For this edition of Almabase Spotlights featuring Liberal Arts Colleges, we feature Skidmore College and their incredible Cocktails and Conversation initiative, which is helping engage with small segments of their alumni through virtual cocktail parties.
💡 An Idea to Engage with Alumni through a Night of Cocktails and Conversation
The Cocktails and Conversation series was born out of the need to engage with micro segments of alumni in particular regions. The initiative first began as an exclusive in-person event called Dinner with 12 Strangers a couple of years before the pandemic, where a faculty member joined alumni in smaller regions for a three-course meal and offered remarks on their area of expertise. With the onset of COVID-19 and in-person restrictions, the series pivoted to a virtual set-up. Fast-forward to a couple of years later, and the initiative has evolved to a successful series of virtual gatherings on Zoom. Alumni who participate are encouraged to tune in with a suggested cocktail or mocktail from the comfort of their own home.
The next series of Cocktails and Conversation events begins in late January and features a faculty member who is an expert on a selected timely and relevant topic. Instead of being a monologue, these events aim to be a scintillating conversation between the alumni and the faculty host. These authentic dialogues help provide opportunities for deeper engagement with alumni, as opposed to other event formats, such as a formal lecture or a webinar. These events are also an excellent platform to identify speakers and topics that would work well for a wider audience. We love how Skidmore is bringing small groups of its alumni together for an evening of exciting cocktails and sparkling conversations. 💚
🌟 Our Source of Inspiration
Crystal Brownell is the Senior Assistant Director in Skidmore’s Office of Alumni Relations and College Events . She has spent her professional career devising strategy to achieve successful and measurable results in both private business and higher education. As an accomplished visionary leader and strategist, she enjoys creating new and unique in-person and virtual opportunities for alumni. Crystal partners with volunteers throughout the country with a focus on regional engagement.
Carissa Miles serves as associate director of Alumni Relations and College Events at Skidmore College, where she is responsible for Regional Event Planning in hopes of bringing Skidmore to the Alumni Network all over the globe. Since she began in 2012, she has successfully built strong relationships with colleagues, alumni, and volunteers, while managing 2 reunion classes, on top of her primary focus of increasing the number of quality events from 50 to 115. Carissa also owns her own resume writing business, Roadmap Resumes, LLC where she helps her clients at different stages of their careers.