Alumni Association announces ‘Coffees’ connection

Networking among the Western community is about to get a jolt.

Starting this fall, the Western Alumni Association will partner with Ten Thousand Coffees, a social meeting place that connects students, recent graduates and young professionals with industry professionals, opening doors and sparking conversation. The announcement was made Saturday at the Alumni Association’s annual general meeting.

“As we talk to young alumni and students, we find they are looking for easy ways to connect with alumni,” said David Simmonds, BA’07, the association’s president-elect. “For students, it is an easy way to connect. For professionals, it’s a way to stay connected and on top of workforce needs.”

Western becomes the 10th university in North America, and the first in Canada, to join Ten Thousand Coffees.

Simmonds said a launch date has not yet been set, but he expected the program to be available for the fall semester. Plans for an awareness campaign are set for Homecoming 2015, Sept. 25-27, to have students and alumni join the program.

The program is free for all participants through the alumni association.

Here’s how it works: Students and recent graduates will go to a website to create a ‘novice profile,’ then browse a list of experts to invite for a career conversation, which can literally take place over a coffee in person, over Skype, email or telephone – whatever works. While leaders and experts profiles are public, novice profiles are not, and experts are not obligated to respond to every novice request.

Redwood Strategic Inc., a Toronto-based marketing, launched Ten Thousand Coffees in January 2014.

In addition to this announcement, the association, which fosters a lifelong connection with more than 270,000 Western alumni in more than 150 countries, elected the nominating committee’s slate of executive members and directors, including President John Eberhard, BA’66, LLB’69, and Simmonds. Past president Robert Collins, BA’77, who is now joining the university Senate for a two-year term, was recognized by the alumni association with a student award named in his honour.