Volunteer of the Month – July 2019
A long overdue recognition, we’re so proud to name Andrea Sparrey as AIGAC’s Volunteer-of-the-Month! For anyone who has been an AIGAC member for more than a year, you’re probably surprised that it has taken us three years of volunteers-of-the-month awards to name Andrea. However, our excuse for the “delay” is that, like many other elements we all enjoy as members, Andrea created this very recognition! Now, in her last month on our board, we can’t think of a more apropos way to thank her for everything she’s done to advance our association and our industry. In fact, there isn’t a single benefit we all enjoy as members that Andrea hasn’t touched. She’s been instrumental in bringing to fruition countless, lasting benefits: from developing our strategic mission, to insisting on the strongest policies and procedures, to ensuring well-developed leaders to carry us into the future, to building impeccable relations with schools, to our most recent expansion into school webinars. AIGAC is where it is today because of your countless hours of time and talent
“Andrea is all about EXECUTION! Yes, discussion happens, but it is her drive and initiative to turn positive ideas into positive steps that is admirable. Andrea brings ACTION to a whole new level.”—Maxx Duffy, AIGAC Co-Founder
“Andrea’s selfless leadership and giving mentorship inspires those of us who are lucky enough to collaborate with her to reach for greater heights. While she not have been in our industry at AIGAC’s inception, she unquestionably embraces everything she touches at AIGAC as if it were her own child to love and develop.”—Brett Haber, AIGAC President 2017–2019
“Andrea holds everyone around her (and herself) accountable. If Andrea commits to doing something, you know it will get done. And if you commit to Andrea that you will do something, then you’d better do it! It’s impossible to quantify how much AIGAC has accomplished solely because of Andrea’s drive and professionalism. Kudos!”—Scott Shrum, AIGAC Secretary 2014–2019
Andrea, we all owe you a debt of gratitude!
Volunteer of the Year – 2019
The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) is thrilled to recognize our first ever Volunteer of the Year, Nupur Gupta, for 2019. Nupur is a nonstop force within our organization, driving new levels of excellence, particularly in our core conference efforts. This year, in addition to Co-Chairing our Annual Conference, she served as President-Elect, taking strategic responsibility for the organization’s future.
At the 2019 conference, Brett Haber, AIGAC President, shared several reasons that AIGAC members and board members are grateful for Nupur’s contributions:
“Nupur provides a steady hand and calm, assertive leadership while multiple board members were dealing with health issues over the past year. I can always count on her.”
“No one person is more responsible for the conference being so great than Nupur is!!”
“Nupur is unflappable in any situation.”
“Nupur’s off-the-charts compassion makes her really special.”
“The kind way that Nupur gets things done, like improving my questions for panels, is really special. Nupur asked for feedback on her questions (which were amazing) while graciously offering feedback on mine (and improving them immensely).”
“The fierce look that Nupur gets in her eyes is when she is trying to do the right thing on behalf of someone else makes her easy to follow.”
“Her smile is there in even the most complicated and challenging moments. It is infectious.”
“Nupur always offers support at key moments. After we emailed for days trying to solve a problem, Nupur jumped in and got it done.”
“At every turn, Nupur is thinking about how to recognize members and volunteers, motivating new volunteers by allowing them to do their best.”
Finally, one of our members offered a great summary of Nupur’s contributions:
“Nupur is a rare woman of opposites. She is strong and strong-minded yet genuinely open and flexible; she is curious about everything and also loves to share; she is exceptionally giving of her time to work and to AIGAC and yet draws boundaries for family time and balance; she is a quant who creates complex and thoughtful spreadsheets with ease and yet is a poet with skills honed in a UCLA Writers program. Overall, she is a woman of small, yet mighty, stature.”
Thanks Nupur for your contributions to date! We are excited for your continued leadership in the year ahead!Vol
A huge thank you to our volunteer of the month, Chris Aitken. Chris has taken on a leadership role within the sponsorship committee, establishing relationships with new partners and strengthening relationships with existing partners. We are on track to one of our strongest years of sponsorship ever, thanks to Chris’ consistent support and creative thinking.
“At the end of All Schools Day at Kellogg last year Chris approached me, offering his time as a volunteer and insisted he would only help if he could put his efforts to wherever AIGAC most needed it. This sort of selfless volunteerism is tremendously helpful.” – Brett Haber
Chris has certainly focused on an effort where AIGAC needed his support most – sponsorship. His work on the committee has been with an eye to creating value for all members of the organization, from his enthusiastic support for new initiatives to his commitment to figuring out what our sponsors need.
“Chris has brought a professionalism to our sponsorship committee with an eye to the long-term. That perspective has contributed to a record year for sponsorship, and will help us to identify new opportunities for the organization and our partners.” – Andrea Sparrey
She has suggested fabulous ideas to make the association more valuable to members and has quickly become a “custodian” of the brand. She’s also not someone to shy away from stepping out of her comfort zone for the benefit of others, such as co-presenting survey findings at the 2018 AIGAC Conference (it’s hard enough to present in front of a full room of adcoms when you’ve been working on the survey for some time. Krithika didn’t hesitate to jump right in and was awesome!).
