Excellence in the Field of Advancement – How FREDA connected an Alumnae community

What a year! We will never forget 2020. For decades to come, Advancement professionals in university residential colleges will reflect on the pain of cut budgets, the devastation of cancelling engagement events and how Zoom became part of our everyday working lives.

“When women support women, amazing things can happen”

Viola Davis

We will share COVID-19 challenges and how we re-imagined our strategies. We will review the critical decisions we made as our resident numbers diminished in colleges overnight. But above all, we will deliberate on how residential colleges survived the crisis then and into the future.

Amidst the anxiety and struggle of 2020, a new sense of unity evolved across the entire community at The Women’s College within The University of Queensland. Something really positive happened – an Alumnae magazine was born – and it reconnected the Alumnae community.

With the evolving situation of the Corona virus in March, The Women’s College 106th birthday celebrations continued as planned as there had been no directive from Queensland Health to cancel any gatherings or events at that stage. The College implemented prevention measures as advised by the health authorities – encouraging no close contact such as kissing, hugging or shaking hands, and making available hand sanitisers and revising the length of the event.

As the College managed the impact and spread of the Corona virus in consultation with The University of Queensland and the other UQ Colleges, it became evident that the College Birthday High Tea would be the last Alumnae event for 2020. Future planned engagement events would be cancelled.

The importance of a clear vision to ensure the Alumnae community remained connected during these unprecedented times emerged. Alumnae had been engaged and more and more were re-engaging with the development of a young Alumnae program introduced at the end of 2019. A vibrant start to 2020 was underway with the College’s birthday celebrations and Alumnae were donating to the Study Hub project to refurbish the old library into a modern facility to better meet the study needs of students.

An Alumnae magazine became the vision to link the community and explore the achievements and news of The Women’s College Alumnae. So the first edition of FREDA was launched in June – a new digital publication – named in honour of the College’s founding Principal, Anna Frederika (Freda) Bage.

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About Susan McGinley Engagement & Marketing Manager, The Women’s College – University of Queensland

Susan is an experienced and qualified business communication professional with expertise in marketing, communications, event management, stake holder & Alumni engagement, Fundraising, sponsorships, exhibition & conference management, sales, project management, public relations, media relations and publishing.

She is a business development professional with more than 25 years’ extensive experience in marketing, digital marketing, communications, stakeholder engagement, alumni relations, fundraising, sponsorship, public relations, project management, media relations and event management with planning and delivery across a diverse range of industry sectors. Susan possesses highly regarded interpersonal and influencing skills together with a forward-thinking, strategic approach and an ability to build and maintain strong productive partnerships with a diverse range of clients and stakeholders. She also has a well-developed reputation for managing large multi-faceted events, developing and implementing marketing and communication strategies through effective stakeholder management; ensuring a high-performance team is motivated to exceed client expectations.