IF YOU GO
What: UTAA National Networking Day.
Sponsored by: Hamilton County chapter of UT Alumni Association
When: 6 p.m. Thursday.
Where: The Social inside The Public House at Warehouse Row, 1110 Market St.
Chattanoogan Jennifer Stanley took the reins of the nation's 325,000-strong University of Tennessee Alumni Association last Friday.
"I can't wait to meet fellow alums throughout the state and country and hear their dreams for UT and themselves," said the new national president.
The office appears a natural fit for this Knoxville graduate since her life experiences have prepared her for the role.
She's traveled extensively, even in childhood, and every move meant building new friendships, making a good first impression.
"My dad was in the Army; we moved often. I lived in Germany, in Alabama and went to high school in Clarksville, Tenn.," she said.
While at UTK, she was a member of the first class of Whittle Scholars, studying in London, and later was one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars at Oxford.
"Having been a Rhodes Scholar at UT, Jennifer is incredibly bright. She was part of the UT Alumni Association's strategic planning process in 2009-2010 and has a real understanding of who we are, what we do and what our alumni need," said Lofton Stuart, UTAA executive director.
Stanley has a solid background in sales and marketing to help her pitch her goals -- and the system's -- as she travels.
"For the coming year, we will be taking a look at the new UT system strategic planning and working with our chapters and other groups to find ways we can move UT forward toward the plan's goals," said Stuart.
After graduation, Stanley worked eight years with McKinsey & Co. in Atlanta, then founded her own startup firm, OX1 Consulting, while also teaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She rejoined the Atlanta firm last year and works from her home on Missionary Ridge.
"Many of our alumni have already benefited from her knowledge as she taught in the UTC College of Business," said Jayne Holder, UTC director of alumni affairs.
"As Jennifer travels across the country, she will be representing alumni of all UT campuses, and she will provide a connection for our alumni who live outside our region. She has always supported the Chattanooga campus with her talents and resources, and I know she'll actively recruit the brightest and the best students for UTC, as well as all UT campuses," said Holder.
Nancy Collum, a UTC alumna who has served with Stanley on the UT Women's Council, praised Stanley's skills as a public speaker.
"She's going to be impressive to listen to, a good representative for us," Collum said.
Q: Do you have a theme for your term as president?
A: I will encourage alums to "Dream Big," in terms of UT's and their own futures. Dreaming big, and then acting, not only creates wonderful opportunities for future students but increases the value of all degrees.
I want alumni to play an active role in shaping the future of their university and, in the process, find ways to build a better future for themselves by connecting in new ways with other alums.
Q: When you travel, do you hear a common thread in likes/dislikes about what is happening on UT campuses?
A: UT alumni are a committed group who care passionately about what happens on all of our campuses. In the past 18 months, I have noticed increasing pride in the accomplishment of individual campuses and the system as a whole. I've also noticed a great deal of satisfaction with campus and systemwide leadership.
Q: How will you encourage alumni to continue their financial support in this economy?
A: If it weren't for the education and support I received at UT, I wouldn't be where I am now. My gifts back to UT are a way to recognize that I didn't get here on my own.
I'd ask alumni to remember the role their own UT experiences played in getting them to where they are now.
Tough economic times make giving difficult, so I encourage alums to do what they can. That may include giving their time or talent -- it's not just about giving money.
In addition to our time serving UT, (husband) Trey and I give to a number of UT funds. We especially support programs in the social sciences and humanities.
Q: How will you encourage alumni to get involved with their own campuses?
A: Find what you love and participate in those activities. You could be a mentor to students, provide professional connections, support faculty and research by giving to specific programs, attend local alumni events and board meetings.
There is a UT alumni home for everyone who wants one. The best way to find out what is available is to go to www.utaaconnect.com.
Hometown: Fort Belvoir, Va.
Education: Bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, in political science from UTK, master's degree in politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, graduate work at Oxford University.
Occupation: Management consultant/senior expert in marketing and sales for McKinsey & Co. in Atlanta.
Job description: "I work for Fortune 500 corporations on topics related to sales and channel strategy/management."
Family: Married to William Lloyd "Trey" Stanley III.
UT Involvement: UT Women's Council, Board of Governors, College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors, Hamilton County UT Alumni Association.
Hobbies: Running, cooking, foreign travel.
Can't live without: Strong coffee in the mornings.
People would be surprised to know: "I'm a huge NASCAR fan."
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...