CAAE Member Spotlight, July-August 2021

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To get to know one another better, the CAAE Communications Committee has formulated a Q&A-style interview to spotlight members. We’re pleased to present this spotlight of Cynthia Khoo-Robinson (UatBuffalo), compilation courtesy of Raphe Beck (UOregon).

Name: Cynthia Khoo-Robinson

Institution: University at Buffalo

How long have you been in your current role?

I have been in my position for only 3.5 years (as the head of Alumni Engagement) here at the University at Buffalo but I have been in Advancement for 30 plus years. 

How did you first get into alumni relations? And, what has kept you in the industry? 

My career path has been a bit unusual … I think. When we are asked at a conference or workshop to put our hands up to show how many of us chose this career path or if we fell into our profession, I am one of the few that specifically chose a career in advancement right out of college. I attended an incredible college that does not charge any tuition. Every student receives 100% scholarship to attend Berea College. I learned about Advancement as a student and volunteered for phonathon numerous times. I took a class called “the Fundamentals of Institutional Advancement” and went on calls with a Major Gifts Officer, resulting in getting a $10,000 check to take back to campus. I was convinced then, that I wanted a career in Advancement. I was blessed to secure a position as an Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. I love connecting and engaging with people to advance the institutions I serve. I sincerely believe this is the most gratifying career to be in … contributing to the great good.

What’s your favorite program or tradition at your school and why? 

My favorite program started during the pandemic and that is our UB Alumni Academy. We are able to engage (high level prospects) alumni virtually and on top of that, it is a revenue generating program.          

Favorite part of the job: Engaging with people.

Least favorite part of the job: Managing people.

What advice would you give a new alumni executive? 

Cultivate your relationships internally first.

What is your biggest challenge in your program? 

Biggest challenge is the lack of resources – human and financial.

When I’m not on the job, you’ll find me…: Spending time with family and friends.

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