Young alumna speaks to power of Binghamton connections
By Liz Joyce '11
(at right of photo below with Lisa Kalner Williams '92)
When I moved from New York City to Boston this past summer, I didn't know many people, let alone professional contacts. I had just started a new job as a communications specialist at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a fairly large leap from my previous communications job at a nonprofit. My new position was intimidating, my new home was a mystery and my social life was lacking. I needed help across the board.
When I had originally been hunting for jobs, I reached out to an internship supervisor from Binghamton University who had been a great mentor: Rachel Coker, director of research advancement. We hadn't spoken in a long time, but Rachel was happy to help. She more than graciously connected me with several contacts, including a local Binghamton alumna, Lisa Kalner Williams '92.
I wanted to meet with Lisa in particular because of her background. She started in editing, but now heads her own social media marketing consulting business, Sierra Tierra Marketing. Lisa also serves on the Alumni Association's Marketing, Communications and Social Media Committee. I had visions of doing consulting of my own in Boston and wanted to learn tricks of the trade.
Lisa was more than happy to meet with me and seemed particularly excited to be helping a fellow alumna. Over coffee, she shared her story, from Binghamton to business founder, and offered tips for me to advance my own career. Lisa had seen the opportunity for the intersection of social media and marketing early on and jumped ship from her position at the time to follow her gut and start her own business. It's inspiring and a powerful example of how being savvy enough to see a "moment" as it happens can lead to lasting success. Her stories and advice were just what I needed to wrap my head around beginning similar ventures of my own.
Lisa was also quick to recommend ways to get involved in the community and even connected me with some of her friends who live in the area and happen to also be Binghamton alumni. At the end of our meeting, we talked about how remarkable it was to have our connection materialize so naturally. The funny thing is that Lisa and Rachel had never actually met. They had both attended a SUNY-wide meeting on Long Island, but had never crossed paths in person. My gratefulness deepened; Rachel had trusted me enough to make a connection with a purely professional contact and Lisa, in turn, was more than happy to help a fellow alumna and connect me to others she knew.
Two weeks later, after we had coffee, the day I would leave for Homecoming (the first time I'd be back in Binghamton in nearly three years), Lisa and I met again. We talked for a while about our experiences at the University, what has changed, what is the same and how it feels to go back. Hearing stories from those who came before you always feels like some kind of passed wisdom – alumni passing proverbial torches to each other.
Now, with Homecoming behind me, I feel Binghamton's presence more than ever. I am sure I'll see Lisa again and I'm meeting with her friends in the coming weeks. I won't soon forget that it never hurts to reach out to fellow Bearcats when you find yourself in need and that, in fact, you'll find most of them are happy to help.
Do you have something to offer? Can you make a difference? Visit the Get Involved section of our website to learn about the many ways that you can help alumni and current students.
B-CONNECTED with other graduates! B-connected is a secure virtual community only for Binghamton University alumni. Update your personal profile, search for alumni, and submit and read Class Notes.
SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE WITH US! The Alumni Relations office is asked to recommend alumni who are expert speakers. If you are well-versed in subjects including national security, politics, technology, career networking, environmental studies or etiquette, please contact Melinda Holicky, associate director for alumni volunteer engagement. Include your name, class year and a brief biography. Supporting material could include a c.v. or link to your website.
The Alumni Association and Uncommon Goods (David Bolotsky '85, founder) offer the opportunity to purchase banks made from mailboxes salvaged from Newing Dining Hall. This can be a great gift or keepsake of your time as a student.
'TIS THE SEASON to stock up on Binghamton gear! Alumni and University spirit items make great gifts - for you and those near and dear. The Binghamton University Bookstore is your one-stop shop for apparel, accessories and home decor goods.