Santa Monica and London

Submitted by jill on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 19:45

November 19, 2019

Hello fellow alumni,

The stars aligned, allowing me to synchronize business travel with the recent alumni events in Santa Monica and London.

Both events were memorable and amazing -- the people first and foremost, the venues, the energy.

Our LA Chapter met at a beachfront hotel in Santa Monica in a beautiful candlelit space overlooking the surf. I was struck by the diversity of this group, their experiences and future goals. We even found a way to connect two alums together for a business opportunity while at the event. We shared ideas on everything from artificial intelligence, finance, journalism and how humans will live and learn in space someday. We even came up with an app idea to help alumni connect while traveling.

In London, I was very much humbled by the international backgrounds and accomplishments of everyone that attended – such a strong and interesting group.  A few traveled from other countries to make the event. Several have been accepted to PHD programs following their master’s degree at HES. We had some entrepreneurs that have achieved significant business impact in their careers.

What is very remarkable about the London group, is how they all were creative in their ability to meet their on-campus requirement. Several spent multiple summers, while others had jobs on campus to make it work. This is much tougher for our international students to pull off. They made it work. This common theme runs throughout our alumni.

We also said goodbye to Dean Huntington Lambert at the London event and recognized how far he had moved the needle on our school.

I was asked some similar questions about the school at both events. Why did I take on such a role?  Would we pursue a name change?  How can we integrate better with the other Harvard schools?

I will try to answer these concisely for you.

  • I took on this responsibility because Harvard Extension School is having a unique and exciting moment and I want to contribute to it. Higher education is shifting. Taking off two years from work to go to school is antiquated and we are expertly positioned with our technology platform and courses offered.
  • I don’t know if or when a name change could happen, but this topic continues to be part of the HEAA board’s conversations with the Office of Advancement.
  • I will push the third one back to us. We need to take the opportunity to connect with other alumni and tell our stories. I recently was contacted by a Harvard alum from the Kennedy school. We work in the same industry and will be meeting soon at the Harvard Club in NYC. It’s up to us to develop these connections and report back.

I am hoping these monthly updates are helpful, to share my perspective and experiences as I go through this two-year journey. Please join me on it, engage and get involved.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and message me your ideas.

Have a great month.

Michael Fabiano ALM '16

michaelfabiano@alumni.harvard.edu