Political Affairs and Advocacy Manager, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
If you meet Nick Beek, SSH’12, you will immediately see his passion for bringing communities together. Having served as an alumni mentor for Northeastern’s Co-op Mentor Program in Washington, DC for the past two years, Nick has already helped numerous Northeastern alumni make connections and find the resources they need to achieve what’s next. He is also the co-leader of the alumni community there. For Nick, Northeastern is truly a lifelong connection.
How did Northeastern impact you professionally?
My Northeastern education provided me with the knowledge to compete in a cutthroat job market, and gave me job experience, via the co-op program, to stand out in my industry. The co-op program is essential in helping students narrow down and explore career pathways. Students with co-op experience graduate ahead of their peers from other universities, and have a shorter learning curve.
How do you stay ahead of the curve?
I advance my own skills by networking and participating in professional development programs. Alumni events are a great way to expand your network, or simply to make friends. Generally, if you find someone or something successful, it is a good idea to find out how that success happened, and see if you can apply it to yourself or your job.
What inspired you to give back to Northeastern as a volunteer?
I was looking for new experiences in Washington, DC, and wanted to expand my network. Coordinating alumni events provided a fantastic opportunity to check out places that you may not have gone to otherwise, all while meeting folks you have something in common with. At an awkward lull in conversation, you can always mention your love of Chicken Lou’s!
What are three things you have learned by volunteering for Northeastern?
First, by changing the type of event, you’ll pull a different crowd of attendees. Depending on the event, our attendees range from current students to alumni who are senior citizens. Don’t be afraid to try different things.
Second, add a social element to your event. People like to mix and mingle, but don’t exclusively have social events either. When an activity is complemented by the social component, it creates a higher quality event.
Third, don’t just talk to your friends at events. You want to create an inclusive environment, and you’ll never know who you will meet. See someone standing alone? Walk up to them. Tell them about your love of Chicken Lou’s! You both went to Northeastern, you have a ton of common ground.
One piece of advice for someone looking to get involved as a volunteer.
Putting an event together is not hard. My advice? Just do it. Find something you want to do, work with Northeastern Alumni Relations on implementing the event, and show up. Honestly, the hardest part is coming up with an idea, and Google TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other Northeastern alumni communities are great resources.
What’s next for you?
I plan to continue volunteering for Northeastern in Washington, DC. We have a ton of great events coming up and are always looking for new volunteers to help take the lead on ideas. Professionally, I plan to continue learning and working in the field of politics and public policy.