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Vancouver alumni connections branching out

October 13, 2011
Amy Dove

Life will happen regardless, but you can control how you respond to it.

Offering up insights, inspiration, and different perspectives on how to do that is what the Royal Roads University Vancouver Alumni Branch aims to do, says branch chair Kosta ChatziSpiros.

The branch hosts two to three events a year with the latest slated for Friday, Oct. 14. The breakfast panel session, Opportunities and Strategies in Metro Vancouver 2040, will explore the impact of the Metro Vancouver's growth strategy on businesses and what opportunities it presents to them. The strategy aims to grow the region by one million people and more than 600,000 jobs by 2040.

"Our alumni want to see the opportunities," ChatziSpiros says. "Everybody can be an armchair critic, but where are the opportunities in this rapid growth and how do our alumni act as catalysts?"

The panel fits in with the branch's mission to provide continued learning and networking opportunities for alumni around social responsibility, environmental issues and business. Past panels have focused on corporate and social responsibility, and leadership. The events are purposely kept small to foster conversation, but the three-year-old branch is looking to reach out to alumni in new ways.

"We are version 1.0 of the branch and we are starting to realize we could probably do a lot more," ChatziSpiros says. "Right now our sense is we are probably only touching a small group of alumni. We want to expand that reach to those that cannot physically attend."

The branch is looking for opportunities to live stream events, as well as other online venues for dialogue. It's in keeping with the way graduates learned at Royal Roads and respectful to people's busy work schedules, ChatziSpiros says. The group is looking into webinars and online forums for the future.

"If people are reaching out to us and looking to make connections we are eager to try and help make that happen," he says. "We have a lot of passion about it and we will continue to gather more people."

Developing the alumni branch is a key part of nurturing a connection to the university, ChatziSpiros says. The events they host are an authentic way to promote Royal Roads' values and they are reflective of what the alumni themselves want to hear.

"We are really proud of how our alumni have been receptive to this," he says. "We have a great alumni group and it's an honour to be able to do this."

The breakfast panel session Opportunities and Strategies in Metro Vancouver 2040 is Friday, Oct. 14 at Vancouver Club, 915 Hastings St. Open to all Royal Roads alumni and their guests, the session runs from 7 to 10 a.m.

Panelists include former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, Metro Vancouver city planner Christina DeMarco, award-winning architect Gregory Borowski and University of British Columbia professor and James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments Patrick Condon.