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Alumni sing the alma mater at CALC 2018 in Philadelphia.

Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference opens to all

The Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference (CALC), an annual meeting for alumni leaders and volunteers, is expanding in 2019 to include all alumni interested in Cornell community and engagement. The conference is scheduled for Feb. 8-10 in Boston.

“I invite all Cornell alumni to join this weekend of idea-sharing and community as we form a strategy for the future of alumni engagement,” said Michelle Vaeth ’98, associate vice president of alumni affairs. “At CALC, we will hear from student and campus leaders, and I will share my vision for the next five years of alumni connection to the university and to each other. Your voice is important to this moment.”

A student panel takes the stage at CALC 2015, during Cornell’s sesquicentennial year.

In the past, CALC was a conference for class officers and other volunteers to train for specific roles and plan for specific events. This year’s conference focuses on creating a new strategic plan, spearheaded by Vaeth, for Cornell alumni affairs.

“This year, we’ve expanded it to include anybody who is interested, regardless of whether they’re a current volunteer or not,” said Tina Gourley, director of volunteer programs. “Strategic planning is the biggest focus of the entire weekend, but there will also be learning at the same time.”

The weekend’s “storyline,” Gourley said, will move from the big-picture view of Cornell, to strategic planning, to specific opportunities to get involved.

Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, will kick off the conference with stories from today’s Cornell in a TED Talk-style presentation with students.

Next comes an organized networking session – “think of speed dating,” Gourley said – designed to help Cornellians make new connections outside their established organizations and graduation-year groups.

Saturday will be all about strategic planning, Gourley said. Vaeth and Kelly Brown ’88, MBA ’91, chair of the Cornell Alumni Advisory Board, will lead a discussion of the future of Cornell alumni affairs, followed by breakout sessions.

CALC 2019 offers a digital track for alumni who want to attend online, without traveling in person to Boston. A digital ticket includes livestream access to the keynote address, a broadcast of the strategic planning session and opportunities to provide feedback.

The conference will conclude with a volunteer expo full of opportunities for alumni to find their place to get involved. And throughout the weekend, there will be plenty of unplanned time for attendees to connect with old friends and make new ones.

“My goal,” Gourley said, “is to meet 10 people I’ve never met before.”

Registration is open to attend in person or attend online.

Kate Blackwood is a writer and editor for Alumni Affairs and Development.

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Lindsey Hadlock