ACT Updates

The power of One Thunderbird

The vision of the ACT is to ENGAGE, BUILD, and LAUNCH programs and services to our worldwide Thunderbird network of over 40,000 alumni. We want to listen to you, the alumni network, and learn how ACT, together with Thunderbird, can serve this incredible network of alumni in meaningful ways. Please check back here often for updates on our progress and feel free to send your ideas and feedback to us at Also, if you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to complete the ACT alumni survey.

Important Message from ACT

Dear Thunderbird Alumni, 

By now, you all have received the news that Thunderbird and Arizona State University (ASU) have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) whereby Thunderbird would join the collection of colleges, schools and institutes which constitute ASU.  The Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT) supports the strategic intent of the LOI. This partnership has great benefits to both universities, linked by compatible missions and values. 

Your ACT will continue to be an integral part of continued alumni communication and engagement and we look forward to working together with our new partner to advance the interests of all Thunderbird alumni, current and future, as we create the next chapter of Thunderbird’s history.  

Now more than ever, we call upon Thunderbird alumni to join together to ensure the long-term sustainability of Thunderbird’s mission, vision and values which represent the Thunderbird brand. 

As a point of interest, please see link ( from the  July 9th editorial published in The Arizona Republic, with a favorable reaction to the merger.


The Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT)

Reflections from the Thunderbird Reunion in Dubrovnik, Croatia

By Nona Niner, Vice President, ACT

The magic of the Thunderbird mystique was alive and well in sunny Dubrovnik where members of the Thunderbird community came together to share some very special moments at the European reunion held June 12-15, 2014. In addition to the welcome barbeque, walking tour, folklore dinner, boat cruise and gala dinner, many alums enjoyed participating in the business forum where we listened to captivating speakers on a variety of topical subjects.

We were pleased to have members of the faculty and executive education join us at the reunion, as well as Dr. Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D., President, who shared with us some of the positive updates on the school, including higher job placement rates for recent graduates, record executive education revenue, a new, more flexible curriculum and the success of the Thunderbird Emerging Markets (TEM) Labs, Thunderbird for Good and SHARE programs. 

Our fellow alums were particularly interested in the update on Thunderbird delivered by one of our most famous alumni and Board of Trustees members at the post-forum luncheon. Kelly O’Dea ’72 provided a retrospective review of where the school has come from and the direction in which it is heading as Thunderbird seeks to reposition itself amid the seismic changes in both the business and graduate education landscapes. His “real talk” approach was appreciated by all and gave us some perspective for understanding the need for Thunderbird to find the right partner to advance our mission of educating global business leaders. 

I am sure that my fellow attendees would agree that one of the most touching and memorable moments of the reunion weekend was when Mary Teagarden, Ph.D., spoke as a featured guest at the Gala Dinner. She shared with us adventurous stories from her youth which prepared her well for her many years as a beloved professor at Thunderbird. She continues to represent the heart and soul of the Thunderbird faculty and we were so honored to have her and the other professors join us for this very special reunion. Thanks again to Dale Davidson, Ph.D., Paul Kinsinger and Karen Walch, Ph.D., for participating in the reunion and the business forum. 

Many thanks to the Dubrovnik Reunion Committee (John Cook ’79, Andrijana Čuljak ’99, Charles LaFond ’80, Yael Coifman ’94, Alka Uroda ’13, Terri Nissen, Alumni Relations Sr. Director and Silva Ušić from Atlas Travel) who organized fantastic events which allowed participants to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and connect with fellow business and academic professionals, all in the spectacular setting of this historic city. Special thanks to Kristen Jarchow, photographer/web master extraordinaire, who captured shared memorable moments throughout the reunion weekend. Hopefully you enjoyed the reunion vicariously through the T-bird social media posts!

