Since December 2018, our Alumni Leadership Board have been shaping alumni work at the Sutton Trust.
They have piloted regional events around the country, curated and hosted our first ever Alumni Festival, and spoken to hundreds of students on our programmes. Since March 2020, however, all that hard work has had to be done over Zoom calls and WhatsApp group threads. That’s why last Saturday we were so delighted to welcome our Alumni Leadership Board back to the (literal) table for our first in-person meeting since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This meeting felt like the start of a new chapter for the Board, especially as this was the first meeting we were joined by our incredible new Board members. All experts in their own right, they also span a range of Sutton Trust programmes, subject areas and sectors and bring a huge wealth of knowledge and perspectives to the Trust. They are:
These new joiners started their day by getting to grips with the whole scope of the Trust’s work, thanks to an intro session from our Director of Programmes and Partnerships Laura Bruce. They then received a welcome and intro to the work of the ALB from our new Co-Chairs (and original founding members) Michelle Sebele and Ben Jones.
Meanwhile, returning members started their day doing the equally important work of catching up over a spot of breakfast – crucial when you’ve only been able to meet online for the previous year. (You can also get to know these members by reading their bios).
Once everyone came together, and after a much-needed tea break, Senior Programmes Manager: Alumni Engagement Marie-Rose Delauzun focussed in on the Trust’s alumni work. This got everyone up to speed on that area of work so that the group could then break out and discuss what ALB members hope to achieve in the next year, and how they could make those hopes happen. (Hint: there will be a lot happening with the 25th anniversary of the Trust).
Coming back after lunch, the Board returned for arguably the most exciting session of the day, a masterclass on our research and policy work from our Research & Policy Manager Dr Rebecca Montacute. After a deep-dive on how it works, the Board got started feeding back on the Trust’s policy positions and found out how to give the most impactful feedback on research, ensuring that alums’ expertise is heard and understood by the Trust’s team.
After all that, the day ended with a celebratory drink: celebrating being together in person again, celebrating the new members, celebrating the founding members of the Board who have now taken a step back to allow the next generation to lead… and celebrating being out of a stuffy room.
We are thrilled with all the seeds that were planted in our first IRL ALB meeting. Over the coming weeks and months, the ALB and the alumni team at the Trust will be nurturing them and will have exciting news to share with you. If you’re an alum, watch out for regional socials happening around the country!
If you’d like to talk to one of our Alumni Leadership Board members or get in touch with the alumni team here at the Trust, we’d love to hear from you via [email protected].