Emerging Leaders Spotlight: Suzanne Chipkin

Why did you join the Princeton AlumniCorps community and the Emerging Leaders program? We posed that question to Suzanne Chipkin, Associate Manager, Young Lions at the New York Public Library and 2013-14 Emerging Leader.

Suzanne Chipkin
Suzanne Chipkin

I became interested in the Emerging Leaders program when a former colleague told me great things about his experience. After three years at iMentor, I was looking to connect with people at other organizations and develop my own career—I needed to broaden my horizons. With Emerging Leaders, I found a diverse, accomplished set of people. I was looking to move to a management role and develop other skills.

To me, the peer coaching was the highlight of the program. Being coached by my fellow Emerging Leaders—individuals who knew me well but were outside of my organization—helped me reflect, process challenges, and brainstorm solutions. On the other side, being a coach helped me to understand my peers better and allowed me to get an inside look at other organizations and teams.

I loved the guest speakers, and I learned so much from hearing their stories. One of the biggest lessons I took from these talks is the idea that careers seldom take a linear path. My experience with the Emerging Leaders program has helped me to clarify my career goals, take on more responsibilities professionally, and focus on what matters most to me. I switched jobs shortly after completing Emerging Leaders. While I didn’t have staff management           experience, the skills I gained in the program helped me to stand out in the interview process.

I plan to stay in the nonprofit sector for my career. I care about a lot of issues, and there are so many great nonprofit organizations making an impact. It’s exciting that Emerging Leaders is preparing young leaders across the sector—you need help getting the skills and experience. I support Princeton AlumniCorps because its work to strengthen the sector resonates with me. The AlumniCorps community is special!

Emerging Leaders in DC “Pay It Forward”

By Reggie Galloway ’11
2015-16 AlumniCorps Emerging Leader

unnamed (5)One of the most challenging aspects of leading any nonprofit organization is fundraising; it needs to happen, but can be excruciatingly difficult. Depending on their size, nonprofit organizations—particularly their CEOs and development teams—are tasked with raising thousands to millions of dollars each year in order to cover costs. As a participant in Princeton AlumniCorps’ Emerging Leaders program, I got a small taste of the time, effort, and innovation it takes to raise funds for a nonprofit with a good cause.

The purpose of the Emerging Leaders program is to provide rising nonprofit managers with an immersion experience into various aspects of nonprofit sector leadership, including fundraising. Each year, each regional cohort of Emerging Leaders program participants is tasked with raising $4,000 in groups of 4 ($1,000 per group or $250 per program participant) to help support next year’s cohort. This year, our DC cohort decided to do something unique: instead of working in silos, combine on one collective fundraising effort in the form of the “Princeton AlumniCorps: Pay It Forward” Happy Hour.

Although we were all aware of the program’s fundraising assignment well before of our first session in June, this benefit happy hour came together in the course of three months. We mapped out and executed the event details during our sessions, lunch breaks, conference calls, and through emails. During the course of planning the happy hour, we were granted a crash course in nonprofit development and tackled some questions and challenges in event planning.

On November 19, we held our happy hour at Mission at Dupont Circle. Eighty friends, colleagues, and supporters joined us. There was lots of energy as we celebrated five years of Emerging Leaders in Washington, DC, and raised about $1,000.00.

Our team enjoyed engaging in this collective effort and looks forward to reaching our goal! You can help us pay it forward at crowdrise.com/alumnicorps.

Catching Up With AlumniCorps in Chicago

unnamed (4)In early November, AlumniCorps Executive Director Andrew Nurkin, Partnership Manager Caryn Tomjlanovich, and Development Director Sharon Keld ’80 spent two and a half packed days in Chicago, visiting partner organizations and longtime supporters. Among the partner organizations they met with were the Steans Family Foundation, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Better Boys Foundation, and North Lawndale Employment Network. They also sat in on a strategy session with the Chicago Area Committee, met with Chicago supporters and Board members, and caught up with counterparts at the University of Chicago Public Interest Program and Northwestern’s fellowship program.

