UWAA Board

Introducing Jeff Adams, Your UWAA Geographic Trustee


Jeff Adams, ’04, is a member of the UW Alumni Association Board of Trustees, serving as one of two geographic trustees for the 2015 – 2017 term. While his counterpart, Stephanie Aden, ’84, serves as an in-state geographic trustee, Adams serves as the out-of-state trustee. In this interview, Adams shares his a bit about his background with the UW and UWAA and what he enjoys most about this role.

Q: How long have you been volunteering on behalf of the UW and the UWAA? When did you get involved?

I’ve been active in volunteering on behalf of the UW dating back to my days as a student in the MBA program. As an alumnus, I started volunteering in earnest for the Foster School in 2009, then increasingly for the UWAA and the University as a whole since that time.

Q: What is your most memorable moment as a volunteer?

A couple of moments stand out. The Foster School arranged a reception in September 2013 with Dean Jim Jiambalvo in Chicago – my hometown – and coincidentally, the Dean’s hometown. That was really a wonderful event and set the tone for a big football win over Illinois at Soldier Field that weekend. Also, this summer’s UWAA salmon BBQs were tremendous. We really have some great volunteers and an amazing alumni family.

Q: You’re a Bay Area resident. How do you stay connected to the UW in spite of the distance?

A number of ways! First, the UWAA is a great resource and adds a lot of value to the alumni experience by offering events, learning opportunities, travel and other resources. The Foster School of Business offers similar opportunities to graduates and alumni/friends as a whole, and other colleges, departments and units do the same. I also split Husky football season tickets with a friend and make it up to Seattle for several home games a year. It’s pretty easy travel on a Saturday. Sometimes it’s a day trip, sometimes I couch surf at a friend’s house or sometimes I’ll spend the night at SeaTac waiting for the first flight out Sunday morning!

Q: You recently were appointed as a Geographic Trustee on the UWAA Board of Trustees. What does your new job entail?

Part of the fun is that because it is a new role, we collectively get to invent the scope as we go! Perhaps the best way to answer is to share the guiding principles of the role:

    • First and foremost, I serve as the Board representative for alumni living outside of Seattle, representing the regional perspective and acting on behalf of these audiences and activities.
    • I act as the Board liaison for regional volunteer leaders, report back after meetings, act as a resource and represent the regional leadership perspective to the Board.
    • I attend events, meet with alumni and volunteers, speak with the public one-on-one or in a larger forum or just lend a hand on what is needed.
    • I serve as a voice for regional alumni audiences as we communicate to alumni and the community as a whole.
    • Finally, I provide support for alumni leaders to communicate openly and honestly, and I work to maintain an informed and constructive perspective on the value and impact of the UW. Whether an issue is supported unanimously or is controversial, I help ensure that opinions and viewpoints are heard and that the UW and UWAA’s ideas are communicated.

Q: How can the regional volunteers connect with you?

Frankly, I would like to re-frame that question and ask all of our alumni and friends: How can I connect with you? As a voice and an advocate, I am here to serve. I look forward to meeting with everyone at events like the salmon BBQs, the viewing parties, and so forth. I’m looking forward to expanding my participation in volunteer meetings/phone calls, and I am always available to talk. Importantly, though, I want to be a resource. We have some great things going with several chapters, and the last thing I want to do is get in the way. I just want to provide whatever I can to help.

Q: You’ve already begun traveling to various chapters across the country in this capacity. What has resonated with you when you’re meeting with fellow volunteers?

As I mentioned before, I am really impressed – invigorated even – by the dedication to and love of the UW from our volunteers and alumni. When I get to travel and meet with them, it’s like visiting with long-lost family! We all have this shared commitment and bond to the University. It stems from our view of the UW as a magical place from our memories as students. There is also a strong sense of pride and belief in the mission of the UW for all of the good it does for Washington and the world.

Q: As you begin the second year of your term, what work / accomplish on behalf of our alumni and friends outside of Seattle?

I have two primary goals. First, this is a really exciting time for the UW. We continue to reach ever-increasing heights of excellence throughout the University. Whether in teaching, research, athletics, the arts or social impact for a worldwide audience, this is an amazing time for the UW. I want to help get that message out to the world! Second, because my role on the UWAA Board is new, I want to establish a good base of goals and expectations for my successors. I hope they can take my humble contributions as something they can nurture and grow to do great work for the UWAA and UW in the future.