I went for lunch with fellow-Alumni Naomi Dunne the other day. It was the first time I’d seen her since the closing event of our year, and we were both fairly reflective. Plus I was starving, so the whole thing worked out pretty excellently from my perspective.
Things definitely don’t stop here – for those of us who were lucky enough to be a part of the Marketing Academy’s inaugural year, we’re now lucky enough to be in the first round of people defining what an Alumni programme looks like. As always, Camilla (Programme Director) and Sherilyn (the Founder) are one step ahead and have created a range of things for us, from buddying to mentoring to thought leadership. And there’s a subtle shift from being primarily recipients of knowledge to putting the leadership skills we’ve learnt to good use. Finally, there’s an onus on us to do something with what we’ve got – a bit of an open landscape for us to forge a path on. I’m being quite vague, but there’s a group forming to make sure we follow through on our hopes for what being Alumni could mean.
Aside from the direct consequences for the Academy, there’s clearly a bit of a shift in all of us. There’s a palpable sense of this being the beginning of something. The conversations I have with everyone seem that bit more philosophical, and a bit more open to risk. We’re all a lot more aware of what makes us happy, and directionally where we’re going. Most of us are taking a less stringent, planned approach to our careers, but exercising better judgement and being more open to different things. And we’re having better conversations with the stakeholders in our professional lives than we would have a year ago.
I don’t know where it’s all going to lead. I had the privilege of talking to the new scholars with a few other Alumni at the Boot Camp the other week, where I showed them a TED Talk by Ric Elias. Ric was on board the plane that crashed into the Hudson River in January 2009, and obviously something like that becomes a major intervention that changes your life. I think the Marketing Academy has the potential to be a major intervention as well, with a very exciting and tangible result. The key thing it’s taught me, though, is that it’ll happen when the time is right. And I’m now equipped to spot it and act.
Until then, I’ll continue to focus on badgering the new scholars into blogging regularly. And attempting to get Anita Kinniburgh to send me free bottled water.