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Business and Economics Alumni Society a Success Story

Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

Business and Economics Alumni Society a Success Story

With our focus, above all, on student success, both during and after coursework at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, one crucial strategy is to better engage our alumni with the aim of building strong and lasting networks. Coursework alone often fails to prepare students for the challenges of the modern world—challenges that include the need to aggressively network in a competitive job market.Danilda Hiraldo, Kevin Foster, Denisse Olivarez
A strong alumni base, at its best, promotes and fosters professional development for current students and recent graduates, and bridges the space between the classroom and post-graduate life. The Business and Economics Alumni Society, one of our affiliated alumni groups, has taken this charge seriously and serves as a model of growth and ambition. 

The society of 1400 due-paying members, one of the largest alumni groups within the Alumni Association of the City College of New York, benefits from strong leadership from a multigenerational board, the support of board adviser and department chair Kevin Foster, as well as the support from the Alumni Association. Driven by the goal of better supporting current Colin Powell School’s Business and Economics students, the association provides five to six scholarships per year, organizes networking and professional development events, and is now unveiling a newly organized mentoring program that matches interested students with alumni mentors.


Yet just three years ago, the society was struggling. Denisse Olivarez, ’08, board president and Lenny Portorreal, '07, Second Vice President, were both due-paying members that realized that their association had huge but unrealized potential. .“The caliber of education CCNY provides deserves every effort from us to let the world know who we are,” said Olivarez. Along with other dedicated members, faculty, and staff, they began restructuring the society, convening a board and planning regular networking events for alumni members. These events have seen healthy attendance and have both recruited new members and reenergized existing members. 


The revamped society also spurred further participation from successful alumni as mentors to students preparing their post-graduate professional lives. These mentor-mentee relationships allow students to connect with successful alumni who provide interview coaching, resume development, and other career goal advice. The program will officially begin this fall, with an initial cohort of twenty mentor-mentee pairs.


Rear Admiral Robert A. Rosen, NYNM (Ret.) '57B (recipient of the 2014 BEAS Career Achievement Award), CCNY President Lisa S. Coico, Alumni Association Executive VP, Donald Jordan, Denisse Olivarez.In the past, mentoring relationships were largely informal and varied from one semester to another. “I’m delighted by the decision to formalize the process so that more students can take advantage of these networks,” he said. “And I look forward to future years when today's mentees can become mentors to new generations of students.”


Vince Boudreau, Dean of the Colin Powell School, says that developing these kinds of relationships is a top priority across departments and programs. “In many ways, the Business and Economics Alumni Society is a model for the rest of the Colin Powell School,” he said. “Students, new graduates, and established alumni need to leverage their connections to one another, to the college, and to their workplaces. The way forward for the Colin Powell School requires us to build intensive and vibrant relationships with alumni organizations, and the Business and Economics Alumni Society is showing us the way.”



On September 8, the society will hold an Alumni Mentor and Meet-Up event that will bring the newly paired mentors and mentees, who may have only yet touched base through email, to meet in person. All members of the society are encouraged to RSVP and get to know more about the program. For more information visit the Business and Economics Alumni Society's page
For more information on the Alumni Association of the City College of New York, visit their website