Alumni news

10.02.2017 - Successful Wrap-up of our Annual General Meeting

On January 26, 2017 in Zurich, five members of the EMScom Alumni Board (two were excused) welcomed 28 alumni and guests to the Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten for the Association’s Annual General Meeting.  The Board was pleased to also recognize the Association’s sponsors Infocentric, Reputation Institute and smart.heads.

Keynote: Cristina Riesen, EMScom12 Alumna

Cristina shared the journey that led her to become Evernote General Manager for EMEA and lately a well-regarded figure of the world of tech start-up involved in her own venture and mentoring other tech entrepreneurs. It has not been an easy journey. Born in Romania, Cristina lived there until she went to university in Switzerland, where she built her professional development was the first moment of growth for her. As assistant PR for an architectural firm she also learnt about the world of design; a subject that later returned in her interest when she was exposed to design thinking. She looks at the EMScom as an inspirational moment for her career as well as for her personal development.

Lugano was a place of inspirations. Retrospectively, she saw the importance of those moments in her life when she had to refocus. Those moments were funenabled her to build a growth mind set that made her grow professionally and personally. An active pursuit to create yourself rather than a passive state of finding yourself, she reckoned, is key for one’s advancement. In this context lateral steps become valuable opportunities to enrich your learning if made in line with one’s aspiration.

“There is no expiration date on dreams.”

Formal Proceedings – Approval of 2016 Activities

The Annual Meeting proceedings were broadcasted live via Adobe Connect. This initiative is part of the Board’s goal to extend the alumni community’s international outreach. Three alumni followed via Adobe Connect.

AGM in figures:

  • 28 attendees, of which

    • 20 alumni with voting rights

    • 3 alumni with no voting rights

    • 2 guests

    • 3 EMScom staff

 

Furthermore, the alumni with voting rights held 21 proxy votes from colleagues that could not attend in person. The quorum was reached.

Lukas Widmer, the Co-President and Chairperson of the meeting, presented the activity report for 2016, with a detailed overview of the events offered by the EMScom Alumni Association to its members.

Overall, eight events were offered throughout the year: three Roundtables, two Jours Fixe, one event organized by the Reputation Institute (Swiss Reputation Ranking), one Alumni Lunch in Basel (kindly organized by Dominik Marbet) and the AGM itself. These events promoted the exchange and knowledge among communication professionals with a good rate of alumni participation, mainly in Switzerland.

Michele Tesoro-Tess, Board Treasurer, presented the 2016 financial statement with a year-end  balance of CHF 42’913.44, leaving the Association in a healthy financial position for 2017.

In year 2016, the association has witnessed a slight increase in the memberships; on the other hand, no new partnership has been established beyond the existing ones. In terms of events, the main outcome has been for the past AGM and the two Jours Fixe. Around CHF 3’000 has been invested in the alumni survey, which should settle the strategy for the upcoming years. 

The financials were audited and confirmed by Matthias Graf, EMScom10 alumnus. Members agreed with the financial statement and the auditing report.  The Board was discharged with 41votes in favor, zero against and zero abstentions.

A Look Ahead: Opportunities in 2017

Lukas Widmer walked members through the tentative plan and overview of activities for 2017. The main activity will be the EMScom Alumni Study trip to Aarhus, Capital of Culture for 2017. This opportunity is made possible thanks to the relationships and collaborations with Alumni and Academics based in Aarhus. 

Furthermore, the Board highlighted a proposed calendar of events with Roundtables and the well-known Jour Fixes, two formats that seem to be appreciated by the community. Most of these events will be broadcasted live to enhance the international outreach. The Board invited all EMScom Alumni to feed in ideas and proposals, to reinforce the “culture” of being an alumnus and carry on the spirit of the Association. Such proposals can be sent to emscomalumni@usi.ch.  

Michele Tesoro-Tess shared with the attendees an outlook on the 2017 budget.

Election of the board

This year was time to renew the EMScom Alumni Board. Three candidates decided to step-down (Donatus Grütter, Lukas Widmer and Michele Tesoro-Tess), whereas four confirmed their interest in being re-elected for another two-year term. In addition to that, two new candidates expressed their interest in joining the board.

Each candidate presented him/herself to the audience, except for Katie Kurz and Karin Fischer, who could not be present and therefore submitted a short video. Matthias Müller (also absent) was presented by Nicola Strazzari.

