Luciano D’Iorio’s Made by McGill story is entitled “Made to Contribute” and it’s a fitting description of his long record as a volunteer culminating in his new role as president of the McGill Alumni Association (MAA). The MAA supports McGill’s 275,000 alumni around the world and serves as the parent organization for the University’s global network of constituent groups and regional alumni branches. D’Iorio, BA’99, is the Quebec managing director for Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate services firms. He recently spoke to the McGill News about his new job and what lies ahead for the MAA.
Why did you get involved in the MAA?
I’ve always felt that being involved in the community is important. As a student, I remember running for a position on the Board of Governors and serving on the library committee which I enjoyed. After I graduated, it was natural to get involved with the McGill Young Alumni group. That was back in 2000.
From there, I became involved in the MAA serving in various volunteer roles at alumni events, such as the Dinner with a Dozen McGillians, progressing to governance roles. I was chair of the Homecoming Committee and then took on various executive roles, which has led me to the presidency. I got a taste of the many different facets of our association, so I feel prepared for this new challenge.
What’s your perspective on the year ahead for the MAA? Your priorities and goals?
The MAA exists very broadly to keep alumni connected to each other and to McGill, in support of everything it represents as a world leader in higher education and research. The pandemic has made connecting in person a lot more complicated, of course, but we are still managing to keep alumni engaged virtually. McGill has so much going on and so many stories to tell, we never have to look too far to keep alumni interested and informed.
In terms of goals, the MAA has three overarching priorities: support of equity, diversity and inclusion at McGill, outreach to our global alumni volunteers and support of the Made by McGill campaign.
We have been working to ensure that the MAA supports equity and inclusion initiatives, as well as the diversity of our alumni base. This is not new. Thanks to our past MAA leadership, that priority has been an intrinsic part of everything we do from succession planning to recognition to helping develop alumni affinity groups.
Our outreach efforts to our many alumni groups around the globe involves the whole board. We have a few ways of doing this. For example, whenever MAA board members travel on business (not so much lately), we make it a point to connect with alumni in the cities we visit. These days, we rely on video conferencing and social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to make those important connections. News and events are regularly communicated by email.
Finally, we actively support Made by McGill: the Campaign for our Third Century. Giving to McGill is an important part of our roles as leaders of the MAA and we’re working hard to convey this message of support to our global network. McGill truly depends on donations, especially our students for scholarships and bursaries, and our researchers, and the University could not accomplish what it does without a generous base of alumni supporters.
Can you tell us about the increasing global reach of the MAA?
We have alumni in about 180 countries around the world with active branch groups and ambassadors in nearly half of these locations. If you look at the diversity of students on campus today, this alumni representation is not surprising. McGill alumni are very mobile, and the network is strong. We see this play out when we hold McGill24, McGill’s annual Day of Giving. With every successive year of the campaign, we see alumni getting together in places that weren’t previously on our radar, places like Auckland and Kuala Lumpur!
We have a newly launched branch in Jordan and we’re working with McGill to develop an African alumni network to support our Mastercard Foundation scholars. It’s great to see how alumni support McGill and each other, no matter where they are in the world.
For those who aren’t aware, what does the MAA offer alumni?
There are many reasons to become involved in the MAA through our many constituent groups, branches, activities and services. For new or younger alumni, the McGill network is a huge source of mentoring, career advice or help with job seeking. Alumni events are held around the world, in person during normal times, now mostly online, but are great for hearing about McGill’s research or student activities, and for connecting to fellow graduates. I’ve given more than a few presentations myself on campus and around Montreal.
But being an MAA volunteer is more than what you get though. It’s also a great way to give back to the McGill community and help the next generation of new graduates. I encourage alumni to keep connected and stay in touch. I’m looking forward to working with as many alumni as possible in my role as president over the next two years.