I’m running for the Board of Directors of the Harvard Alumni Association, so if you’re a Harvard alum, you likely received a ballot in the mail recently. I’d very much appreciate your vote, and if you are so inclined, for you to encourage other alumni to vote for me as well.

Why am I doing this?

Well, I was asked. I got a call a few months ago to consider joining the board, primarily because they thought I could help push the alumni more into using social technologies. I was deeply honored to be asked so agreed to run.

Harvard made a huge difference in my life, not once, but twice (College ’88 and Business School ’93). And it continues to wield its influence in my life on a regular basis, from alumni connections to the research the University conducts. I see this as an opportunity to not only pay back my alma mater, but to also “pay it forward” and invest in a future that will benefit not only me, but also society and the world in general.

How I’ll help the Alumni Association

To be effective, Harvard has to extend and leverage its resources wisely, and one of the most exciting ways to do this today is through the use of disruptive technologies such as social media, mobile devices, and cloud computing. In particular, I’m energized by the possibility of tapping into the extensive Harvard alumni network, especially activating people who to this point have had limited engagement with Harvard.

Imagine if we’re able to get Harvard’s alumni base to interact and contribute just a bit more than they already are today, simply because the social affinity between alumni becomes greater because of these technologies. The implications are staggering – we could exponentially increase engagement on multiple fronts and provide greater support to Harvard’s mission of creating knowledge for the next generation of leaders.

There is also the issue of diversity on the board. As a woman and Asian American, I feel I bring a unique perspective that would benefit alumni programs. In particular, I frequently work with women who for very good reasons decided to take time off to raise their families — and then struggle to re-enter the workforce. I’d love to see the university develop more programs to help alumni – both male and female — as they go through the inevitable transitions in their lives.

How You Can Help

  1. Spread the word — tell other alumni to vote for me on the ballot. Send them a link to this post.
  2. Tell me what you would like the Alumni Association to do more of or do differently.  If I’m elected, I’ll be using these tools to surface ideas for the Board to consider. Comment directly on this post, or email me at charlene@charleneli.com.

Thank you!

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