Andrew, Caryn, and Sharon joined current fellows, mentors, and other Area Committee members for a pizza party at the offices of Jeff Sharp ’80. There’s nothing like Chicago pizza to bring the AlumniCorps community together! The next morning, the staff and Area Committee volunteers attended the weekly seminar that is held for the Princeton Project 55, University of Chicago PIP, and Northwestern fellows, about 50 in all. Hosted by Princeton Project 55 fellow Calvin Gross ’15, employees of Lawndale Christian Health Center talked about their challenges and successes providing access to health care in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

Regional Updates

The Bay Area

We gathered at St. Gregory of Nyssa church on April 25th to celebrate AlumniCorps’s 25th Anniversary. Fellows, mentors, and volunteers, including several from the Class of ’55 shared memories and experiences with the organization over the years. We were especially thrilled to see several children of ‘55ers ready to lead AlumniCorps for future generations!



This has been an exciting time for Boston as we celebrated the 25th anniversary with the greater Princeton in New England community at a panel centered around education. With the help of committee member and former fellow, Anu Pattabiraman ’10, the event featured Princeton alumni who are deeply involved in education from various perspectives. The event was buzzing with enthusiasm and eagerness to solve and unpack challenging issues as we reflected upon the advancements in education over the last 40 years since the Garrity Decision on Boston school desegregation.

We will continue this momentum through June by partnering with Princeton Internships in Civic Service and Harvard Center for Public Interest Careers to welcome new students to the area at a brunch, but will also be sad to say goodbye to our wonderful fellows, Anne Brown ’13 and Amali Gunawardana ’14. Fortunately for the AlumniCorps community, Amali will begin her second fellowship at the New York Center for Child Development in July. Good luck Anne and Amali!



This year’s PP55 fellows Suchana Costa ’14 and Damali James ’14 are wrapping up there fellowship at Housing Development Fund. The Connecticut area committee is actively  seeking alumni to serve on the area committee. Please contact Frank Cruz ’89 at fcruz@alumnicorps.org if you are interested in volunteering.



The Chicago area committee gathered to celebrate the   completion of the fellowship year. The event was hosted by Vince Anderson ’65 and PP55 fellows, fellowship alumni, mentors, and volunteers were in attendance.


New Jersey

We are very excited to have TWO fellows in our reconstituted New Jersey program: Jeanette Beebe ’14 and Allegra Wiprud ’14, who will be fellows at the Rita Allen Foundation and D&R Greenway, respectively. We are furiously working to develop the support this new responsibility demands.


New York

The NY Fellow Support Committee hosted its annual Career Night in coordination with the Harvard CPIC committee in February. The event was held at the Social Science Research Council. Many members of the NYC community led small group discussions on a variety of fields from education to law.

On March 4th, the NYC AlumniCorps community celebrated AlumniCorps’ 25th Anniversary. The well-attended and universally enjoyed event was graciously hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation. Alumni and friends enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres before hearing from a fantastic group of speakers, featuring Sheryl WuDunn *88 and others who have contributed to, shaped, or been deeply touched by AlumniCorps. The event showcased both the amazing work of AlumniCorps in the past 25 years and the promise of the future with many exciting new programs, renewing excitement and commitment to the mission and vision of the organization.

During Princeton’s spring break, the NY Social and Alumni Relations Committee organized a panel on modern school segregation for one of Princeton’s Breakout trips, an alternative spring break trip focused on civic engagement. The event brought together Princeton alumni and current students for a lively discussion of an important social challenge we face today.

In April, the Seminar committee also organized a private tour to the 9/11 memorial and museum, which was as educational as it was deeply moving. 12 people attended and experienced the memorial and museum together in a unique way.

Looking back on the 2014-15 fellowship year, AlumniCorps in NY had a fruitful and fun-filled year! Beyond the 8 social events ranging from happy hours along the river to mini-golf, 5 seminars on topics ranging from adolescent health to the history and design of Central Park, and a career night, we continued to expand the AlumniCorps community and engage many more in it. As another year’s fellows are nearing the end of their fellowship experience, we look forward to capping the year with a closing dinner and welcoming next year’s fellows!


Washington, DC

In February, the Washington DC cohort of P55 Fellows met for a seminar at the National Postal Museum. The session was organized by John Nolan of the Washington & Lee Program and featured a guided conversation with Suzanne Laporte, Executive Director at Compass, based on Jim Collins’ Good to Great and the Social Sectors.

In March, Fellows convened at the National Council of Nonprofits to meet with Jenny Chandler, Vice President and Director of Network Support and Knowledge Sharing.  Jenny presented on trends and challenges for charitable nonprofits and gave an informative overview of the independent sector.  Thanks to Bob Davidson from the Dartmouth program for connecting us!

