Alumni Forums

Learn why HBS alumni in Boston are calling recently launched Alumni Forums “the most impactful HBS-related experience I have had since graduating.”

Modeled on the best practices of Young Presidents Organization, forums bring groups of 8-12 alumni together to discuss business and personal issues in an atmosphere of confidentiality and trust.
Quick Links:

For additional information, contact:

Bob Halperin (MBA 1982), HBSAB’s Forum Officer and Managing Director,
Alumni Forum Services/Forum Resources Network

rhalperin@forumnet.net
(781) 248-4181

Resources
The December 2009 Club Connections call featured a discussion of the potential value of Alumni Forums for HBS clubs and members. The following information is available from that call:
The Power and Value of Forum
The mission of a forum is to help its members become better people by sharing their business, family and personal lives in an atmosphere of confidentiality, trust, respect and intimacy.
Benefits for participating alumni:
  • Connect and learn from 8-12 alumni peers who have no personal or business connections that might inhibit open communication

  • Leverage a rich and shared set of meeting processes and language protocols to ensure meeting time is used efficiently and effectively

  • Address work-related issues but also personal and family topics as the group achieves a trusting bond

  • Develop communication tools that are useful in every aspect of members’ lives

  • Also called Peer Exchange Groups or Roundtables, forums have been offered as a benefit of membership for decades by YPO, Entrepreneurs Organization, Vistage and other organizations
Benefits for sponsoring HBS clubs:
  • Supports HBS’s mission “to educate leaders who make a difference in the world”
  • Offers valuable professional development to alumni (in the form of peer support, just-in-time learning and on-going networking)

  • Extends the MBA study/learning group experience by creating a similar safe space for learning among alumni

  • Adds the benefit most highly rated by Young Presidents Organization and Entrepreneurs Organization members to the HBS alumni club value proposition

  • Creates stronger bonds between alumni

  • Attracts senior executives and other alumni who would not otherwise join the club
Launching Forums in Your Local HBS Alumni Club
To help launch and maintain Alumni Forums, HBS External Relations is working with Forum Resources Network (www.forumnet.net), a leading provider of CEO-to-CEO team building and forum learning services.
Steps to launching Alumni Forums in your club:
  • Club officers discuss possible interest in Alumni Forums and identify one or more members to coordinate exploratory discussions (Current or former YPO/WPO/EO/Vistage members or spouses may be good candidates.)

  • Designated club representative(s) contact HBS External Relations (clubsteam@hbs.edu) or Forum Resources Network (Bob Halperin, rhalperin@forumnet.net) to discuss options, issues and timing

  • Forum Resources Network prepares a specific proposal for the club, tailored to its needs, size, location, and service level preferences

  • The club’s board discusses the proposed offering and decides how to proceed
Forum Best Practices
  • No personal or business connections that might inhibit open communication

  • Similar scope of responsibility (e.g., CEO, executive, manager or professional/individual contributor)

  • Similar size of organization (e.g., Fortune 500, mid-market or small/start-up)

  • Geographic proximity to facilitate meeting scheduling

  • Include as critical guiding principles strict confidentiality, language protocols and attendance requirements

  • Typically meet monthly for three to four hours each time

  • To begin and to maintain a high caliber experience, hire a professional facilitator to lead an initial orientation session and annual retreats

  • Once launched, are self-facilitated by a trained member volunteer who serves as moderator

  • Operate autonomously, responsible for their own management, expenses and continuing success
Success Stories and Testimonials
"Most HBS alumni events (and I have attended many over the years) involve casually socializing with other alumni. In contrast, my recently launched HBSAB alumni forum has been the most impactful HBS-related experience I have had since graduating, allowing for far deeper and meaningful conversation."
Marc Zablatsky (MBA 1992)
President, HBS Association of Boston
"My forum experience over the last 11 years has been transformative in my life. The insights and sharing, as well as support, have been totally amazing. This is by far the most valuable part of my YPO experience, and as an alumnus (and past President of the HBSAB), I am thrilled that forums will now be available to HBS club members."
Dick Simon (MBA 1980) YPO member
"My forum has helped me become a better president, a better husband, a better father, and a better person."
John Macomber (MBA 1983) YPO member, HBS faculty
"My forum goes far beyond just a group of people who share stories and meet once a month. It is a sanctuary, a place where I am free to be myself, free to express my rawest thought and emotions and not be judged, and continually feel the support of all my group members in any and all situations."
Anonymous YPO member
"Peer support is critical to any career. But the higher you go in a leadership role, the fewer opportunities you have to lean on peers for deliberation and problem solving. "The opportunity for a trusted peer support group is there if you only look for it, and continued success depends on it. Create a personal board of directors. Join an organization like YPO, or even organize your own local group of non-competitive peers. "If you have no other agenda than to reciprocally offer help and support, you will be amazed at how receptive others will be."
Rick Smith Entrepreneur and CNN commentator
For additional information, contact:

Bob Halperin (MBA 1982), HBSAB’s Forum Officer and Managing Director,
Alumni Forum Services/Forum Resources Network

rhalperin@forumnet.net
(781) 248-4181






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