Take Your Global Forum Experience to the Next Level

Planning committee members from the 2019 Wharton Global Forum in London share why the experience was so valuable.

During his introductory remarks at June’s Wharton Global Forum in London, Dean Geoff Garrett shared that “the secret sauce to executing a Global Forum is the local planning committee.” The committee members “work collaboratively to leverage the location as well as each other,” serving an essential role by tapping into their networks in the host city to enhance the Forum program with rich and relevant content. It’s no easy feat, for sure. But ask any past committee member about the payoff for creating an elite global event, and you’ll hear story after story about the rewards of the experience.

Over the last several weeks, I spoke with some of the London committee members: Sol Anitua, G’08, WG’08; Rahul Dhir, WG’94; Mark Tagliaferri, W’85; Lloyd Thomas, C’06, W’06; and chairperson Marisa Drew, WG’92. Why did they volunteer to plan a Global Forum and what did they learn from the process? Each member shared a personal perspective, but similar themes resonated throughout all of our conversations.

1. Your network will participate in strengthening the Wharton brand.

From the first in 1993 to the 54th in London, Wharton Global Forums are a stellar brand, and your network will want to be part of the lineup. As Marisa pointed out, “No one [asked to be part of the program] turned me down.” The Forums attract 400–1,000 high-value attendees — mostly Wharton alumni — who will benefit from hearing from the professionals in your network. The right people are in the room and they value quality content.

2. You will get more out of serving on the planning committee than you expect.

With the School doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, the planning committee gets to do the fun work. Lloyd sees volunteering as a “non-executive position providing intellectual contributions as opposed to manpower.” Global Forums were created to help alumni engage with the School where they live and work, and serving on the committee heightens that engagement. Rahul shared that the committee experience gave him “an ideal way to take ownership of [his] relationship with Wharton.” Plus, serving makes attending the Forum even more fun!

3. You will both learn and leverage professional skills.

No matter when you graduated from Wharton, serving on the committee helps build new professional skills and leverage existing ones in different ways. Sol, who also served on the planning committee of the 2010 Wharton Global Forum in Madrid, told me that “getting together with fellow alumni to build a consistent and coherent program showcasing your city and country leverages multiple skills.” You learn about industries and businesses outside of your own. Given the license to be creative, Mark shared that he tapped into people he would not normally work with.

All five of these London planning committee members agreed they got more out of serving than they expected. So the next time the Global Forum comes to your city, we look forward to engaging with you in creating another world-class event for the Wharton alumni community.