Alumni Leader Spotlight: Wendy Goodridge, Mayer Brown

Alumni Spotlight Banner Wendy Goodridge

Starting with university alumni relations and moving into corporate alumni programs, Wendy Goodridge has 16 years of experience building alumni communities. She shares her thoughts on the growth of these programs and where they’re heading in the future.

Wendy Goodridge

Wendy Goodridge is currently the Global Head of Alumni Relations at Mayer Brown, a prominent international law firm, where she has been instrumental in leading the firm's global alumni network. She is responsible for developing and implementing the firm's alumni strategy, which aims to foster lifelong relationships with former colleagues. 

Wendy has a wealth of experience in alumni relations, having established and led successful alumni programs at several prestigious institutions including London South Bank University and Grant Thornton, and we were excited to get the chance to ask her a few questions.

PeoplePath: How did you start working in corporate alumni networks? 

Wendy: I originally began my career in marketing, but I decided to specialise in the field of alumni relations in 2008, when I moved into the university sector to set up the alumni network for London South Bank University. From the moment I started in the field of alumni relations, I knew I had made the right move.  

The potential of what you can achieve with your alumni program is boundless, only limited by your imagination - so the career gives you plenty of opportunities to be creative and innovative.  

PeoplePath: What would you say are the highlights of working in alumni relations?    

Wendy: I have always found alumni relations to be varied, but equal parts interesting and inspiring. I have met people across continents and industries I would never have otherwise encountered – two who stand out are news reader and journalist Sir Trevor McDonald, OBE and Mark Gitenstein, US Ambassador to Europe.  

 However, my favourite career highlights are when I receive thank you notes from alumni because of a connection I have made for them has changed their life. Whether as simple as benefiting from a mentoring relationship, a connection that helped them secure a job or meeting a long-lost friend at an event – it is lovely to know the work I am doing is having a positive impact on people's lives.  

PeoplePath: What do you think is the key to running a successful alumni network? 

Wendy: I've run alumni networks of all shapes and sizes – from 3,000 to 100,000+ members, but what they all have in common is that unless you put your alumni first, they will not flourish. You need to deliver real value to your alumni – give them a reason for them to spend their valuable time engaging with your network.

At Mayer Brown, we believe in the importance of creating a life-long supportive community throughout the lifecycle of the alum’s career and creating opportunities for our alumni to reconnect with each other and the firm. Alumni relations is not just about keeping in touch, it is about building a community. 

I cannot reiterate enough the importance of building strong partnerships with internal stakeholders, such as the firm's leadership, practice groups, business development, human resources, diversity and inclusion, pro bono, and corporate social responsibility teams. Often alumni relations teams are small and under resourced, so you need to ensure that you are not operating in a silo and take advantage of the amazing initiatives that are already taking place across your firm.  

PeoplePath: What do you see as the greatest benefit to an active and vibrant corporate alumni community? 

Wendy: By building a strong network you can help your alumni and firm to connect to more opportunities, resources, and people.  

Alumni benefit from connections with others who have common interests, and who can offer support, advice, and opportunities as they navigate their career.  

The firm can benefit as engaged alumni can help enhance your brand, grow your business, exchange insights, and attract talent. Alumni relations done well is a win-win relationship.     

PeoplePath: What are your predictions for the future of the corporate alumni industry? 

Wendy: The corporate alumni industry is a growing and evolving field. When I first started my career only a handful of industries invested in alumni relations, and it is completely different now. With many organizations in various industries having either just launched or looking to launch alumni programs within the last few years. I believe this will lead to the field becoming more sophisticated and strategic.  

I also think artificial intelligence and data analytics will play a key role in enhancing the impact and efficiency of corporate alumni programs. AI and data-driven insights will provide deeper understanding of alumni behaviour, preferences, and engagement, and will allow us to truly deliver personalised interactions, targeted communication, and improved talent matching.  

Lastly, I think the gig economy and blended workforce will create more challenges for corporate alumni management, but at the same time could provide opportunity. Companies will increasingly tap into freelancers, contractors, and gig workers, including alumni, to address their business needs. Alumni programs will need to adapt to the changing work landscape and offer flexible and diverse options for alumni to connect, learn, share, and give back. 

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