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Flyers for Life

Presenting to Flyers feels like coming home

By Sharon Howard ‘78

Author bio
City: Dayton, OH
Profession: Marketing and Communication Executive
Favorite UD home: Marycrest
UD role: I serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and help develop ways for students to have a smooth transition into the alumni association. I also reach out to alumni who may not have been active and figure out the best way to reach them and help them connect to UD.

I attended the Alumni Leadership Conference as a member of the board of directors and spoke on a panel titled Brand Power. ALC was an opportunity not only for students to connect with alumni but also for alums to get insight on new campus programs we may not know about. 

I was asked to present on the Brand Power panel and, as I jokingly say to President Spina all the time, when they ask me to do something, I’m going to say yes! Branding is something I present on often at different conferences across the country. My mission is to explain to people that everyone has a personal brand that encompasses everything you do and is how other people perceive you. 

Presenting at my alma mater, I felt like I was presenting in front of family and friends. When you are presenting in front of an audience you know you have a connection with, it allows more energy and you feel more at ease. When I come on campus, it’s a pretty easy transition. There’s no anxiousness. 

After the panel, current students had the opportunity to meet with alumni in their field and network. During this portion, I was standing by the marketing and communication table and a young man by the name of Nate came over to me. He told me that he wants to go into healthcare supply chain and his communication with another healthcare system had fallen through. I gave him my card and told him if he gave me his resume, I’d pass it along to the head of our corporate supply chain division. Now they’ve cultivated a relationship. That was a great part of the afternoon.

I had two favorite parts of the overall conference. One was the service in the Chapel that started our weekend. If you start anything from a position of being centered and led by faith and servant leadership, it kicks off your entire experience. Any time I can get back into the Chapel, it’s a great day. My other favorite part of the weekend was the breakout workshops, because we got to select which workshops we wanted to attend. I went to one I didn’t know anything about: REAL Dayton. It really touches what I have done my entire career. Every position I’ve ever had has a sense of community associated with it. So here are these students talking about how they leave 300 College Park and go out into the community to serve.

My dad went to the University of Dayton and he was the first person who introduced the University to me. You never realize until you’re about to leave the power of the University outside of the city of Dayton. I met people I probably would never have crossed paths with organically that I still have relationships with today. One of my best friends is a girl that I was a cheerleader with and we still see each other to this day. 

Sometimes we get so far removed that we forget we have to reach back and help bring others along. Many alums have really awesome positions all over the world. How wonderful would it be if they were able to help a current student fulfill the same dream they had when they were at UD? We forget that what we got out of the University of Dayton created the foundation by which we are now thriving. What if we didn’t have the foundation we received from the University of Dayton? How would our lives be different? When people have been gone for so long, they walk on campus and can’t believe the look and feel of the University. But, they still see that blue roof of the Chapel. That’s one thing that’s constant. I think if people were to give it a chance and take the time to remember their foundation, they would be more compelled to come back and help current students on campus.

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