The power of Oxford lives on

3 minute read

Before I could even begin writing my final integrative assignment for the Executive Diploma in Organisational Leadership, I was already contemplating my continued involvement with my cohort and beyond. Oxford University has a high-value alumni network and graduating from Saïd Business School, alumni have the benefit of joining two prestigious networks spanning 150 countries: the Oxford Saïd Alumni Network and the wider University of Oxford network with local ‘chapters’ (communities) that run a series of events and activities for members throughout the year.


I had just completed my final week at Saïd Business School in the fall of 2022 and returned home to Washington DC when the idea of hosting an alumni gathering came to mind. Not wanting to lose momentum, I connected with my local chapter, the Oxford University Society of Washington DC (OUSDC) to learn more about their activities. I was motivated and excited about the opportunities that the chapter could offer and proposed a partnership for an alumni networking event at the British Embassy in Washington DC.

As someone whose profession focuses on organizational management and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and whose personal passion is in connecting individuals together and curating events, it was important for me to partner with individuals who understood the process of convening such an event in an area with a rich civic life. During discussions with the OUSDC President, we determined that inviting the Cambridge Society of Washington DC would make for a more robust networking event. On 9 November 2023, an exclusive reception at the British Embassy was brought to life. 


The night was one to remember, not least because embassies rarely open to the public. Over 250 Oxbridge alumni and their guests were treated to a special reception hosted by British Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce DCMG and her esteemed staff at the newly renovated ambassador’s residence. In her opening remarks, Her Excellency Ambassador Pierce highlighted the important relationship between both universities, celebrated the excellence of both alumni networks and humorously challenged both groups to restart their rowing competition on the Potomac river.

I felt humbled to have also had the opportunity to share welcoming remarks on behalf of the OUSDC, which were echoed by that of Ainsley Katz, President of the Cambridge Society.

The evening was also particularly poignant as it marked the first major event following the Covid-19 pandemic, and the largest event ever hosted (in part) by OUSDC. Among those in attendance were Ted Osius, former US Ambassador to Vietnam and current President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, Thom Woodroofe, Principal Adviser to the Ambassador of Australia (DC), Kevin Muehleman, Major Gifts Officer for the University of Oxford North America Office, and Cristina Burelli, Chair of the DC Advisory Committee for Cambridge in America, to mark this special occasion.


Having the opportunity to connect ‘Oxonians’ and ‘Cantabrigians’ in a meaningful way was a wonderful experience - one that speaks to the power of networks which was reinforced during my time at Oxford. While it may be easy to go at it alone, the power of networks gets us further; we gain access to talent, skills, knowledge and resources that increase our chances of furthering our impact and of success. This event exemplifies that the power of Oxford (and Cambridge!) continues to live on long after your studies.

I strongly recommend getting involved in the Oxford networks after completing your executive diploma programme. You get out of it as much as you put in, so seize the opportunity, build your social capital, and expand your world.

Executive Diploma in Organisational Leadership