board Chair
Debra Kushma ’80, Vice President
Kef Kasdin ’85, President & Executive Director

A Note from the President & Executive Director – Winter 2018

Princeton University in the winter

As a board member and volunteer in the Princeton area for the past several years, I had always looked forward to January and the opportunity to interview applicants for the Project 55 Fellowship. This year, I had the privilege of conducting the interviews as a staff member and it gave me a deeper appreciation not only for the countless hours the staff and our volunteer alumni interviewers spend reviewing applications materials and asking thought-provoking questions, but also for the potential impact of this, our flagship program, to transform the applicants and our partner organizations. As I marked the nine-month anniversary of assuming the Executive Director role, I told every applicant I interviewed that it is (still) one of my favorite parts of the job. This year we invited about 120 Princeton University seniors to interview for over 70 placements with many longstanding partner organizations as well as several new exciting opportunities. Students took time from their busy Reading Period and exam schedules to trek in the cold and snow to our office at 12 Stockton Street. Our staff is joined by AlumniCorps volunteers as we assess which placement might best fit each candidate’s skills, passions, career goals, and specific interests. The energy of these young people is palpable and contagious, not only in our interview rooms but throughout the office. In the midst of tumultuous domestic and international news, the earnest determination of these students gives us a sense of hope for the future.

One applicant I met with is a Dreamer who has already had a profound impact on her communities. Incredibly smart, caring, and capable, she is passionate about college access and is already an accomplished poet and artist. Another demonstrated great empathy and sensitivity while reflecting on the impacts of the Swim Team scandal last year and lit up when describing his thesis research. He met with successful asylum seekers to the US who are here because of persecutions for gender identity. We met a young woman determined to be a pediatrician who remained resilient and positive despite losing her mother to breast cancer while our applicant was a Princeton undergraduate. I spoke at length with another applicant about arts as cultural narrative, storytelling, and personal expression.  This brilliant senior from a family of educators believes strongly in the ability of theater to develop empathy. As I listened to the students share their passions and future plans, I was reminded of why we do what we do and why we seek to mobilize these soon-to-be-Princeton graduates for the public good.

AumniCorps ED Kef Kasdin ’85 (center, in blue with sunglasses) and other members of Rachel’s Network near the current Mexico-US border wall, November 2017.

I thrive on the personal interactions with our community and January was just the icing on the cake of a busy fall making connections in our network. In keeping with our Bold Idea Initiative’s focus on immigration issues, in November I traveled to the Mexico-US border with Rachel’s Network. As the Board Chair of Rachel’s Network, I liaised with grassroots leaders working for fairer outcomes for immigrant populations and safer, healthier environments for border communities. You can learn more about the trip on Rachel’s Network blog, here: https://rachelsnetwork.org/borderlandstrip.

In October I traveled to the Bay Area with our Director of Programs and Strategy, Caryn Tomljanovich. We met with current and prospective partner organizations, and the Area Committee hosted a get together with volunteers and Fellows in Oakland, CA at NewSchools Venture Fund.

As February approaches and our Fellowship candidates interview with the partner organizations to which we will have referred them, we switch focus to our Emerging Leaders program, which concludes with Closing Celebrations in New York City (February 13) and Washington, DC (February 15).  It’s amazing how time has flown since we selected these 32 high potential young managers last spring and kicked off the program in June.  The Closing Day and Celebration allows for reflection on and sharing of their experiences with each other, supervisors, family, and the broader AlumniCorps community, which welcomes them to continued learning, impact, and transformation. The Program builds capacity for these dedicated and self-aware leaders, both in themselves and for the nonprofits they are preparing to run.

Each opportunity to engage with our program participants and committed volunteers brings a renewed sense of purpose and energy to the work that we do at 12 Stockton. If you are reading this Shared Effort newsletter/ blog, then you are considered a part of the great ‘fishnet’ that is the AlumniCorps family. Here’s to another year of mobilizing people, organizations, and networks for the public good.

Development Update January 2018

The Endowment and our Keystone Society

Did you know that Princeton AlumniCorps has an endowment? Our endowment fund is professionally managed by TIAA, and had a market value of $1,470,584 on December 31, 2017. Each year, a portion (up to 4% maximum) of the fund is drawn on to support our current programs, with the balance reinvested to build for the organization’s future financial needs.

The endowment is funded by our supporters’ gifts of cash and appreciated securities, gifts from retirement accounts, and through important Keystone Society bequests of similar gifts and pledged life insurance.

A few of our Keystone members at the Keystone Breakfast in February 2017.

The Keystone Society is comprised of our most generous and forward-thinking donors, members who have committed to ensuring the stability and long-term health of Princeton AlumniCorps. They understand the power of a planned gift. They know that the assets they leave to AlumniCorps will continue to grow, mobilizing people, organizations, and networks for the public good for generations to come. In 2017, we welcomed Lewis Miller ’49, Judith Hole Suratt s’55, and J. Rogers Woolston ’55 as our new Society members. Thank you for your pledge of support! New members will be inducted this February at our Leadership Circle Breakfast.


J. Rogers Woolston ’55 was inducted into the Keystone Society at the February 2017 breakfast.

Leadership Circle Breakfast 2018

Each year Keystone Society members are honored with a small gathering featuring noted speakers. This year we are expanding the scope of the event by hosting a Leadership Circle Breakfast for all those who have demonstrated their commitment by giving significant time, talent, and treasure to AlumniCorps. Past guest speakers have included Nobel Prize-winner Professor Angus Deaton, noted first-amendment authority, Professor Margaret ‘Peggy’ Russell ’79, and last year we heard from well-known writer, documentarian, and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff ’83.

Leadership Circle Breakfast 2018 Speaker, Dan-el Padilla Peralta ’06

Our 2018 speaker is new AlumniCorps board member Dan-el Padilla Peralta ’06Dan-el is Assistant Professor of Classics at Princeton University. He is currently finishing his latest book entitled Divine institutions: religion and state formation in middle republican Rome. His 2015 memoir Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to Ivy League received an Alex Award from the American Library Association.

For more information on how you can ensure your legacy with AlumniCorps, please visit the Keystone website.