What are your can’t miss Chicago go / eat / see / do recommendations?

cloudgate_blackhawksDuring the fall of 2016, D’16 Sahiba Singh moved to Chicago and couldn’t wait to get to know our great city.  However, as an always-on-the-road consultant she found weekends are not enough to organically discover all the local favorites beyond the tourist hot spots.  Thus, I challenge you to provide your can’t miss recommendations that you rely on to share when new alumni move to town.  I’ll combine all your answers into a comprehensive list on our website that we can continuously update as necessary.   Send you feedback via the site’s Contact page.


Interested in a business focused Darden Alumni Book Club?

book_clubBreaking rule #1 and talking about book club …. but, PBC Guru would like to run/host a virtual book club group for Darden alumni which is managed and administered by a private LinkedIn group.  This tool would provide content and continuing education for the alumni base Darden can’t typically reach physically.

Basically, Darden would announce the first book for everyone to read (ex: Power of Habits or Talent is Overrated), alums would purchase it themselves via kindle, hard copy etc., and they would be given about 6-7 weeks to read the book. Each week, PBCG would post some content about the topic/author/book on the LinkedIn page and suggest where you should be in the book to stay on track.

Alumni can comment on the material/book at any time. Then, at the end of the reading timeframe, there is a one-week ‘discussion’ period that takes place on the LinkedIn page. PBCG posts questions and people can comment, give feedback etc.

Meanwhile, PBGC will also suggest 3 news book in which the group would vote on and pick for the next read. There would be a new book approximately every 2 months.

You could opt in/out as you please.

Email me before February 20th if you’re interested.  With enough alumni Darden will pay the administration fees so it would be free (except for purchasing the books).


Welcome to the new Darden Chicago Alumni site.  Granted, the site isn’t 100% perfect across all devices and I recommend using larger screens for easiest reading; laptops and computers are best while a bit tougher to navigate on mobile phones.

On the site you can scroll to see the latest updates, quickly find the Next Event via its own tab, connect to Darden’s alumni portal to login and update your contact information or register for events, even Search for news by graduation year, e.g. enter D’xx (substituting the graduation year’s final two digits for the xx’s) or enter an alumni’s name, and more…

Categories on the right quickly take you to Alumni Profiles, Events, Movers & Shakers, Odds & Ends, and Volunteer opportunities.

Please send me content to share, I’m also looking for alumni to profile so people can get to know each other beyond a LinkedIn page.  Use the Contact US page to submit ideas, feedback, anything… I hope the site makes it easier for everyone to stay current and connected vs searching for the latest newsletter.  Now get started and explore.

Get to Know D’89 Jack Oakes

oakes_jackYou may hear from or see Jack Oakes in Darden’s Advancement office in the near future.  As some of you know, Jack is a fellow Darden graduate (’89 MBA/MA in East Asian Studies).  He returned to Darden in early 2005 to work in the Career Development Center and led the office for five years as Assistant Dean for Career Development.  In July 2015, Jack joined Darden’s expanding Advancement team to work with alumni on engagement and philanthropy.  We’re lucky that one of his chapter areas is Chicago, so we look forward to Jack working with us over the months and years to come.

A personal note …

This week I had lunch with a Darden VIP that was passing through town who told a story about Scott Beardsley that I wanted to share.  Before starting his new role as Dean and months before he moved to Charlottesville, he made it his mission to meet with every professor in person for at least an hour – and often times longer (I think Ed Freeman set the record).  Week after week he traveled from Europe to Darden with the intent to do just one thing – before he did ‘any’ thing – and that was to listen.  Sure, this is the Consultant 101 playbook but it was also driven by a genuine interest in developing relationships, building trust and setting the tone for openness.   In the end, after dozens of flights and hundreds of hours of conversations, he personally met with all but three.

I wanted to pass that story along as context with the invitation to come meet Scott yourself.  While we all love Chicago, in reality we’re a second tier city when it comes to the alumni density hierarchy.  Ergo, outside of an annual prospective student event, we don’t see many folks from Darden making the trip (I’ve tried) and even fewer times when it is just us alumni in a private setting with a chance to glean new content from the top.

I have neither met nor do I know Scott, only knowing of him through the school’s various announcements.  However, drawing from the story above I believe there is more to his visit than just banging the drum with a new cadence that outlines his vision forward.  I also believe he is here to ask questions and listen to our ideas, thoughts, impressions, careers, industries, etc – just as he wanted to listen to every professor.

That said, I wanted to personally invite each of you to meet him yourself.  About half of our 250 local alumni open these emails so I charge everyone to reach out to your fellow classmates to spread the word and – even better – join you.  It could be a looooooooooong time before we have this opportunity again.

D’08 Duke Best

UVA Club of Chicago

uva_club_chicagoWith a new academic year approaching and a new class of alumni arriving to the Chicagoland, I wanted to alert the double’hoos that there is an active UVA Club of Chicago.  Darden Chicago alumni and UVA Club of Chicago work together on crossover events when applicable and we’re always invited to their events (even if we’re not also under’hoos).

To date, I’ve omitted duplicating their event invitations within the newsletters as I know many of you already receive their emails (but I’ll start adding them to our new website’s event section).  However, if you’re not already signed up and want to join us for dinners around town, find athletic event watch venues as well as participate in other community activities, e.g. Zoo & Brews, happy hours, etc. then email chapter leader Kristina Hamilton CLAS’09 at uvaclubofchicago@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list.