The ties that bind


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I arrived at the meeting room a few minutes early. I wasn't nervous, but I knew a lot was at stake for me on the other side of those conference room doors. Someone called my name, and I took my place at one end of a very long table, where nine people prepared to grill me.

After what seemed like an eternity, everyone thanked me for my time, and the person in charge said something like, "You'll hear back from us." On my way home, I replayed the meeting over in my head; I felt confident about my overall performance. Sure enough, after only one week, I heard back and found out that I'd accomplished my goal.

That scene didn't take place in a corporate boardroom, client meeting, or on a customer pitch. Instead, it was my final interview to become a resident assistant at the UI. It marked the first time I was put on the spot in a room full of people — little did I know that similar situations would come later and often over the next 20 years.

I've recalled this experience many times throughout my professional career, usually before an important appointment with a client. While the outcome isn't always the same, it is difficult to shake my confidence, and I am eternally grateful for that rigorous process to which I was exposed many years ago at Iowa.

My experience as a student and RA helped establish the strong foundation for my lifelong relationship with the UI.

After receiving my degree, I became involved as a local IOWA Club leader in Washington, D.C., and New York City, eventually leading to my service on the UI Alumni Association Board of Directors. Now Alumni Association chairman for the upcoming year, I am humbled by the honor to lead this group of dedicated alumni and university supporters.

The Alumni Association's primary mission is to strengthen the university through alumni engagement. We have developed a great organization to accomplish this goal through communications, local events, programs, travel opportunities, and social media outreach. But, it takes committed partners to make these efforts flourish — it takes YOU.

I firmly believe that the Alumni Association serves as the tie that binds us to the university and all those who came before and will come after us. So, the next time you hear from the Alumni Association, make an effort to attend a program in person, click on an email, pick up our magazine, or follow us on social media to hear about the many great things that Hawkeyes are doing here in Iowa City and around the world.

However you choose to engage with this wonderful institution, I hope that the University of Iowa continues to influence your life as positively as it does mine.

Once a Hawkeye …

Julian Gutierrez III is the head of the UI Alumni Association's Board of Directors.

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