Highlights from the Thunderbird Global Council Meeting

By Nona Niner, Vice President, ACT 

Representatives from the ACT (Nona Niner ’81), the Board of Trustees (Kelly O’Dea ’72), faculty (Dale Davidson, Ph.D., Paul Kinsinger, Karen Walch, Ph.D.), school administration (Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D., President) and Executive Education (Hugo Devlin and Stephane Siminale ’07 – Geneva campus) and special guests (Ambassador Philip Reeker ’91) joined members of the Thunderbird Global Council (David Young ’91, Adel Labib ’83, Michelle Senecal de Fonseca ’87, Aleksandra Lubavs ‘91, Mickie Senften Thorpe ’90, John Cook ’79, Kathryn Lindquist ’84, Rune Gisvold ’81, Gonzalo de la Melena ’99 and Karl Pisec ‘94) in participating in a pre-reunion meeting on June 12, 2014, in a collaborative effort to focus on how to maintain the Thunderbird brand as the School enters its next chapter.  

A recent brand positioning exercise was discussed followed by a brainstorming session focused on how alumni and the school can help each other in a meaningful way and an update on the success of the Executive Education programs. Many of the ideas generated from these discussions focused on facilitating alumni networking opportunities, but more interestingly on innovating through lifelong learning, thought leadership and a closer interface between alums and faculty in an organic exchange of real-life experience and academic study.  

We will explore these subjects in more depth in the coming months as we look to continuously nurture the uniqueness of the Thunderbird alumni network which is undoubtedly the most valuable asset of the Thunderbird brand.

Thunderbird European Reunion Kickoff

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the 41st Thunderbird European Alumni Reunion, to be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

A very sincere thank you to our reunion leadership team:
John Cook ‘79
Yael Coifman ‘94
Andrijana Čuljak ‘99
Alka Uroda ‘13
Charlie LaFond ‘80 
Terri Nissen, Senior Director, Thunderbird Alumni Relations

For those alumni who cannot attend this year, we will be sharing information, posts, tweets, photos throughout the weekend. Please join us virtually!


Joy Lubeck, ‘86
Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT)

More reunion information and event agenda…
Download the brochure/agenda (PDF)

The Thunderbird Mystique Lives On (Take 2)

by Joy Lubeck ’86, President of the Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT)

May 2014 commencement

On May 9, I enjoyed the distinct privilege of not only attending Thunderbird’s commencement ceremony, but officially welcoming our new graduates into Thunderbird’s global alumni community. 

The beautiful spring air was electric, filled with a great sense of celebration and joy, pride of accomplishment, and love and support for one another. Forty-five flag bearers graced the stage with the pomp and ceremony we all have witnessed for many years. I was struck by the notion that, on our Thunderbird campus, on this particular day, at the very epicenter of our 67 years of history, the Thunderbird Mystique resounded so greatly! It was music to my ears.

The hope that I have been seeking for several years was right there before me and further clarity set in. Our students, faculty and staff have been actively living the vision of “borders frequented by trade seldom need soldiers” each and every day, despite the uncertainty that confronts our beloved Thunderbird today. We alumni can sit on the sidelines and wait… these friends and colleagues have had no choice but to put one foot in front of the other and march onward.

Yet on May 9, the day belonged to our students! Our graduates! They knew they were joining a very unique global alumni community. No explanation was needed… they are now one of us!

I was struck by Anna Shen’s article, a 2014 Executive MBA graduate. Her sentiments also resonated greatly with me. I urge everyone to take time to read it. I refer to her article as The Thunderbird Mystique Lives On, Take 1.

Indeed, our students and graduates are the future!

I invite you to join the ranks of alumni who are already engaged in helping our students and graduates. I invite you to reignite the Thunderbird Mystique within our global alumni community so the celebration can resonate beyond our campus and throughout the world.

Personally, it has been very rewarding to interface with the students, mentor and coach them and connect them with key alumni contacts who have provided further insights and advice, internships and job opportunities. I was delighted to discover that there are already many uncelebrated alumni doing their network magic, as they have done for 67 years.

Here are three ways you can help:

I. Become a Thunderbird Global Ambassador
I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to answer questions, coach, and connect our students and graduates with alumni willing to lend a hand. It doesn’t have to take a lot of your personal time, and the reward is great! Take a moment to apply to be a Global Ambassador. The school is quite intentional about matching interested students with alumni in order to set everyone up for maximum success.

II. Hire a T-bird
Does your company need a globally minded intern or full-time professional? Thunderbird is a resource for global talent! 

