Q & A with Alumni Board Chair

Networking, Executive Education Alums Are Focus for Wendy Pangburn MPA 1986

December 17, 2012
Mari Megias, Office of Alumni Relations and Resource Development

Q: What do you hope to achieve in your role as chair of the HKS alumni board?

A: The board started this year with a strong strategy session, where we took a holistic look at why the HKS Alumni Association exists. Out of that session, we identified four constituencies: alumni, the School, students, and the public at large. Our goal this year is to provide value to all four of these groups. To that end, we’ve realigned the committee structure on the board to provide relevant programs and services to make sure we are reaching all of these four constituencies.

We want to establish a better means of networking by, for instance, adding more regional or SIG (shared interest group) associations. A lot of people have “put their hands up” to be involved in the School, so we’re working on creating more formal opportunities for them to be involved. Within our Global Outreach Committee, we are creating alumni ambassador roles so that we have key representatives around the world. We will also be using the alumni network as a base for participation in the School’s Forum on the Road program. From a professional development standpoint, we are currently working with the student government to increase student mentoring and career introductions.

Q: Why did you want to become so involved with HKS?

A: It sounds corny, but I’m one of those people who think that giving back is important. HKS has been very good for me, professionally and personally. Just having the brand on my resume—HKS is a very recognizable and reputable product in the NGO, business, and government communities —has been helpful. On a personal note, I met some very good friends, whom I’m still closely tied to. When I started my company, many of these friends became my informal board of directors. I continue to use them as sounding boards for professional and personal challenges. If we could establish these types of connections in 1986 prior to the Internet, imagine what we can do today!

Q: How has your HKS education helped you in your work today?

A: HKS gave me the ability to be a critical thinker. It helps me challenge ideas and think how to approach various issues through a variety of lenses. I also think my HKS education helped build my confidence.

Q: Any additional thoughts on the role of the HKS Alumni Board?

A: Many alumni don’t realize that becoming a member of the HKS Alumni Association doesn’t cost anything. Also, I want to emphasize that the network is for all alums, both degree program and Executive Education participants. Believe it or not, we are a force to be reckoned with—we are more than 50,000 leaders around the world! This year we want to make sure Executive Education alumni are pulled into our massive network. Many are in senior positions and have so much to offer to the School in terms of connections and potential job opportunities for both students and alumni. They also have real giving potential in terms of financial support. We really want to embrace Executive Education students as part of our network.

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Wendy Pangburn MPA  1986, HKS Alumni Board Chair