Willie Nelson’s ‘On the Road Again’ has become my theme song since arriving at Thunderbird in January of this year, and the collection of country entry/exit stamps in my passport has exploded dramatically. If you’re a T-bird, you know why, of course, because your passport probably looks very similar to mine – only with many more stamps. T-birds are always on the move, and my experiences as Chief Engagement Officer quickly taught me to keep a bag packed and ready to go.

Over the past 10 months, since joining the team at Thunderbird, I have visited with T-birds in Alumni Chapters all around the world (30, to be exact!) and attended three reunions, including our 70th anniversary celebration on the Glendale campus. The welcome you have provided at every stop, the energy and enthusiasm you have shown for the School and for each other, and for the truly global experience that Thunderbird provides and represents, has been remarkable. The common thread of my Thunderbird journey with all of you over the course of this year has been the shared history of this unique community.

It’s not possible to tell all the stories I heard from T-birds, but below are a few highlight ‘postcard snaps’ from that journey from a few of the many remarkable T-bird alums who made a lasting impression on me because of their work, their achievements, and their commitment to Thunderbird. The overwhelming conclusion drawn from my travels is that you, our alumni, are not only still engaged with Thunderbird but also beginning to see that our recent challenges are behind us. All of us at the School are confident that Thunderbird’s best days lie ahead, but we also know that we need all of you, working with us, to get there. The path forward may, at times, be a bumpy one, and not every decision made will be easy. What I have learned in meeting so many of you is that Thunderbird alumni want to stay involved, you want to engage with the School and our students, you believe in the Thunderbird Mystique, and you trust the global T-bird network. For my part, I want to do everything possible to nurture and cherish that network for, and with, you.

Thank you for bringing me into the T-bird family and for bestowing on me the great privilege to serve Thunderbird and all of you. I look forward to being on the road again in order to continue working with each and every one of you, so that together we can once again answer the call and shape the world’s rising generation of truly global leaders. #onlyhere

Postcard from… Munich…and Auckland

Dr. Tina Huesing ’96, longtime Munich Chapter leader, recent Ph.D., and just arrived New Zealand Kiwi

Tina has worked for global companies in the U.S. and Germany. Her experience at companies like Motorola and her Thunderbird degree convinced her to eventually pursue a Ph.D. focusing on values-driven global leadership. She was awarded her degree in May 2016. Tina and her husband, Logan, had long talked about moving to New Zealand so in typical T-bird fashion they made the leap in September. Did she have a job? Not yet, but she’s a T-bird so it’s only a matter of time. Tina wants a position with an Auckland company seeking to grow its global business. But she’s flexible and would love an opportunity to teach at a business school in Auckland.

Postcard from Tokyo….

Genichi Tamatsuka ’98, Chairman & CEO, Lawson Group, Japan

As CEO of Japan’s largest convenience store chain and the group that operates it, Genichi explained, during a recent visit to Tokyo, that his Thunderbird education has made it possible for him to keep Lawson ahead of global trends. Lawson is at the very top of the domestic consumer market in Japan and Genichi credits his approach to teamwork directly to his cohort work at Thunderbird where he learned how to manage across cultures. The Lawson corporate philosophy, not surprisingly, is to create happiness and harmony in their communities. Very T-bird.

Postcard from Dallas, Texas…

Julie Goodman ’12, CEO & Founder, Goodman Global, Dallas Chapter Leader, TELC Member

Long before coming to Thunderbird, Julie knew she wanted to run her own company. Through the T-bird network, Julie discovered a unique industry that helps companies source funding to expand globally. She also serves on a number of international nonprofit boards in her hometown of Dallas, Texas. Julie told me: “I’ve been truly amazed at how T-bird alumni have gone above and beyond to help me professionally. Thunderbird continues to be the most effective way for me to get my foot in the door with top companies and I’m proud to call myself an alumna.” Her passport stamps include consulting work done in six countries on three continents. Does that sound familiar?

Postcard from Taipei Reunion…

In May, over 200 Asia-based Tbirds gathered in Taipei to celebrate Thunderbird’s 70th Anniversary with an Asia T-bird Alumni Weekend. Organized by the leadership committee of the Thunderbird Taipei Chapter, the event was hosted in this vibrant city and welcomed Tbirds from over 20 countries. During the weekend, alumni attended a learning session with Thunderbird’s CEO and Director General, Allen Morrison, who spoke to the group about ‘The Challenge of Global Leadership.’ The weekend culminated in a Gala Dinner, held in the same ballroom as the inauguration of the president of Taiwan just 24 hours before.

Postcard from Mallorca Reunion….

You know there’s real depth to the ties that bind T-birds when you attend a 40th reunion of alumni – planned and organized by alumni. Never to be outdone by the previous year’s event, the 40th Thunderbird European Reunion took it up a notch and held the event in Palma de Mallorca, Spain in September. The attendance was, of course, amazing, with more than 200 Alumni from at least 20 countries in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. Although all T-birds know how to have fun, the EU group has a special knack. Alums were treated to a cruise around the island on catamaran, and the weekend ended with a private tasting at dinner at the Santa Catarina Winery in the Hills above Palma. The event also had a serious side, with a business forum hosting industry and academic experts on a range of topics. Gracias to the European organizing committee. We are already looking forward to the 2018 European Reunion in Stockholm!

…and get your postcards ready for the 2017 Global Thunderbird Reunion, set for November 10-12, 2017 in Goa, India!