All board members were elected with 41 votes in favor, zero against and zero abstentions, except for Oliver Bertschinger, who was elected with 39 votes in favor, 2 against and zero abstentions.

Election of the financial auditor 2017-2018

This year was also time to appoint the financial auditor for 2017-2018. Lukas asked the audience whether anyone was interested in taking on this task. Since no one volunteered, the EMScom Alumni jointly with the EMScom program suggested the election of Paola Bettosini, Controlling Office at USI. This proposal complies with the Statutes and the Swiss Law. Paola Bettosini was elected with 41 votes in favor, zero against and zero abstentions.

The Annual General Meeting concluded with remarks from Board member Nicola Strazzari who reminded all members that the strength of our Association comes from sharing ideas, actively participating and engaging with one another. The Association is a venue of life long learning that has to bring about value and benefits for its members. Engagement feeds engagement.  As always, alumni are encouraged to follow the EMScom Alumni page and the closed Linkedin group for news and updates on upcoming events. 

The concluding remarks offered the opportunity to formally thank the three board members stepping down for the work and commitment showed during the two-year term. Donatus Grütter, Lukas Widmer and Michele Tesoro-Tess were given a sign of appreciation.

On behalf of the EMScom Alumni Association, the Board is excited to continue to serve the alumni community in 2017 and thanks all those who participated in the evening – in person and online.

01.04.2016 - EMScom Alumni Round Table wrap-up

On Wednesday, March 16, 13 EMScom Alumni met for the first Round Table on "Digital transformation". Despite the broad topic, Philipp Rosenthal from Infocentric Research AG managed to engage participants in rich and fruitful conversations. 

The core questions that emerged around the table can be summarized in: "How digital is your organization? How can an organization change and evolve into digital?" In a nutshell, digital transformation is a change process that implies a change in the culture of the organization. So ultimately, such transformation deals with human beings. Very often, human beings are resistant to change, therefore, successful digital transformation implies leadership capabilities, resulting in shared and common efforts. Leaders must empower people with the ultimate goal of being more effective.

"Aggregate, orchestrate, create the journey", and innovation, rather than transformation, will ultimately come.

16.02.2016 - EMScom Alumni Round Table

Roundtables are a new format introduced by the Association in 2016. Each event is designed to focus on a specific communication “hot topic” and to spark deeper insights for participants. The Roundtables bring together a group of ten to fifteen alumni to share ideas in an open forum.

What You Can Expect

The Association will engage a subject matter expert to open the discussion with his/her experience and expertise, and facilitate the 60 to 90-minute discussion.  The Association will also leverage the broader international EMScom alumni community via the closed LinkedIn group on the topic in advance.  All alumni are invited to share their thoughts or insights in advance. 

Roundtables will begin promptly at 6:30 PM and will take place at the Widder Hotel in Zurich city center.  During the Roundtable, beverages will be offered by the Association. 

Around 7:30-7:45 PM, participants will wrap up the forum.  Those participants wishing to continue the exchange may stay on for an a la carte dinner in the Widder’s August restaurant (each participant to pay for their own meal). 

To ensure a candid exchange among all participants, there will be no live transmission via Periscope or any no recording.  Alumni are asked to respect the Chatham House rule: the information heard during the discussion may be used, however the source may not be revealed.

Registration is requested to emscomalumni@usi.ch. The Roundtables are open exclusively to paying alumni, who can attend free of charge as part of the membership benefits. In case of further availability, non-paying members can attend for a fee of CHF 50. Anyone not showing up to the event without cancelling 24 hours in advance will be charged CHF 25.

First Roundtable – Digital Transformation

The first event will take place on Wednesday, March 16.  The topic will address Digital Transformation and will be led by infocentric’s Philipp Rosenthal.

If you have a suggestion for future topics and/or know a subject matter expert to host a Roundtable, please share your ideas with the Board: emscomalumni@usi.ch.

 

05.02.2016 - Successful Wrap-up of our Annual General Meeting

On February 4 in Zurich, six members of the EMScom Alumni Board (two were excused) welcomed 33 alumni to the Widder Hotel for the Association’s Annual General Meeting.  The Board was pleased to also recognize the Association’s sponsors Infocentric, Reputation Institute and smart.heads.

