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From the Desk: Embracing an attitude of gratitude

By Patricia Riveire Stumpf

November 17, 2022

Patricia Riveire Stumpf. Photo by Ann Schertz Patricia Riveire Stumpf. Photo by Ann Schertz From a catchy turn of phrase to my daily practice, I owe my appreciation for showing appreciation to a moment of kindness shared with me by a new colleague early in my career.

The exchange started with a handwritten thank-you note from a well-known, long established, somewhat intimidating professional in the field I was just entering. She was thanking me? The favor that prompted her appreciation was minor at best. Over coffee, she explained.

It’s about making time to say “thank you” to someone every day. It’s about recognizing the small things, because you don’t always know: What seems small to you may be of greater consequence to someone else. It’s about your outlook and your mindset, she told me.

And she was right. Her words stuck with me and continue to impact the way I move through the world, both personally and professionally.

As the 12th leader of the IU Alumni Association — and the first woman in the role — I am thankful every day to the team the keeps our work moving forward. I am both grateful and proud to be part of a new era of women leaders charting the path of Indiana University, especially as the number of women in IU leadership positions is at its highest level ever.

For 168 years, the alumni of our esteemed university have been working together as an association to keep the IU spirit alive across the nation and around the globe. As of this summer, IU has more than 760,000 living alumni, one of the largest such bodies the world over.

I am in awe of the thousands of alumni volunteers who serve as the connective tissue and heartbeat of our expansive network. And IU makes a greater impact on the world due to the more than 100,000 unique donors who support our collective work. Part of that support funded the $230,000 in scholarships the IUAA provided last year to current students.

I am thankful for the leadership and support of Jeannie Sager, MA’03, chair of the IUAA Board of Managers. Her perspective on “leading with data, and following with heart,” serves the IUAA well as we develop and deploy resources in a changing alumni engagement landscape.

“Leading with data” is where mission meets measurement, and we are making important strides in doing so. One of the most important ways we are finding success is through partnership. We hosted an Advancement Partners Summit just this week that brought together representatives of all IU schools, campuses and the IU Foundation to discuss shared ways we can grow advancement at IU and strengthen relationships with our alumni.

As the season of gratitude and celebration is upon us, I hope you’ll take some time to recognize and appreciate the blessings and people in your life that mean the most to you.

Wishing everyone a festive season ahead.

Patricia Riveire Stumpf is CEO of the IU Alumni Association and chief alumni officer of Indiana University.