III. Become involved in the upcoming 2015 Winterims
By mid-September 2015, Winterims will be confirmed, and our alumni throughout the world will once again have the opportunity to welcome our students and faculty, and to enhance the Winterim experience for our students. Some of the past Winterim locations have included San Francisco, New York, Brazil, India, Switzerland, South Africa and Peru. Once locations are confirmed, we will reach back out and provide you the official cities for January 2015. Stay tuned!

In closing

Our students are demonstrating a remarkable resolve and strength. It is this demonstration of leadership, the choice to make a positive difference, to lead by example through difficult times that defines us.  

This is when hope happens.

I invite all alumni to engage and contribute to Thunderbird’s future – our students and fellow graduates!

Another great idea from Thunderbird Chapter Leadership

On May 22, 2014, Thunderbird alumni chapter leaders gathered for a monthly one-hour call. The Alumni Council of Thunderbird was delighted to welcome Michael Seaver ’10, Director of Alumni Career Services, who provided us a wonderful overview on his efforts to support the growing Alumni Career Services Program as well as an opportunity to learn more about our current job placement for students, and how alumni might help.

Chapter leader feedback suggested that we schedule a webinar that could be offered to the entire alumni network. To this end, a webinar has been confirmed for Friday, June 20, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. PDT. We will be providing instructions soon on how to take part in this webinar.

We hope you can join and learn more about how you can not only benefit from Alumni Career Services, but also how you might engage and support our current students/graduates.

A video message from Joy Lubeck, ’86, President of the Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT)

Through ACT’s ongoing outreach to alumni throughout the world, it has become clear that many of our Thunderbird alumni are not aware of ACT, its mission and goals. Joy Lubeck, ACT’s President, was encouraged to develop a brief video about ACT. So, in the spirit of being responsive…you are invited to listen in for a few minutes.

View this video on YouTube…

Next monthly alumni chapter leader meeting May 22

Our recently reinstated chapter leader phone call meetings are off to a good start. The next meeting is May 22 from 9:00-10:00 a.m. EDT. We will be joined by Michael Seaver ’10, CMC Director of Alumni Career Services & Engagement, who will provide an overview on how alumni can support students, as well as on Alumni Career Services. Call-in details will be provided to chapter leaders prior to the call. Please join us!

Call for support to our students

Dear Thunderbird Alumni,

Just last week, many of your chapter leaders participated in the re-launch of monthly phone calls with the Alumni Relations Office and ACT (the Alumni Council of Thunderbird).

One of the key themes that emerged from our call was a request to support our students in terms of mentoring, internship and job opportunities.

Yesterday, Thunderbird’s Career Management Center extended all alumni an invitation to help our May graduates. We invite you all to help connect our graduates to the very best professional opportunities!

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Take a look at the graduating talent’s résumés by industry.
  2. Post job and internship opportunities on GlobalConnect, our online career board just for T-birds (learn more here).
  3. Email graduate-level job opportunities at your organization to our Recruiting Manager Debbie Spano.
  4. Work with us to develop a campus recruiting strategy that will bring more globally minded applicants into your organization’s talent pipeline. To get started, call us at +1 602 978-7323.
  5. Register to become a Thunderbird Global Ambassador and offer your subject matter expertise, engage in informational interviews, or practice interviewing with a graduating student.

By proactively connecting fellow T-birds with excellent career opportunities, you will help organizations find globally proficient talent and you will help boost Thunderbird’s employment statistics, overall rankings and competitiveness in the B-school marketplace.

Thank you for your support of Thunderbird, our students and your fellow alumni - and for all you do to put the power of Thunderbird’s global community to work.

We are “One Thunderbird”!


Joy C. Lubeck, ’86
ACT (Alumni Council of Thunderbird)

Enhanced Thunderbird Mobile Application

Thunderbird Mobile

We are delighted to provide you with our updated mobile platform. This enhanced platform will provide us the opportunity to communicate with you, our alumni and stakeholders, more rapidly. Under the News feature will appear the latest communications from your Alumni Council of Thunderbird (ACT).

Thunderbird Mobile allows members of the Thunderbird community to network with fellow alumni as well as to connect with the School no matter where they are in the world. Users of smartphones and other internet capable phones will have access to news and information, global business research and the Thunderbird global community. The Thunderbird Mobile application is available for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Learn More