Keynote: Switzerland’s Reputation & the 2015 Country RepTrak® Pulse
Board Treasurer and keynote speaker Michele Tesoro-Tess offered his presentation on Switzerland’s reputation and the drivers to improve it as Managing Director, Reputation Institute covering Italy, Switzerland and Middle East. .

Michele shared with the audience the results of the Country RepTrak® Pulse carried out by the Reputation Institute in 2015. The data showed that Switzerland boasts a strong 4th position among the 20 most reputed countries worldwide, behind Canada, Denmark and Sweden. The three main factors that drive Switzerland’s reputation are its appealing environment, effective government and advanced economy.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that the Swiss have a more severe judgment on their companies compared to other countries, and this may lead to a negative impact on Switzerland’s reputation.

What are the recommendations to maintain and improve Switzerland’s reputation? Among them, greater promotion of Switzerland and its companies/organizations in the neighboring countries, and more transparent communication about Switzerland’s strengths could help to change perception.

The keynote speech was also broadcast to a broader audience on Periscope, the live mobile streaming app, giving followers to watch the live event or see it later. 

Formal Proceedings – Approval of 2015 Activities
For the first time, the Annual Meeting proceedings were broadcast live via a dedicated YouTube link. This initiative is part of the Board’s goal to extend the alumni community’s international outreach.

Lukas Widmer, the Co-President, presented the activity report for 2015, including an overview of the activities and events and alumni participation.  The EMScom Excellence-in-communications Lectures continue to be recognized and appreciated for their thought-provoking topics and networking opportunities.  Additionally, other events were organized throughout the year to promote the exchange and knowledge among communication professionals with a good rate of alumni participation, mainly in Switzerland.

The Board also highlighted the other activities carried out or launched in 2015 such as the sponsorship packages and the new Alumni newsletter.

Michele Tesoro-Tess, Board Treasurer, presented the 2015 financial statement with a year-end  balance of CHF 50,499.45, leaving the Association in a healthy financial position for 2016. The financials were audited and confirmed by Matthias Graf, alumnus from EMScom10. Members agreed with the financial statement and the auditing report.  The Board was discharged with 30 votes in favor, zero against and zero abstentions.

A Look Ahead: Opportunities in 2016

The Board walked members through the plan and overview of activities for 2016. One of the near-term objectives is to obtain the latest insights and preferences from the entire alumni population through a survey.  It was launched on January 29, 2016.

The survey findings will give the Board greater direction into planning and executing activities that meet alumni needs and interests.  It will shape the Board’s efforts more effectively in 2016 and beyond.  The data should positively impact of the program quality for alumni and participants and also guide EMScom marketing activities.   

Many thanks to those who have already completed the survey – the success of the survey results depend on strong alumni participation! The survey is still open and alumni are encouraged to take a few moments to complete it. You can send an email to emscomalumni@usi.ch in case you do not have the link anymore.

The Board highlighted a proposed calendar of events with a series of Roundtables (a new smaller alumni event focused on a “hot topic” for discussion) and on the well-known Jour Fixes. Most of these events will be broadcasted live on Periscope to enhance the international outreach. The Board invited all EMScom Alumni to feed in ideas and proposals, to reinforce the “culture” of being an alumnus and carry on the spirit of the Association. Such proposals can be sent to emscomalumni@usi.ch.  

The first Roundtable discussion will take place in collaboration with Infocentric’s Philipp Rosenthal on the timely topic of “Digital Transformation” and how it’s impacting the role of communicators.  The event will take place on Wednesday, March 16 in Zurich. Save the date – more information will be shared shortly. 

Looking further out, an EMScom Alumni Community Event is in the works for mid-2017 in Aarhus, Denmark.  Thanks to the connections and the conversations of the EMScom team with some alumni, we are exploring what might be possible for an inspiring two-day event in the 2017 European Capital of Culture. More information will be shared in due course.

With renewed marketing efforts around the EMScom program globally, Barbara Zoffoli, EMScom Head of Marketing, provided an update on EMScom’s social media activities.  Now more than ever, one-to-contact with potential EMScom candidates starts with social media engagement, and EMScom is already seeing positive gains in its online marketing when it comes to enrollment.  