In April, Lisa Lazarus ’02, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region for Reading Partners hosted us at her office for a workshop on negotiating techniques and strategies. Fellows learned how to think strategically about what they ask for and how to react to different scenarios.

In May, TAN affiliates, mentors, and P55 Fellows were all invited to a social and networking dinner at Local 16. Thanks to current fellow Evaline Cheng ’14 and Social Chair Amy Sweeny ’12 for organizing such a fun night!

Our final events for the year will include a debriefing brunch with all current PP55 Fellows and a 25th Anniversary Celebration for the entire extended AlumniCorps network in DC featuring remarks Eric Lavin, Manager of the DC Urban Innovation Lab at the Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation.

We look forward to seeing the rest of the AlumniCorps community at Reunions in just a few weeks!







Regional Updates

The Bay Area

In January, we collaborated with Harvard and Stanford fellowship programs to offer a Graduate Student Panel hosted at Stanford University. The panel featured current graduate school students in Business, Medicine, and Public Policy, who shared their experiences with fellows. We look forward to building on our partnership with Stanford and Harvard to offer more programming to fellows across the Bay Area.

The Bay Area Steering Committee had fun preparing our Bay Area video to encourage prospective fellows to consider moving to SF for a fellowship next year!



The Boston-area fellows attended a public interest careers dinner in October, hosted by the Harvard CPIC program, and attended a seminar in November focusing on public interest law.  The November seminar featured Andrea Campbell ’04, who spoke engagingly about her legal career and her perspective on the field.  In December, we hosted a holiday gathering for the Princeton AlumniCorps fellows, along with the High Meadows, Puttkammer and CPIC fellows.



Since the beginning of the year, we had a wonderful seminar with State Senator Heather Steans, ’85.  Heather assured us that government can make a difference, and in particular felt that representatives at the state level can be very effective.  Heather brings an inspiring

amount of energy to her job and has accomplished much in her 7 years in office.  She gave an honest assessment of the budget issues Illinois faces.

We volunteered at the Chicago Food Depository on January 28.  We spent 3 hours sorting out
bad apples and were exhausted at the end of it.

We have been preparing for a new crop of fellows with continued outreach to our partner organizations and prospective fellows.  We have been connecting seniors applying to the program with current fellows.

Finally, the Triangle Show came to Chicago on January 27.  Many fellows and mentors gathered at a pre-show reception.


New York

In December, the PP55 community in New York gathered at the home of Steve and Toni Houck ’69 for its annual holiday party. Steve and Toni graciously hosted us in their beautiful apartment in Brooklyn Heights, looking over the waterfront and the Brooklyn Bridge. We shared travel and vacation plans while feasting on turkey, stuffing, and not to mention, an assorted variety of delicious desserts. It was wonderful to join fellows and alumni across different years and their friends for some holiday warmth.

In early January, Victoria Lee ’13 and Lily Fu ’11 organized a SARC outing to the Museum of Modern Art to take advantage of their free Friday offering, joined by Jason Gold ’81, Kathy Canning ’97, and Vaidehi Mujumdar (Dartmouth fellow). While we missed the Matisse exhibit, we learned a lot more about the beginnings of modern art from Jason, our impromptu guide for the day!

In February, PP55 will hold its annual career night, where current fellows can explore a wide range of career paths with alumni and other professionals in the PP55 community.


Washington, DC

Washington DC’s cohort of Fellows has continued to participate in a robust lineup of seminars on a variety of topics and issues.  The Steering Committee has had great success partnering with the TAN affiliates in DC around seminar planning.

December’s seminar was hosted by Steering Committee Co-Chair Dana Weinstein ’12 at her organization, Partners for the Common Good.  The session featured Jeannine Jacokes, Chief Executive Officer at PCG, and Kim Saunders, Interim Chief Credit Officer, and introduced the Fellows to the world of community development finance institutions.  The conversation touched on access to capital issues as well as trends in social responsible investing.