In addition to her own creative ideas, Krithika has a talent for furthering the discussion of existing ideas being explored. She’s one of the rare people who is an excellent “listener” and “doer.”
“Krithika is an incredibly supportive and thoughtful team member. A “giver” among “givers” who makes you wish you weren’t on the other side of the world so that you could spend more time collaborating in person.” – Barbara Coward, Membership Committee Chair
Special thanks to this month’s volunteer of the month, Cecilia Pineda of The Grad School. Cecilia, a long-standing member of AIGAC went out of her way to make the 2018 Conference experience better for all of us. Here’s what the Conference Co-Chair and AIGAC Afternoon Chair have to say about Cecilia:
‘We are going to need a registration table at four of the five schools we are visiting?’ I shuddered at the monstrosity of the task, especially since nobody on the committee had previously run registration at the conference. At this point, Cecilia swooped in like a knight in shining armor. She not only took full ownership of registration, but also volunteered to automate the process by implementing the use of bar code scanners and a live database that helped us track attendees at each event. Cecilia’s commitment and enthusiasm were contagious and her contributions to the conference committee cannot be overstated. Thank you Cecilia! Super excited to work with you again 🙂 – Nupur Gupta
I really can’t say enough good things about Cecilia. She approached every task with energy and enthusiasm, whether organising logistics or managing sessions, and brought great ideas to this year’s conference. Cecilia is someone who gets things done, is incredibly competent, makes everything fun, and is a genuine pleasure to work with. We’re very lucky to have her! -Faye Mackenzie
Our volunteer of the month this month is Faye Mackenzie. Faye played a tremendous role in taking the 2017 AIGAC Conference to new heights. Her contributions, included an incredibly valuable discussion on issues that consultants face, along with the hugely popular session that brought consultants and admissions teams together to review candidate profiles together. As you can see below, Faye clearly had a huge impact on the committee itself as well.
“Faye’s creativity developed the core of the admissions exercise with all the candidates that was a hit. She is so humble that she does not like to take a lot of the credit that she has earned. She engaged several new members throughout the conference and drew them in both to make them comfortable and to help them voice their ideas for conferences to come. I am so excited that she is on our conference team!” – Rachel Korn, AIGAC Board Member and Conference Co-Chair
“Faye is unassuming, affable and a positive presence. These characteristics make her an excellent team player. Her “yes, I’ll do it” attitude is what I LOVE about Faye! On several occasions, Faye has shown a willingness to step up to contribute more and deliver. It is great for team morale and also makes her a joy / asset to have on a team. She has great ideas and is unafraid to experiment and work on out-of-the-box solutions.” — Nupur Gupta, AIGAC Board Member and Conference Co-Chair
Thanks Faye for bringing enthusiasm and a willingness to try new things to this year’s AIGAC conference!
This month, we are excited to acknowledge the efforts of Nupur Gupta as AIGAC’s volunteer of the month. She has been an outstanding contributor to the organization and has taken on a leading role in the 2017 AIGAC Conference this spring!
Nupur Gupta first joined AIGAC in 2014 and started to get involved fast! She helped with the social media effort at the 2016 conference and helped to moderate one of the highly successful sessions where schools and consultants interacted. Her fun yet focused style ensures that everything gets done and the team has a great experience along the way.
Rachel Korn, AIGAC Board Member and 2017 Conference Co-Chair offered her thoughts:
Initiative, initiative, initiative! Frequently, when I think I have a topic to approach with Nupur, I discover that she has already proactively wrestled with it – and prepared material ten steps ahead. She is a strong creative thinker and one of the best partners I could imagine. More than that, Nupur keeps us all on our toes by helping us evaluate our best practices, from small technical ways to communicate to macro-scale philosophy. And she executes. I am thrilled to be working with Nupur on the conference as she brings incredible value to the AIGAC organization!
Thanks Nupur for your contributions!
This month, we’re breaking with tradition to recognize a board member as volunteer of the month. While the expectation is that Board members will make a significant contribution to the organization, we unanimously agreed that it was important to recognize the particularly standout (and long-term) contributions of one of our members
Scott Shrum has been a driving force on the board for many years now and has taken a leadership role in many of AIGAC’s most important efforts from our annual survey to membership. He’s been a regular source of advice to other leaders within the organization and has worked to help raise AIGAC’s profile publicly through media and school outreach. Many of AIGAC’s members were eager to share their thoughts on Scott’s contributions.
