Bonnie Gilbert is an amazing leader serving as the Director of Alumni and Pamplin Relations in the Business Leadership Center. Relationship-building is key in Bonnie’s role as she helps Virginia Tech alumni connect with students, faculty, and other alumni. She has been at Virginia Tech for 30 years and has always been familiar with the area as she grew up in Craig County, Virginia. She received her Master’s degree in human development at Virginia Tech. During her time at Virginia Tech, she also worked as a secretary for several years and an academic advisor for 10 years. Bonnie has always been a “people-person” and realized that she loved working with students. Bonnie states, “I enjoy being around people and engaging with others.”
During her time with the Business Leadership Center, Bonnie has had some enormous accomplishments that have been outstanding. When Bonnie first came into her role with the BLC, they only did 3 events per year; Bonnie has now expanded that to about 25 events per year. Ten years ago, Bonnie also launched the first ever women’s event for Hokies on Wall Street to combat the male-dominated finance industry on Wall Street.
One of the things that Bonnie loves most about her job is being able to work with the phenomenal alumni of Pamplin. Bonnie states, “They understand the need to engage and give back to the university.” She also loves that BLC programs are open to all Virginia Tech students. She feels that she is making a huge impact in the BLC because “no matter what discipline you go into you will always need leadership.”
To Ms. Gilbert, leadership is “Taking a role where you can advance and lead others while making a difference.” Bonnie includes some important qualities that leaders should possess. “Know your discipline, know when to act and when not to act, look for opportunities, and network.”
Bonnie was adamant about the power of networking because she deals with this everyday and has made a career out of it. She emphasized the idea of relationship building because you never know who you could meet today that could help you in some way, shape, or form in the future.
Post written by Grant Watson, member of the Pamplin Leadership Development Team