News from TABA: Family Ties

As the new president of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), I attended the Freeman School’s commencement ceremony in May and represented TABA as a member of the platform party. Observing the excitement on the graduates’ faces brought back memories of my own graduation in 2001. I received two gifts that year: a degree from Tulane University and the birth of my daughter, Bailey. Well, a lot has occurred since then. In the span of my daughter’s life, the world has experienced 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, catastrophic tsunamis, earthquakes and tornados, nuclear accidents, oils spills, the largest economic downturn since the Depression…Let’s just say it’s been no walk in the park.

Brandon Nelson

Brandon Nelson, president of TABA

One positive to emerge from these challenging times is that I’ve had many opportunities to instill in Bailey the importance of family. You see, the value of family is never more apparent than during tough times. Families embrace, comfort, support and uplift one another. Today’s graduates and alumni face great social and economic challenges, and in order to be successful, they must be able to lean on immediate family, extended family and, yes, their Tulane family. We have a responsibility to one another, a responsibility to care, to share, to stay in touch, to reach out to those who don’t, and to give time, money and consideration even when we can’t afford to. That’s family, and as such, I feel I can speak to you all with a level of comfort reserved only for family. So I will just come out and say it: We can do better!

TABA has come a long way in bridging the gap between alumni, students and the Freeman School, but much work remains. Some of our current initiatives include Freeman Days networking events, student travel stipends, the annual Rock ’n’ Bowl mixer and supporting programs such as the Tulane Business Plan Competition, but these are not enough. Many members of the Freeman family remain unintentionally disconnected from the school and their fellow alumni at a time when we need each other most. The value of a Tulane diploma is not in the paper itself but rather in the bonds represented by that paper. This is why the next step in the evolution of TABA, and our main initiative for 2011-2012, is the creation of alumni chapters across the nation and abroad. We have too many great alumni around the world with too few opportunities to foster relationships with each other. In the next year, TABA will be making a great effort to establish these chapters, but we need committed alumni willing to put forth the effort to make this a reality. Think of it as a family obligation.

Bailey is now 10 years old and at the age where she thinks her father can’t be too smart since he doesn’t even know one Justin Bieber song. This apparently is the new litmus test for intelligence. Help me show her that daddy is right about one thing. The value of family is never more apparent than during tough times, and during these tough economic times, the Freeman family is one of the greatest resources you have.

Warmest regards,

Brandon Nelson (BSM ’01),

President, Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA)

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