January’s seminar was entitled “Career Paths in the Non-Profit Sector” and featured three Princeton alumnae from this year’s Emerging Leaders from the DC Cohort: Margaret Arbuthnot ’07, Program Officer at the World Wildlife Fund; Meredith Kimball Doud ’07, Senior Program Officer at Results for Development; and Theola DeBose ’96, Director of Communications at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Upcoming events include:

  • A guided discussion organized by our TAN affiliate Washington & Lee based on Jim Collins’ Good to Great and the Social Sectors, featuring a conversation with Suzanne Laporte, Executive Director at Compass
  • A workshop on negotiating techniques and strategy led by Lisa Lazarus ’02, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region for Reading Partners
  • A conversation organized by our TAN affiliate Dartmouth featuring Jenny Chandler (Dartmouth ’82), Vice President of the National Council of Nonprofits, addressing nonprofit agency management challenges and opportunities
  • A joint seminar with the ProInspire program focusing on social entrepreneurship
  • A social and networking dinner for all P55 Fellows and TAN affiliate Fellows


Regional Updates Fall 2014

The Bay Area

    Tiffany Lee ’11 has been leading the partner organization recruitment for the Bay Area this year. We are excited to see a great deal of interest from potential new partners.

   On December 4 the area committee hosted a Happy Hour at the Olympic Club for fellows and AlumniCorps mentors and volunteers.


   The Boston area committee welcomed two Princeton AlumniCorps fellows this summer. We co-hosted a welcome event in September with the Harvard CPIC fellows, the High Meadows Fellows, and the Puttkammer fellow. We kicked off the year with a seminar sponsored by the Harvard CPIC program: a dinner event which enabled fellows to mingle with professionals working in a variety of careers within the nonprofit sector. The November seminar featured Andrea Campbell ’04 speaking about her work in public interest law and her perspective on the field. AlumniCorps fellow Amali Gunawardana ’14 published a blog post on the Shared Effort blog, describing the exciting start to her fellowship year.


   On September 9, Vince Anderson ’65 and his wife Sally hosted new fellows and mentors for an orientation and kick-off event. Chicago Area Committee Chair Whitney Spalding Spencer ’07 shared information on the Chicago fellowship program, and Carol Obertubessing ’73 distributed her famous Chicago tip sheet in addition to tickets for fellows to the Princeton Night at the Cubs hosted by the Princeton Club of Chicago.

   On October 28, more than 120 people, including 30 current and former fellows and 25 partner organizations, gathered at the Mid-America Club to celebrate 25 years of Project 55 in Chicago. We heard from John Rogers ’80, John Horan (a longtime Project 55 supporter), and Chris Mallette ’93 about what Project 55 has meant to them. Speakers also paid tribute to, and channeled, the late John Fish ’55, who made Project 55 what it is today and whose legacy we all work to continue. Many thanks to our lead event sponsor John Rogers ’80 and Ariel Investments for making the evening celebration possible. John Rogers was joined as honorary co-chair by Harrison Steans ’57, to whom we also extend our thanks.

    Our fellows have already participated in 10 seminars this year, many of which were held in conjunction with Public Interest Program fellows from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. We started the year with a getting-to-know you seminar for all three universities on August 25 and have since had seminars three times a month, including seminars on sustainable energy at Elevate Energy (hosted by former fellows Tessa Maurer ’13 and Andrew Kinaci ’10), on Asset Based Community Development, on metrics at the Cara Program, on education at North Lawndale College Prep Charter School, on after-school programming at Urban Initiatives, on community organizing at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, on focused actions at Interfaith Youth Corps, on fundraising and foundations at the Crossroads Fund, on why for-profits do public interest work at Mayer Brown, and on LGBT advocacy at the Center on Halsted. Our fellows have learned a ton and had an opportunity to meet with some very impressive people. Thanks, in particular, to Rebecca Deaton ’91 and Maddy Woodle ’13 who lead the seminar planning work for the Chicago Area Committee.


   The Connecticut area committee had a kickoff celebration on August 27th at the Greenwich Water Club. Mentors, fellows, former fellows, supporters of the fellowship program, and staff got acquainted and talked about our wishes for PP55 in the region.

  Mentors this year are Lisa Getson ’93 for Suchana Costa ’14 and Nicky Fritz ’87 for Damali James ’14.

New York

    In August, Fellows Support Committee co-Chairs Jess Jardine ’10 and Sarah Twardock ’11 organized a Fellows’ Kick-Off event to welcome the new class of fellows to the Big Apple. Rainah Berlowitz ’97, Christina Barba ’02, and Connie Lewin ’05 spoke to the fellows about their career experiences, and Bridget Wright ’11 provided insights on living in New York City on a Princeton Project 55 fellowship budget. Other Steering Committee members and mentors, including Corey Riley ’98, came out to introduce themselves to the new fellows.

