Back in 2013, Petra Joerg had asked me to become the next president of the Simonites – the Rochester-Bern Alumni organization. The task was described as being a ‘rock the boat’ exercise. Please do not get me wrong, this is no criticism towards my predecessor.
However, after a few years, what is best for an organization like the Simonites is to inject fresh blood. Hence, such a renewal process will also be beneficial after my 4.5 years of presidency.
Let me look back and comment on some of the highlights of the last few years:
Events were already on a very high level when I took over and the board was able to maintain this standard. Rochester started to become more interested in our alumni organization and we were thus in a position to welcome the Dean of the Simon School, Andrew Ainslie, several times in Switzerland. Even the former president and CEO Joel Seligman paid us a visit back in 2016. Among all the events, the highlight for me was definitely the 20 years’ celebration in June 2015; on this occasion, more than 150 guests enjoyed an unforgettable evening at the Loft five in Zurich.
Other highlights for me were the Board strategy work shop at the beginning of my presidency with Prof. Dr. Filip Caeldries which resulted in our strategy map and, among others, the introduction of the Mentoring Program in favor of the new classes. Another highlight was the membership of the Alumni UniBE organization and, last but not least, the contribution to the Child’s Dream Foundation, an organization which improves health and education for sustainable development and was founded by two enthusiasts who abandoned their careers, after many years in the financial industry, in order to help the underprivileged in our society.
The composition of the Board has changed quite a bit throughout these years and it was one of my privileged tasks to recruit one or two new Board members every year.
My first thanks goes to all Alumni who supported us with their membership fee and, above all, participated in our events. Thank you very much for the confidence in me throughout my presidency. It was a great privilege to be your president.
A special thank of course goes to my Board who performed in my view very well and was always a great support to me. From the bottom of my heart, I also thank the three leaving board members Caspar Ruetz, Christian Fischer and Thomas Meuli for their outstanding contributions over many years.
Let me finish by encouraging all of you to constantly ask yourself what you can do for the Simonites Alumni organization in order to increase our impact in the business world. Hence, keep on going strong and bring our organization to the next higher level together with the Board and our new president. At this point, I would like to congratulate Fabian Ringwald to his election and wish him lots of success.
I do hope that Fabian can accomplish some of my unfinished work – meaning to say to thrive the ambassadors’ concept and make sure that also our Alumni in the French part can be better involved.
I wish the Board and our Alumni all the very best and will enjoy meeting with you at some of our next events.
Your former President
Hans K. Held