2015 Group Officers of the Year: The Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs Award
Brendan Connell '87 & Melanie Pastuck '11
It is our pleasure to award the Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs Leader of the Year Award to both Brendan Connell '87 and Melanie Pastuck '11. Brendan and Melanie serve as the president and vice president of the Dartmouth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Alumni/ae Association (DGALA). It is particularly fitting that Melanie and Brendan receive this award at this time, during this CAGOW, which highlights and celebrates the intergenerational nature of our alumni clubs and groups.
Brendan and Melanie work tirelessly and thoughtfully as alumni leaders, often taking on several roles. They first forged a partnership as fellow Alumni Councilors. Planning DGALA's 30th anniversary all-class reunion solidified this bond, and their herculean efforts demonstrate an outstanding intergenerational partnership. With Melanie as reunion chair, DGALA initiated planning more than a year in advance. No detail was too small. The 2015 reunion was DGALA's best and biggest yet, exceeding revenue and participation goals with more than 200 attendees. This event without a doubt led to a stronger and deeper level of engagement between DGALA members, LGBTQIA students, and the College, as well as a higher level of excitement and optimism.
Their election as president and vice president came right on the heels of their reunion planning, and neither missed a beat. Brendan began his term as president with a clear vision and set of priorities. He spearheaded a full review of DGALA's by-laws, including implementation of a Board of Advisors. He has led DGALA in a concerted effort to engage more alumni from the full spectrum of DGALA's membership, particularly women, trans alumni, and alumni of color. To this end, he and Melanie have led DGALA in actively partnering with other alumni organizations to co-host a wider array of events, while building upon and incorporating Alumni Relations' initiatives and programs, such as the Alumni Day of Service and Women of Dartmouth. Alumni engagement outside of New York remains a DGALA priority. Brendan and Melanie lead by example, organizing DGALA gatherings during their individual travels, holding events as far as London.
Melanie and Brendan demonstrate remarkable leadership in the midst of managing full and productive professional and personal lives. They think strategically and practice effective internal and external communications - wisely using their meetings, a well designed website, their newsletter, and social media platforms. Brendan keeps the board focused on best using organizational resources and volunteers' limited time. Continuing a tradition of deliberate outreach to prospective leaders, Brendan and Melanie consciously cultivate and encourage alumni involvement with DGALA.
We cannot wait to see what else Melanie and Brendan accomplish in this partnership. We are proud to present the 2015 Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs Leader of the Year Award to two exceptional alumni leaders, Brendan Connell '87 and Melanie Pastuck '11.