For Corina Lam, BS ’10 and Bernard Greene, BS ’99, MBA ’14, Drexel holds a central place in the story of their lives, and they honor that by giving back with their time, talents and leadership. As the incoming chair and vice chair of the Drexel Alumni Board of Governors, Lam and Greene see exciting opportunities to strengthen the alumni community during their term and make a lasting difference beyond their service. They spoke about their plans with Drexel Magazine.
…on Dragon pride
The Drexel Co-op program was a defining aspect of Lam’s and Greene’s education, along with a culture of curiosity and opportunities to make lifelong relationships. These unforgettable experiences fill Lam and Greene with pride and inspire them to give back.
Lam: At Drexel I was constantly learning. The hands-on experience of the co-op component brought the textbooks to life and allowed me to try different professional roles. I knew what skills I had and what I needed to build on. The diversity on Drexel’s campus also naturally welcomed curiosity and learning, including trying new foods, exploring new places and learning through different cultures and academic backgrounds. I think about the friends I made, the professors who changed my life and my co-ops. Drexel provided me with a template of what is possible, and then I made it my own. A couple of years after graduation, I started to explore alumni events and I fell in love with the Drexel experience all over again. I decided to get involved and apply for a role on the Board of Governors.
Greene: My first co-op went so well that I stayed the next year as a part-time employee. When I graduated, I had two years of work experience, which gave me a leg up. And the more I threw myself into extracurricular activities, the more I got out of my Drexel experience. I played in a few of Drexel’s bands and the orchestra and met folks from different backgrounds. I also made lifelong relationships, like sitting down at breakfast on the first day of freshman year and meeting the woman who would become my wife. The musical groups I was involved in and my membership in the National Society of Black Engineers kept me close to the university after graduation. But it was when I started the MBA program that my involvement sparked up again, and I decided to run for the Board. It’s exciting to see how far the University has come and how far it’s going, and I’m glad to be a part of that.
…on pathways to leadership
Before Lam and Greene rose to the positions of chair and vice chair, they were active members of the Board, adding value to the committees they led and setting the foundation for effective leadership.
Lam: By my second year on the Board of Governors, I was promoted to the Executive Committee and led two committees: Recent Alumni & Students and Scholarships. On the Recent Alumni & Students Committee, I was able to increase overall engagement. For one of our newer events, I was able to increase participation by a factor of seven. As for the Scholarships Committee, I helped standardize the template and criteria for individuals applying for Drexel Alumni scholarships. This is important because there are so many phenomenal submissions, and we need consistent, specific criteria when comparing the best of the best.
Greene: I chaired the Affinity Groups Committee, and one of the things we focused on was building relationships among the leaders of each group. At one Homecoming weekend, we hosted a reception where alumni leaders could connect and learn from each other and also meet with student leaders, who we hope will remain leaders after graduation. In 2020, the Board also focused intently on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), and I was passionate about leading that committee. I wanted to make sure that there was a focus on DE&I within the Board and that we partnered with some of the University’s efforts. Corina and I have worked to make sure the Board is diverse, in terms of lived experiences, academic affiliation, professional industry and diversity of thought.
Lam: I love growing and bringing together our alumni community’s passion for Drexel. When I became vice chair in 2019 and served in that role during the pandemic, we created new ways to bring people together. Following my term as vice chair, I felt prepared to apply for chair and continue exploring these changes and thinking of a new world of possibilities.
…on the vision for the 2021–2023 term
Lam and Greene are excited about the opportunities the next two years will bring as chair and vice chair. They’ve set clear priorities and are turning COVID-era tools of engagement into sustainable programs for the Drexel alumni community.
Lam: We have three key priorities: 1) Build greater community ties across our alumni and student populations through mutual interests, use of programming, co-op, communication and workplace engagement. Through passion is where we will find and make larger connections. 2) Continue the positive changes in DE&I through new programming and relationships that ensure our community’s unique identities and lived experiences reflect our engagement efforts. 3) Share the great stories of Drexel alumni to amplify school pride, engage prospective students who might want to learn more and celebrate the difference that members of our community make in the world.
Greene: To echo Corina, I’ve heard University leadership talk about how not much happens in the City of Philadelphia that Drexel doesn’t know about or isn’t somehow involved in. Drexel is making an impact, and our alumni need to know that the Drexel name holds a lot of value.
Lam: We have learned a lot from the shift to virtual programming during the pandemic, and some tools make sense to keep. Some types of events work more efficiently or inclusively as virtual events, but for some, you still need that in-person human interaction. The best part of having both options is reaching a larger group of alumni and reaching out to the population who have always wanted to join an event, but distance was a challenge.
Greene: Over the past year, we did virtual events, like a tasting with a distiller and a workshop on building a charcuterie board. These events did really well, and we should keep them in the mix because people can easily participate from home or from outside Philadelphia. On the other hand, we’ve all been in our homes for, essentially, the past 18 months, and people are thirsty for engagement. That presents a great opportunity for us. People are thinking about what’s important to them, and we need to tap into that and provide avenues for alumni to connect in-person around shared interests, if we can do it safely. Even folks who don’t have lifelong relationships from their undergraduate or graduate years can start building those relationships now.
Lam and Greene reminisce about their favorite Drexel memories and moments.
Lam’s Drexel Favorites
Campus location: University Crossings. There’s no other time in life when you get to live in the same building with all your friends.
Neighborhood restaurant: Landmark Americana Tap and Grill
Extracurricular activity: Running. What a perfect location – running by the river, by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I just loved it.
Drexel memory: Meeting my husband in the library.
Corina Lam, BS marketing and communications ’10, is the 2021–2023 chair of the Drexel Alumni Board of Governors.
“I think about the friends I made, the professors who changed my life and my co-ops. Drexel provided me with a template of what is possible, and then I made it my own.” — Corina Lam
Greene’s Drexel Favorites
Campus location: The cafeteria. Not because of the food but because that’s where I met my wife.
Neighborhood restaurant: Ed’s Buffalo Wings. I used to order from them a lot!
Extracurricular activity: The musical groups I was in, like the Gospel Choir, concert band and the jazz band. I played tenor saxophone and bassoon.
Drexel memory: First day of fall semester, sitting down to breakfast and meeting my future wife. It’s the Drexel story I tell the most.
Bernard F. Greene III, BS electrical engineering ’99, MBA’14, is the 2021–2023 vice chair of the Drexel Alumni Board of Governors.
“It’s exciting to see how far the University has come and how far it’s going, and I’m glad to be a part of that.” — Bernard Greene
A big welcome to the newest elected directors of the Alumni Board of Governors: