Council Connects Young Alums with Robinson
Andy Wise (MBA ’06) decided to form the Robinson Council of Young Business Leaders after a conversation with Dean Fenwick Huss at a college event. While they were chatting, the dean remarked that Robinson needed a leadership group focused on connecting new and recent alumni with the college.
To join the invitation-only group, members must be alumni of a Robinson undergraduate, graduate or certificate program, currently active in the business community, less than 45 years old or have graduated less than 10 years before becoming a member. At present, the council has about 100 active members.
Its mission is, “To cultivate and unite a network of young business leaders, strengthen ties between the Atlanta business community and J. Mack Robinson College of Business alumni and serve as advocates of Georgia State University through active participation and networking, fundraising, business leadership and community involvement.”
“We want all-stars, those who represent their company well at work and in the community – the best of the best – those who want to be a part of Robinson again and want to get re-engaged and want to have fun,” said Wise, who is an assistant vice president and financial advisor with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Elizabeth Spence (MBA ’08) is director of human resources at Coca-Cola Refreshments. She’s been with the council since it was founded in 2009 and is now a board member. “I joined because I felt passionate about the Robinson College and I wanted to work on strengthening the university’s relationships with local companies,” Spence said.
The council conducts corporate visits during which members enjoy candid conversation with C-level executives. The group has met with senior leaders of CNN, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Cookerly Public Relations, Cox Communications, Frito-Lay, McKesson and NCR, among others.
They also perform community service, teaming up with Atlanta nonprofit Park Pride to clean up and beautify public parks.
“It’s important for people who are fortunate enough to have the resources and time to give back,” Spence said. “It also drives our mission to make the Robinson College more visible in the community, and it drives networking and relationship building between our members.”
Wise would like to see the group continue to grow by helping current students, through programming and by being an example. He hopes the council can one day sponsor a scholarship for Robinson students, describing it as “the ultimate legacy.”
“We’re not trying to be the largest alumni group, just one of the most impactful,” Wise said.