Last week I was honored by my alma mater, Seton Hall University, with its 2013 Alumni Impact Award at Many Are One, a black-tie gala dedicated to celebrating alumni who have positively influenced our world. It’s really humbling to be recognized for impacting the University community that has had – and continues to have – such a huge influence on me. Seton Hall and everything it stands for – excellence, faith, a call to service, development of the mind, heart and spirit – have helped shape me into a leader I’m proud to be.
Every day, we at Stern + Associates work to help our clients advance their missions to impact the world – whether through research, theories, or products and services. Working with world renowned gurus, many of whom are experts in leadership and management, I’m regularly exposed to fascinating leadership topics. But it wasn’t until I learned I was receiving this Alumni Impact Award that I really contemplated the effect leaders can have when they embrace a passion and truly dedicate themselves to it.
I’ve never had trouble finding something to be passionate about: grammar, punctuation and AP style (yes, I’m a grammar geek and a word nerd, and proud of it!), the New York Yankees, Jersey shore, Foo Fighters, awesome new wave 80s music, craft beer, my alma mater, meeting new people and making mutually beneficial connections. Rather, my challenge has always been ensuring my passions tangibly benefit my employer (and only two of those I’ve listed directly relate). Standing at the podium at the awards gala, looking out at a sea of 500 people including several colleagues (and NBC’s “Today Show” host Matt Lauer!), I realized by becoming a “servant leader” – one of the tenets of Seton Hall’s mission – it wasn’t a challenge; the connection organically happened. By combining my passion for networking with my alma mater, I had simultaneously made a tangible impact on the students I advise, guide and teach, as well as my place of work: from inspiring undergrads in the classroom where I was once inspired, to recruiting fellow alumni and connecting with prospective clients on behalf of Stern + Associates.
Thus far in my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive other awards – all of which are important to me – but none have had the powerful, personal effect as this most recent one from Seton Hall. I encourage you to consider the importance of staying involved and invested in your alma mater beyond your checkbook with time and talent. You can’t underestimate the benefits you’ll reap, personally and professionally. How can you give back to future generations of Pirates (or whatever your alma mater’s mascot is) and tomorrow’s leaders?
Joan Bosisio, Group Vice President