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Rosann Santos, Director of Alumni Relations at John Jay College, on tips and tricks for organising successful and relevant virtual events.

Rosann Santos is the Director of Alumni Relations of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, based in New York, USA. In the midst of the pandemic, Santos and her team steered towards virtual events to inspire and connect students and alumni with great success. 

“COVID has allowed me to dig in deeper to social media and connect with alumni in all types of professions.”

Santos explains how she had to switch her tactics for engaging alumni when the pandemic hit, moving towards LinkedIn and discovering more about her alumni base. Using keywords to search, she contacted alumni with specific opportunities in mind. By offering hyper-relevant opportunities, such as speaking to students who studied the same course or offering mentoring one-on-one to students seeking a similar career path, Santos has had great success in engaging her alumni despite the lack of face-to-face events. 

“We want to put on events that our students and recent alumni can take something away from and feel inspired.”

From cyber-security to law enforcement, Santos and her team has had great feedback on industry-specific events that have helped to inform and inspire the class of 2020 students who missed out on opportunities to connect and learn more about possible professions. One of her favorite events was a panel of 4 women, each of whom had been a Chief of Police around the country, and who really resonated with the students who wanted to enter law enforcement and improve their processes. 

Following up with students and alumni was a key part of the recurring success, as her team sent out the recording and link to upcoming events within 24-48 hours of the event. This helped to raise sign-up figures even when hosting 2-3 events per week.

“Hosting events online has enabled us to host many more events, with a greater number of attendees.”

Watch the full episode to find out more about how Rosann Santos and her team have excelled in virtual events and brought alumni from across the country together to inspire the next generation of students and young alumni. 

For more expert insight on fundraising and engagement, tune into another Fuelling Fundraising episode

Rosann Santos

Born and raised in the Bronx to Dominican parents, Rosann Santos holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Mathematics from Syracuse University where she was a founding member of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., the first Latina-based sorority on campus. She has a Master of Arts degree in history from the University at Albany.

Currently serving as the Director of Alumni Relations at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Rosann has worked in higher education for over 20 years. She is now a career motivational keynote speaker in addition to running the nonprofit she founded, Latinas in Higher Education, Inc. She is a Gallup StrengthsFinder facilitator and coach, entrepreneur, fundraiser and exceptional communicator.

Rosann still lives in the Bronx with her 13-year-old son Ethan where she also serves on the Board of Trustees for Emblaze Academy Charter School in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. To learn more about Rosann and her many endeavours, visit

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