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Catching up with alumni

“I’ve never seen so many bear hugs in a room…and I work in Philanthropy!” - Attendee

There are those moments in life that definitively confirm that you’re on the right track – one of those occurred for me this week. The Sparrey Consulting Group relaunched our alumni events (darn you COVID for the disruption), hosting a breakfast in the heart of San Francisco, which included clients spanning the past 15 years. The people attending have done so many amazing things: started companies, shaped non-profits, defined industries, questioned the limits of innovation (and proven them wrong), created products, developed teams, and between them, mentored hundreds of other young leaders. But what stood out most was when someone pointed out that “Andrea, it’s amazing to meet so many people who are committed to helping others, even if they’re figuring things out again themselves.”

During our time together, everyone got a chance to celebrate goals for the year ahead. The answers to the question “can you share a challenge you are tackling now” reflected diverse life stages and aspirations. It was amazing to experience the sharing and collaboration amongst many who had just met each other. Some of our favorite highlights include:

  • Hearing about an incubator application, from a founder who will undoubtedly change the world. He was resolute that if he doesn’t succeed this first time, he’ll try again. There were some knowing smiles around the table from people who have done just that.

  • A discussion around the difficulties of the initial phase of a venture, in this case the contrasting dynamics between the first and second years of establishing a fund. Others who are considering their own fund had some questions!

  • The challenge of growing up, including a desire to invest an “unreasonable amount of time” to repair windows after a home purchase, underscoring that no matter our career successes, everyday life can be both humbling and rewarding.

  • Sharing tips on how to reconnect with former classmates and colleagues, and forge new relationships regardless of where you live and how often you move.

  • Support for attendees experiencing their first job loss and ideas about how to navigate greater career uncertainty in the current job market.

  • Learning just a little about planning for the “next stage” after selling a business.

Amidst the varied narratives, themes of resilience and adaptability emerged. Attendees exchanged stories of navigating through adversity, emphasizing the collective support and encouragement within their support groups and the SCG community. For those experiencing a setback now, it was a helpful reminder that the people who are outwardly most successful had to dig deep during their own setbacks. While these setbacks were a shared experience, so too was the unwavering support people reported receiving from peers, which served as a source of strength.

We were most encouraged when clients voiced (sometimes forcefully!) their willingness to extend assistance to others, highlighting the reciprocal nature of the relationships fostered within the group. Many expressed gratitude for the guidance received in the past, and remained committed to offering assistance in the future, underscoring the ethos of collaboration and mutual growth. It’s particularly cool to see people who met for the first time extending a bear hug to a new friend. Many new collaborations were sparked!

Special thanks to all who attended. If you are interested in being invited to events hosted in your city, please ensure we have your latest contact information here. Can’t wait to see you next!

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