Profile: Janet Kinard

For May 2022 we are super excited to feature Janet Kinard, Vice President of Engagement at the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.

Connect with Janet on LinkedIn.

1) How did you end up in the field of alumni engagement?

I worked for many years in small nonprofits doing a little of everything – volunteer management, operations, program development, some fundraising. Several years ago, while doing some research to write another job description, I happened to find a job posting in the Alumni Association at my alma mater. Higher ed and the field of alumni engagement was new to me but the job itself leaned on my deep skillset to do mission-driven work with volunteers. I was in!

2) What projects have brought you the most joy in your job at Georgia Tech?

My team is really focused on using collaborations and partnerships to scale our work. The projects that bring me the most joy are the ones where many people have come together to do something great for our alumni while also advancing the mission. For example, our 40 Under 40 program has campus partners involved in identifying and engaging honorees. We co-hosted a really amazing series called “Reimagining US Global Leadership” with the School of International Affairs and featuring Professors of the Practice that had over 300 attendees. We brought together our Black alumni group and Admissions Office for a recruiting intiative to introduce Georgia Tech to 600 Black high school students over the next year. 

3) What’s a key trend or concept in alumni engagement that you’re closely monitoring?

Two things stand out – one “macro” and one “micro”. How do we continue to leverage learnings from operating in the virtual world to reach more alumni than ever before (and to make sure it is meaningful)? And how do we use data coupled with the right platforms and partnerships to give alumni a more personalized experience in their journey with their alma mater? 

4) What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received?

Be (or remain) coachable. A mentor of mine told me once that his best employees weren’t necessarily the smartest (though he hired great talent) but were coachable – willing to learn, practicing self-reflection, and listening to the advice of others. 

5) If you could have dinner with any three people from history, who would you choose and why?

So many to choose from! Let’s go with:  Eleanor Roosevelt, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, and my great-grandmother Margaret McMenamin. Compassionate leaders who pursued what they thought was right and served the underserved, even in the face of difficulty. And in the case of my great-grandmother, did it in really great shoes!