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Interconnections A leader in the making
Dollars make the difference
Key initiatives funded by last year's giving
Record-breaking affirmation $42 million donated to Skidmore
Summer in Saratoga A photo album
Human hotlinks Alumni business network on the grow
Club Connections Boston alums connect at Fenway


Human hotlinks

Wired and ambitious, recent college graduates are spending more time than
ever on the Internet —not surfing, but getting down to business. In a 2005 survey of grads from the previous three years, Y2M Networks counted 78 percent who went online for news, 79 percent for shopping, and 70 percent for banking. Among their priorities in life, career building topped the list, followed by budget and financial planning.

Now a couple of Skidmore alumni have picked up the trend and run with it, creating the Skidmore Business Network—a forum
for job-hunting and hiring, idea sharing, and shop talk among alumni in business, finance, law, marketing, and public relations. In a matter of months, New York City membership topped 100; it’s now over 250, and spinoffs have formed in Boston and San Francisco (visit

It started when Angelo Rufino ’03, who was finishing a training program at JPMorgan, met with investment banker Frits Abell ’94 to suss out career opportunities. They both said they wished they knew more alumni in the industry. Says Abell, “Although we kept up with some people casually, there was really no way to connect with other alumni who might be working in similar or complementary fields.”

Soon they found fellow New Yorkers Gregg Nicoll ’90, Cassandra Bolz ’95, Kim Youngstrom ’02, and others to help them launch their own network. (Abell says one his “most amazing findings” was how many alumni are working in business and “doing really well professionally.”) Along
with e-mail lists and online forums, SBN hosts in-person monthly meetings, organized by Nicoll
to be interactive yet expeditious, featuring such high-powered guest speakers as the Bank of New York CEO, a Smith Barney VP, and a Sirius Radio PR director.

Abell can cite many members who have already benefited directly, from a lawyer who landed a
job to a director who made a successful hire. He himself found a new job through Nick MacShane ’91, “whom I’d met with to discuss the burgeoning Boston chapter of SBN.” It was also a Skidmore alum who helped Rufino move to JPMorgan, but that was in the “pre-SkidBiz days, when alums had to be extremely proactive to seek out the right connections.” As Abell explains, “SBN targets alumni who have achieved a certain level of experience and therefore have referrals and opportunities to bring to the table.”

That’s what impresses Skidmore trustee Elliott Masie, a business and information expert. He
says, “With SBN’s senior level of networking, alums from major financial institutions are helping members with business development and new contacts.” And Skidmore professor Bernie Kastory appreciates the student connection: “Angelo arranged for a few of our seniors to attend SkidBiz events, and they came back excited; they were pleased to meet so many successful alumni.” —SR