The broader New York AlumniCorps community had the opportunity to meet and welcome the new fellows at the Welcome Supper, generously hosted by Dominic Michel ’70, his wife Dawn, and his mother-in-law Gloria. What a delight it was to have over 40 current fellows, former fellows, mentors, Board members, committee members, and AlumniCorps staff members including Frank Cruz ’89 and Ry Beck in attendance. It was especially meaningful for the new fellows to meet Sam Suratt ’55, who warmed everyone’s hearts with his big smile and stories about Princeton and New York City. A long-time Princeton AlumniCorps supporter, mentor, Board member, and Steering Committee member, Sam Suratt ’55 touched the lives of countless New York fellows and passed in October. He is sorely missed.

   The fellows have continued to mingle with one another and explore New York together through fun, engaging events organized by Social & Alumni Relations Committee Co-Chairs Lily Fu ’13 and Victoria Lee ’13. The fellows enjoyed a late summer happy hour at the Boat Basin Cafe and an autumn picnic at the Union Square Farmers Market.

   The Seminar Committee has also kicked off the year with enlightening programming for the fellows. Bridget Wright ’11 and Judy Hole Suratt s’55 coordinated a fascinating tour of New York’s legendary Central Park led by the Central Park Conservancy, and it was a treat to have Andrew Goldstein ’06, a former fellow and current Board member, in attendance. The next seminar was a roundtable discussion at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, featuring executive director Angela Diaz, MD. The evening touched on various topics from confidentiality/legal issues of the clinic to the historical impact of the organization on the community to recent trends of health care cases within the neighborhood, appealing to fellows’ interests in health, law, education, community development, and beyond.

   The New York community looks forward to gathering together for a Holiday Party generously hosted by Steve Houck ’69. Many thanks to all for a wonderful 2014, and we look forward to all that 2015 will bring.

Washington, DC

   The new fellowship year is off to a great start for DC’s nine fellows. We launched the year on September 22 with a Welcome Dinner hosted at the Aspen Institute.

   The dinner was a great opportunity for fellows to meet one another as well as the other members of the DC AlumniCorps community. We were especially grateful to hear from AlumniCorps Board Chairman Kenly Webster ’55 and Board Member Tony Quainton ’55 about the history of Princeton AlumniCorps. Thanks also to Board member Anne Goldstein ’79 and mentor Lindsay Ferrer ’01 for joining our group that evening. During the dinner we engaged in a lively dialogue about the Fellowship program, including brainstorming ideas for how it can continue growing and adapt in the future.

   Following our Welcome Dinner, we hosted an Orientation event for Fellows on October 5th. We focused the session on how to get the most out of the Fellowship year, including adjusting to living in a new city, navigating the office environment, maximizing the value of the mentor-mentee relationship, and setting goals for the year. We were fortunate to have two guest speakers at our event, current Mentor Jon Extein ’10 and emeritus Board member Arthur     McKee ’90.

   On October 29, the fellows convened for their first seminar, Managing Workplace Relationships, which was expertly facilitated by Lisa Lazarus ‘02. The workshop-style seminar helped Fellows cultivate skills to solve problems and make decisions, resolve conflict and negotiate, cooperate with others, and listen actively in their workplaces.

   Future events include a topic-based seminar on Community Development Finance and a holiday dinner.

   On Tuesday, November 18, current Emerging Leaders hosted a Women’s Networking Mixer at Washington, DC’s Local 16 bar. The mixer was open to women who work across all sectors in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. The group saw an opportunity to connect women of all ages in a meaningful way to establish professional and personal relationships. The team decided to create a space for women to connect while fundraising for future Emerging Leaders. Thirty attendees received a welcome from Princeton AlumniCorps Emerging Leaders Alum, Elizabeth Lindsey *07, Chief Operating Officer of Groundswell. Her remarks inspired as she discussed the importance of having support of others as you grow professionally. She highlighted that it is possible to have the life you want to live and truly balance the responsibilities of marriage, motherhood, and professional growth as long as you have meaningful relationships to support you as grow throughout career. She ended her remarks by sharing how Emerging Leaders has enhanced her career and offered information about applying for next year’s Emerging Leaders program.