The Annual General Meeting concluded with remarks from Board member Nicola Strazzari who reminded all members that the strength of our Association comes from sharing ideas, actively participating and engaging with one another. As always, alumni are encouraged to follow the EMScom Alumni page and the closed Linkedin group for news and updates on upcoming events. 

On behalf of the EMScom Alumni Association, the Board is excited to continue to serve the alumni community in 2106 and thanks all those who participated in the evening – in person and online.

04.02.2016 - EMScom Alumni Annual General Meeting

The EMScom Alumni Association is pleased to invite you to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) that will take place on February 4, 2016 at Widder Hotel, Rennweg 7, 8001 Zurich (www.widderhotel.com). The event is open exclusively to current participants, alumni and partners of the USI’s EMScom. The meeting has been convened in compliance with the Statutes.

Agenda

18:15 hrs.          Doors opening
18:30 hrs.          Welcome by Donatus Grütter and Lukas Widmer, Co-Presidents
18:40 hrs.         Keynote presentation
19:20 hrs.         Annual General Meeting

  • Appointment of the Meeting Chairperson

  • Approval of the agenda

  • Approval of the minutes of the preceding AGM

  • Verification of the right to vote of all participants

  • Activity report

  • Presentation and approval of the most current audited financial statements

  • Items of the Executive Board

  • 2016 activity plan

Additional agenda items
If you wish to add any items on the AGM agenda, please send them in writing at emscomalumni@usi.ch no later than January 15, 2016. The final agenda will be sent out to all participants on January 25, 2016.

Registration
Please register by email at emscomalumni@usi.ch no later than February 1, 2016. Should you be unable to attend after having registered, we kindly ask you to cancel your reservation by email.

10.12.2015 - NEWS HIGHLIGHT: The value of an identity-based rebranding: the Pro Senectute case, Thursday, December 10

The Pro Senectute project, 2014 winner of the Burson-Marsteller Award for Consulting Excellence, will be presented to the Alumni community on December 10 at Hotel Walhalla, Limmatstrasse 5, 8005 Zurich, at 18:30 hrs by Kathrin Gasser, Marketing and Communication Specialist at Pro Senectute.

Pro Senectute, the leading provider for elderly services in Switzerland, has grown to be a complex organization over the last 100 years: it started to combine nonprofit services with paid services to secure income resources, leading to a growing identity hybridity and unavoidable inner tensions. A rebranding exercise has therefore become necessary. The case describes its process, main findings and outcome.

Identity conflicts impacting the image

Rebranding projects are often initiated when image-related problems appear. At first sight it might seem that the organization is not projecting itself in the right way. However, the reason for an undesired image might also have deeper roots, i.e. within the organization. This holds especially true for organizations, which have evolved over a longer period of time and have developed different identities along the way. In such organizations members answer the questions “who are we?” in different ways. Multiple identities are not a problem per se. However, too many identities may provoke conflicts within an organization and affect how an organization is perceived externally.

Identifying and solving the root of the problem

Pro Senectute did analyze its organizational identity at the beginning of its rebranding project. By choosing an inside-out process, the organization was able to discover a series of tensions linked to identity, image, structure and different organizational development levels. These tensions along the rebranding process needed to be addressed by Pro Senectute, in order for the organization to regain a clear inner understanding, to project itself in the right way and therewith to run a successful rebranding project.

Event details
Day: Thursday, December 10, 2015
Time: 18:30 hrs
Location: Hotel Walhalla, Limmatstrasse 5, 8005 Zurich

Registration
Please register no later than December 5 at emscomalumni@usi.ch

23.10.2015 - Wrap-up of the Extraordinary General Meeting

The Extraordinary General Meeting took place on October 23 at Restaurant Drei Stuben, Zurich. 28 among alumni, partners and sponsors gathered together to not only discuss and approve the new statutes and the upcoming EMScom Alumni activities, but also to exchange ideas and opinions in an informal atmosphere, enjoying a very nice autumn dinner. The new Statutes of the EMScom Alumni Association were approved with 18 votes in favor and zero against.

Among the activities planned for 2016, the board has announced a new series of "hot topic" rountables, which aim to bring together communication experts to discuss relevant issues of common concern or interest, share ideas, knowledge and best practices. All EMScom alumni are invited to feed in any idea or suggestion for a roundtable or an alumni event: your feedback is highly appreciated!