Alumni Association Executive Sets Priorities

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Most SAF alumni want to stay connected to their classmates, but they may not know exactly how to do that, and making the effort to seek out other grads and coordinate events can be daunting. But still they feel that undeniable urge to re-ignite as professionals the sense of community, camaraderie, and intellectual stimulation they enjoyed as students. This is where the School of Accounting and Finance Alumni Association (SAF AA) comes in, says its new president, Jesse Waltman.

We're here to facilitate career development and networking opportunities, and to communicate the personal and professional successes of alumni, faculty, and the School," explains Jesse of Celestica Inc., "As well, we host community and social events, help coordinate class reunions, and foster long-lasting relationships.

The new Executive has identified several immediate priorities. Reconnecting with longer-tenured alumni who want to know what's going on and how to participate is a key one. Offering stand-alone events (or partnering with the SAF) to grow a program of professional development and speaker series events, and continuing to advance effective communication channels with all alumni are other top-of-list items.

Why they serve, what they bring

"I'm honoured and humbled to play this leadership role," Jesse says. He and his colleagues want the SAF AA to become a vital resource for alumni and to enhance what he calls the "the already strong brands" of the SAF and the University of Waterloo. He brings an open-minded, collaborative approach to the tasks ahead. "I also love meeting new people," he adds, "and connecting various acquaintances for their mutual benefit."

For Vlad Moisseykin, serving as V-P Finance and Administration will help him realize a vision of making the SAF AA one of the premier alumni groups in Canada – "the kind of affiliation that graduates proudly wear on their sleeves, and that current and prospective students aspire to be part of." Having served on the predecessor team, the consultant with FTI Consulting will supply an element of continuity. "I'm extremely excited to work with the diverse individuals forming the current committee," he told us.

For her part, Elaine Lee, V-P Communications, strongly believes the SAF and the Association have a lot to offer each other. A Distinguished Toastmaster, professional photographer and web designer, she too brings a wealth of experience to the group. "By joining the Executive," she notes, "I have the opportunity to meet and work with some truly amazing people!" Elaine is the Manager of Financial Reporting for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Serving as V-P Connections and Events, Gavin Swartzman believes he owes much of his good fortune to the SAF and it's time to give back. "I appreciate the opportunity to make a contribution." Honesty, though, requires him to mention one plain fact: "I was heavily recruited and couldn't say no!" He is the Managing Director of MDC Partners Inc., and his experience in strategy, business development, succession planning, and financial oversight will undoubtedly prove useful.

In taking over the SAF AA reins, Jesse Waltman is keen to praise the outgoing executive members for their hard work and dedication. "Our team looks forward to picking up where they left off," reports the new leader, "and advancing the mission of the Association while appealing to a broad base of alumni in a meaningful way."

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