“While working with Scott on the AIGAC Membership Committee he has shown dedication, passion, and a commitment to both the organization and industry at large. He has been, and continues to be, a true asset to AIGAC’s leadership and its board of directors.” – Lori Oates, AIGAC Headquarters
“Scott = high IQ + high EQ. He combines a sharp intellect with a quick wit and empathetic manner that puts you at ease. He’s the kind of exceptional team leader where you would go out of your way for a chance to work with him, no matter how busy you may be. I’ve learned so much from Scott and he makes serious work so much fun!” – Barbara Coward, member of the survey committee
“Scott is the kind of leader who, in his busiest week, will find time to support others and do it all in a fiercely cheery demeanor.” – Brett Haber, President-Elect of AIGAC
In addition to all of the volunteer roles that Scott plays, he brings his legendary sense of humor and remarkable knowledge of pop culture to any AIGAC-related meeting. He brings thoughtful insights to all decisions about the organization, has found new individuals and organizations who have added a richness and diversity to our membership.
Thanks Scott for your exceptional contributions to AIGAC!
Our AIGAC volunteer of the month this month is Bara Sapir. She has served on panels for AIGAC conferences, contributed to the AIGAC Library online, and has called attention to AIGAC in her communications with the press.
“Bara is a real champion for AIGAC. In addition to playing an active role on our Membership Committee, suggesting conference venues and serving on panels, Bara continues to tell folks about AIGAC, including in this recent WSJ article. Bara is an ideal AIGAC volunteer because she not only benefits from the AIGAC network, she helps to grow it, as well. Thank you, Bara!” – Vince Ricci, AIGAC President
Bara offers a great reminder that all of our members, whether Admissions Consultants or Affiliate Members can make a significant contribution to our organization. We thank Bara for her enthusiastic support.
“Bara was dynamite serving on the Test Prep Panel at this year’s annual conference in Boston. Her candid take an memorable answers really helped to spice up the discussion. In any role, Bara is a tremendous asset to AIGAC!” – Scott Shrum, AIGAC Secretary and 2016 Test Prep Panel Lead
For more than five years, Anna Ivey has volunteered with one of AIGAC’s least known and most important committees, Governance. Through her work, we ensure fair application of AIGAC Principles – she has been a cornerstone of this effort.
“Without Anna, Governance would be lost! Her outstanding and exemplary contributions and long-standing service have strengthened AIGAC’s vision, ethos, and strategic direction.” – Maxx Duffy, AIGAC Director and long-standing Governance committee member.
Anna has been instrumental in increasing the transparency of the Governance committee process, creating a standardized reporting process that is now available to all members online. She has also made a point of sharing updates at every conference, ensuring that topics that are raised become points of education for all AIGAC members.
“We are so fortunate to have Anna on the AIGAC Governance Committee. By volunteering for this thankless task, Anna contributes her legal insights and unwavering commitment to our Principles of Good Practice for AIGAC Members. Thank you, Anna!” – Vince Ricci, AIGAC President
Over the past year, Sally has been instrumental with our Membership Committee, helping AIGAC to consider how to better reach out to many prospective members (and then actively reaching out to many herself). In fact, Sally was the leading referrer of new AIGAC members for 2015/16.
“Sally has brought a wealth of experience from her NACAC and IECA to help our organization develop more professional new member outreach initiatives. She is an absolute asset to the membership committee.” Scott Shrum, AIGAC Membership Committee Chair
In particular, Sally was committed to getting new members acclimated to the organization, reaching out to welcome them over the phone and then through a new member event at the 2016 AIGAC Conference in Boston. The informal event at Spangler ended up being an opportunity to connect with other new members and to be welcomed by experienced colleagues. Fueled by Sally’s encouragement, many new members at the 2016 Conference got an early start, meeting people during our first couple of days in Boston/Cambridge.
“It was a real show of dedication that Sally lead the new member breakfast at 7:30 am, given that she was battling a cold that knocked her out for some of the conference.” Brett Haber, AIGAC President-Elect
“Sally’s effort to organize and lead the New Member Breakfast near the end of a very intense conference was incredible! She shared both energy and insight with our newest members and helped initiate some very good relationships. The organization and its members grows and thrives thanks to people like her.” Candy Lee LaBalle, 2016 AIGAC Conference Co-Chair
Thanks Sally for your amazing contributions!
Barbara Coward of Enrollment Strategies single-handedly kept our survey team on track for some aggressive deliverables this year. She created and revised hundreds of slides in an effort to drive real insights, guided our team’s efforts to increase our survey distribution through thoughtful partnerships with several organizations, and made key introductions to help raise the profile of the survey and of AIGAC overall.
Stephen Round of Round One Admissions Consulting drove the creation of AIGAC’s first ever survey white paper. Throughout the earliest part of the analysis he asked thoughtful questions and sought to highlight trends that were of real concern to the 2015/16 MBA Applicant pool. His attention to detail and ability to weave an insightful story led to a product that the entire team was proud of.
Thank you to our volunteers who help our organization run!