New alumni association president to focus on diversity, international ties

Media Credit: Courtesy of Christine Brown-Quinn

Brown-Quinn said she plans to assemble career industry groups to connect alumni with common interests and career paths.

When officials announced that Christine Brown-Quinn would be the new president of the GW Alumni Association in May, alumni from around the world reached out through social media to congratulate her on the position.

Brown-Quinn, who graduated from GW with a Master of Business Administration in 1992, said she plans to draw support from an international base of alumni across various graduation years and ethnicities to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion as president of the organization. Currently based in London, she hopes to “leverage” her location to connect with GW alumni outside of the United States.

After graduating from GW, Brown-Quinn began working at an international bank in the United Kingdom. She spent 30 years working in international finance until she changed paths in 2010 to host webinars and workshops about how to succeed in the corporate world.

Brown-Quinn has since been involved in various school-level advisory boards at GW and the U.S. Alumni Club in London, an organization that connects alumni from various American universities in the United Kingdom.

Brown-Quinn said the dean of the School of Business asked her to join the school’s Board of Advisors in 2016, and she later joined the GWAA’s executive committee in 2019 after officials asked her to serve in the position.

“I so enjoy my experience with the GW School of Business Dean’s advisory board, being connected to strategy, also being connected to students – it was a no brainer,” she said.

Brown-Quinn said the Alumni Association nominated her among other candidates to be president of the organization, and members of the GWAA’s executive committee eventually voted her into the position.

“I was happy to put my hand up to say, ‘Yes, taking that leadership role would be a privilege,’” she said.

As president, Brown-Quinn presides over the organization’s executive committee meetings, which have been virtual due to the pandemic, and serves as a liaison between the association and the Board of Trustees.

The Alumni Association also provides volunteer and donation opportunities to GW alumni and holds alumni gathering events and networking opportunities.

During the last search for a University president in 2016, the president of the Alumni Association served on the presidential search committee. Brown-Quinn said she expects to be involved in this year’s search to replace outgoing University President Thomas LeBlanc, but officials have not communicated with her about it yet.

“I think it’s my role as a leader to really take soundings from the whole committee in terms of what the vision is for the next president,” she said.

Brown-Quinn said former GWAA president Richard Jones – who held the position since 2019 – told her how much support the alumni office and the alumni community has provided for him, and she said University leaders have also helped her “navigate” the position at times.

“Had I had that kind of support when I was in corporate banking, boy could I have really aspired to even bigger things,” she said.

Brown-Quinn said she plans to use alumni assistance to assemble various career industry groups – groups of alumni who work in the same field – to connect alumni with common interests and career paths. She also said she wants to make use of various GW alumni networks outside of the U.S. to bolster the GWAA’s part in the University’s Bicentennial celebrations.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic has also taught her that virtual alumni events can be a good way to connect with the GW community. Brown-Quinn – who is part of the U.S. Alumni Club in London – said the group hosted a virtual Thanksgiving “pub quiz” or trivia event last year that had more than three tables of GW alumni compared to most other universities that only had one.

“Especially with GW being so global and our alumni being global, I think the pandemic has taught us that there are things that we can do virtually to bring our community closer together,” she said.

Brown-Quinn said she also wants to ensure that the Alumni Association reflects the diversity of GW alumni as a whole.

She said she’s “proud” to be associated with alumni like those who were awarded the Monumental Alumni Award earlier this year. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., actress Kerry Washington and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., are among those honored with the award.

“The success of GW alumni makes your degree as a student more valuable, it makes my degree as an alum more valuable,” she said. “So it’s a win-win for students, alumni and of course the University itself.”

Brown-Quinn said she’s also looking forward to supporting the goals of the Alumni Association’s executive committee members, who are interested in setting up mentorship opportunities for current students and alumni and fundraising.

“So it’s really thinking about how I’m enabling others as well,” she said.

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