National Advisory Board Dinner Inspires PeerForward
Last week, tucked into the corner room of the Harvard Club of New York, lifelong supporters of PeerForward gathered. The heavily carpeted hallways could barely contain the laughter and delight coming from the Presidential Room. Within its amber-colored walls, Alumni, Newcomers, Writing Coaches, College Coaches, Founders, and Funders alike joined for an evening of lively discussion about the future of PeerForward.
The evening began with remarks from PeerForward’s CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Keith Frome, who illustrated the exponential progress PeerForward has made in its short transition from the College Summit legacy model. Nearly every attendee in the room saw PeerForward through its evolution though in vastly different ways. Yet, in true PeerForward spirit, when everyone was prompted to answer the question “Why are you inspired to do this work?” the room filled with passionate anecdotes of their very own PeerForward journey.
Lifelong PeerForward supporters reflected on their experiences with PeerForward early on in their careers. Laura Samberg, Executive Director of the Samberg Family Foundation and National Advisory Board member, noted, “I mean this, this was the first organization I came on board as staff through the Samberg Family Foundation, and it’s also the first organization that we have invested in a substantial way, both financially and in terms of time. So, PeerForward/College Summit will always have that special place in my heart.” Barry Salzberg, Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Business School and former Deloitte CEO illustrated how profound our message of persistence is for not only our students but for our organization. “My message is persistence. You talk about persistence in college with students; I take that message and emphasize the need for persistence in this organization. Push your way through it and make this organization unrecognizable to what we see today five or ten years from now, and still feel positive about the mission and the core objectives.”
As the night continued, members of the Leadership Council and National Alumni Council discussed how they initially got involved with PeerForward. Amrita Narine, the newest member of the Leadership Council, was surprised that she has only been involved for a year, “It feels so much longer, but in a good way! You feel connected to the people and invested in the project, so one year feels like a lifetime.” National Alumni Council Co-Chair, Mike Ferron similarly remarked how his years with PeerForward have had a tremendous impact on his own life; “I view PeerForward/College Summit as foundational to my professional development. It’s foundational to who I became as a man because I got to see opportunities beyond my neighborhood, beyond my school, beyond my surroundings.”
It was fitting that the night ended with remarks from National Alumni Council Co-Chair and PeerForward Coach, Omezie Omeokwe. His investment in reinvigorating alumni relations has led to a stronger National Alumni Council, which he hopes will serve as an opportunity for growth for future generations of PeerForward Alumni. Omezie reminded everyone in attendance what is truly earned when you invest in PeerForward, “When you’re dealing with money, it’s very transactional. You have seen your gains and losses. But when you invest in a person, you won’t see the payback tomorrow. But if you look four or five years down the line, you’ll see that investment.”
As PeerForward progresses in its mission, the organization is reminded by members of our Councils how important it is to reflect and reconnect to what inspires us in this work, day by day.