New Portland breakfast program engages alums, executives

Breakfast dishes

The early bird will catch the executive in the Duck Career Network’s new inaugural networking opportunity, “C-Suite Breakfast,” where alumni can meet and discuss leadership, community and career advancement with top-level executives.

The first event in the series runs from 7:30 to 9 a.m. May 9 at the White Stag Building, 70 NW Couch St. in Portland.

“C-Suite,” a business term used to collectively refer to a company’s top senior executives, was chosen by James Chang, director of the Duck Career Network, because the new program is designed to address the interests and needs of organizational leaders who are Ducks.

“I created the UO C-Suite Breakfast series to bring together alumni in the Portland Metro Area, which represents the highest concentration of Ducks,” Chang said. “Portland is filled with companies and organizations that are led by Ducks, and I wanted to bring together these accomplished executives and showcase their professional experience, insight and advice to support the career success of other Ducks.”

The first executives to speak at the C-Suite Breakfasts are Stuart Allen, president and CEO of Allen Trust Company and member of the UO Portland Council, and Bob Peterson, who founded both Allied Power Products and Classic Construction Models and is a current UO Ambassador.

“The plan is always to feature alumni speakers,” Chang said. “The Portland area has numerous forums to hear from organizational leaders, but we want the UO C-Suite Breakfast to be the venue to hear and learn exclusively from accomplished Ducks.”

He added that he sees the opportunity to workshop among each other and the direct contact with the featured executives as benefits that are unique to the C-Suite Breakfast.

“We’re creating a space where alumni career success is championed by accomplished Ducks,” Chang added. “At the same time, it will be a space where all attendees are encouraged both to ask for help as well as offer help and career support to others.

As this program continues, it will feature executives whose education spans the academic programs offered at the UO. Chang points out that although people often assume organizational leaders require a formal business education, that is not the case, and he adds the program will strive to spotlight accomplished executives whose education was grounded in the liberal arts, sciences and beyond.

Chang plans to hold C-Suite Breakfasts twice a year in rotation with Duck Biz Lunches, the long-running networking event coordinated by the PDX Ducks Alumni Association Chapter. C-Suite Breakfasts will be held in the spring and fall, while Duck Biz Lunches will be held in late summer and winter. Although both programs are designed to bring Ducks together, Duck Biz Lunch will emphasize peer-to-peer connections, while the C-Suite Breakfasts will spotlight executive-level Ducks who want to support the career success of fellow alumni.

“As a Duck Career Network program under the UO Alumni Association umbrella, our goal is to foster lifelong relationships with and among Ducks to make the UO stronger,” Chang said. “By engaging our critically important base of alumni in the Portland Metro Area, we hope to enable them to be champions and cheerleaders, ambassadors and advocates for the school that we all love.”  

The event is expected to draw 30-40 attendees, but Chang is confident that the number will grow as the program continues.

 “We want as many people as possible to learn from the success of our featured executives,” he emphasized. “And the more accomplished Ducks we have in the room, the better the networking space we’ve created for executive leaders and aspiring senior-level professionals to meet and learn from one another.”

—By Laurie Notaro, UO Communications