The SIPA Alumni Association recently elected Brent Feigenbaum MIA ’84 as its new chair. He succeeds Kirsten Imohiosen MPA ’03, who served as chair from 2017 to 2020. Feigenbaum was instrumental in launching SIPA’s Regional Ambassadors initiative in 2018 and will lead the association’s efforts to grow the engagement of SIPA alumni around the world.
Feigenbaum, a corporate brand and marketing communications executive with extensive experience in global strategic marketing, spoke with SIPA Magazine about his vision for the SIPA Alumni Association from his home on Long Island. The conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
On Expanding the SIPA Alumni Network
A few months after graduating from SIPA, I landed my first job through a SIPA alum. I think that’s an important message to deliver—we have a great network. With 23,000 alumni around the world, we belong to this elite group who have had a shared experience.
I’m partnering with SIPA’s career, admissions, and development offices to say, “Look, we have these resources on the ground. We can be your eyes and ears. We can be true ambassadors. We are the face of the School in many countries. Let us find great people in those markets and work to help the School through expanded admissions efforts or through career networking.”
On the Power of Networking
Networking is absolutely essential and a benefit to all who participate. In addition to helping with career development, networking builds community. I know this is true at SIPA. Networking provides a great opportunity to meet fascinating, like-minded people. SIPA alumni want to share their stories, successes, and challenges and help students and fellow alumni. By networking, alumni are building stronger relationships with one another, strengthening SIPA’s alumni community and, in turn, the School.
On the Importance of Giving Back
Education is transformative, and I believe in supporting education-based organizations and institutions. If you can help provide students with a great education, you’re launching them into the world to hopefully do something significant. It takes many committed parties to help fund, encourage, and grow an institution to provide that opportunity.
We need to get more alumni actively helping SIPA through career networking, mentoring, and financial support. With increased alumni engagement and financial support, the School can become even more dynamic. With expanded resources, SIPA can attract even more outstanding faculty and students. Scholarships are vital for providing students with opportunity. I’ve met students who turned down other institutions to come to SIPA because they received generous financial aid. As alumni, we all have an opportunity and responsibility to support the School. Every contribution makes a difference. Giving back to SIPA, however one can, matters.
On SIPA’s Role in the World
SIPA educates students to think collaboratively and in a broader context. There’s no one right answer or one path. The beauty of SIPA today is that its curriculum is very broad and encompasses a variety of perspectives, fostering critical thinking, and its students bring differing viewpoints and interpretations, creating a campus of greater understanding.
I’ve been happy to get involved and help grow the SIPA Alumni Association—we’re still just getting started. There is a lot of potential to really engage on all levels. My challenge is to encourage more alumni to discover the amazing SIPA of 2020. The School has evolved over the years and is incredibly impressive. My hope is that alumni around the world will be equally impressed. I speak from personal experience when I say that being involved and staying connected is life enriching.
This story appears in the most recent issue of SIPA Magazine, published in October 2020.