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Alumni relations officer on speaking at Graduway Leaders Summit

Posted by. Brett Arnall
Posted on 04 December 2018

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​​​​Leeds Trinity University's Alumni Relations Officer Brett Arnall was part of a panel debating alumni best practice at the Graduway Leaders' Summit hosted by St Catherine's College, University of Oxford last month.

Brett has more than 14 years of experience working in alumni relations, the past four at Leeds Trinity. This is his blog post about the event.

The Graduway Leaders' Summit takes place every year as a gathering of leaders and executives in the alumni relations world. Delegates attend and listen to the industry's thought leaders, share best practice, develop professionally and network intensively.  Graduway host these events in Los Angeles, New York and next year will be taking the summit to London.

The two-day conference was a sell out and included case studies, workshops, best practice seminars and talks about the future of alumni relations. I was a panellist in the Alumni Debate where best practice was shared about events, alumni engagement, working with colleagues institution-wide and keeping up with the latest trends and technology. At the end of the debate the audience had chance to question the panel members about their experiences and advice.

It was a huge honour to be asked to be a panellist and share my experience. It was also a chance to reflect on how the alumni relations programme at Leeds Trinity University has developed in four years. Although I was sharing my knowledge the most important thing for me about attending was picking up new ideas and returning to the office with fresh concepts, best practice tips and analysing how we can offer our alumni the best experience possible.

Ever since I started working at the University in 2014 I have been bowled over by the level our alumni are prepared to support the University, be it as a mentor, placement provider, guest speaker or advocate. It is never about just thinking about what we can use our alumni for it is more about what can we give them and work together on them with for the best outcomes.

This year marked the biggest change I have experienced in my 15 years of working in the field of alumni relations, which was the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Being able to network with fellow professionals was paramount to helping to put together a stringent and robust approach for Leeds Trinity University.

We have always promoted that our alumni community is centred around lifelong belonging. During the two-day event the two most important quotes I resonated with, that fit in to the ethos of Leeds Trinity were 'the gift of time' and 'together forever, building a lifelong journey'. Our alumni give their time as mentors, placement providers and return to campus to give talks to inspire our students. We are very fortunate that so many give their time. People talk about the University experience typically as three-to-four years of hard-graft studying but it's more than that, as soon as you step through that door at Leeds Trinity, you're part of the family for life.​