Emerging Leaders Spotlight: Scott Welfel

Why did you join the Princeton AlumniCorps community and the Emerging Leaders program? We posed that question to Scott Welfel ’06, a Staff Attorney at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and 2014-15 Emerging Leader.

Scott Welfel '06
Scott Welfel ’06

I applied to Emerging Leaders because I wanted to learn how to play a more active role in the operation, organization, and direction of my organization even from my current role as staff attorney, to position myself to become one of the leaders in prisoner reentry policy in New Jersey, and to improve my ability to effectively and efficiently manage my direct reports. I was inspired by the example of Emerging Leaders alumni, such as Shena Elrington, who have risen to become incredibly effective leaders in their organizations and their respective fields.

I have learned an enormous amount from my colleagues – the other Emerging Leaders currently in the program. It is really inspiring to be connected with such passionate, driven advocates for social justice, and to learn different management techniques from their collective experience and wisdom. Additionally, Yael Sivi, Program Facilitator for New York, is hands-down a master teacher. Her knowledge of what makes us and others tick, and how to harness that knowledge to realize the full potential of our organizations, is absolutely unparalleled. If given the option of choosing one person to send to end the gridlock in Washington, I would send Yael.

The skills and tools I am learning at Emerging Leaders are particularly crucial in the social justice sphere of legal advocacy, where organizations are dependent on law student interns. Effective and efficient management of interns is particularly difficult given the transient and unpaid nature of their positions. Through mastering the skill of effective management, I hope to markedly increase the capacity and productivity of the Institute for Social Justice as well as any organizations I land at in the future.

I support AlumniCorps because I believe effective leadership, and the level of self-reflection that is required for effective leadership, must be taught. No other organization currently offers this level of high-caliber professional development for leaders in the public interest sector.

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