Volunteer Profile: Erin Coffey (CAS ’02, STERN ’13)
September 15, 2020
A double Violet who earned her undergraduate degree in sociology from NYU’s College of Arts and Science and her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, Erin Coffey (CAS ’02, STERN ’13) is a newly minted member of the NYU Alumni Association Board of Directors. Her involvement with her alma mater is an extension of her student experience, where she was chair of the Student Life Committee for Water Street Dormitory during undergrad and an active leader of the Part Time Student Leadership Forum while at Stern. Coffey also serves as co-chair of the Board’s Communications & Marketing Committee, bringing with her expertise from a nearly two decade career in event marketing and communications.
By day, Erin is the SVP of Communications & Events at the publishing company Macmillan. She is also a freelance wedding planner and board member of the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children. Read on to learn more about Erin, including the guest lecturer who blew her mind (she still has the notes!) and why she stays involved in the NYU alumni community (hint: 500,000 future friends).
You’re a new member of the NYU Alumni Association (NYUAA) Board of Directors. What are you most excited about as you begin your term?
I think we have an interesting year and challenge ahead of us; but maybe also an opportunity. I have been on the NYUAA Communications & Marketing Committee for the past two years, and have been able to see and help promote some of the amazing events and activities that the NYU alumni groups host, both on campus and across the world. As a committee, we often discussed the challenge of creating shared experiences across all of these different groups; essentially a virtual campus where interactions are not limited by geography. I think this year gives us a unique chance (and captive audience, literally) to explore ways to create more ways to connect across our entire NYU community and alumni base. I’m looking forward to working with the NYUAA Board and others to develop these ideas further!
How did you first become involved as an NYU alumni volunteer?
Two years ago, I volunteered to be on the NYUAA Communications & Marketing Committee, as I have nearly 20 years experience in communications and experiential marketing. I had been wanting to get more involved with NYU and it seemed a perfect way to contribute. Last year, I was asked to co-chair the committee, and this year, I was nominated for and selected to serve on the Board.
Why do you stay involved with NYU? Why would you encourage other alumni to get involved?
One hundred percent because of the people. My undergrad (at NYU College and Arts and Science) and grad (MBA at Stern) were very different experiences, but the one commonality was the people that I met, many of whom I am still in touch with to this day. NYU has so many different schools of thought, literally; it gives you the chance to interact constantly with incredibly smart, thought-provoking classmates across a wide variety of interest, experience, and background. So far, my alumni experience has been very pleasantly similar, and perhaps even more amplified as the NYUAA reaches across all schools.
Did you have any NYU classes or instructors who inspired or impacted you?
SO MANY! My favorite memory from undergrad was the time Stephen Jay Gould gave a guest lecture on evolutionary biology. It was thrilling to be in the same room with such a legend in the field. I still have the notes from that class.
For my graduate program at Stern, we had so many great professors, it’s hard to pick one! Professor Okun for Managing Growing Companies and Professor Fang for Strategy immediately jump to mind. I think the biggest impact was more in the little lessons. I was kind of getting stuck a bit in my career, so going back to school while I was still working seemed like a low-risk way to reinvent myself. And it worked! Every day, I felt I was learning something that I could take back to the office, that helped me better understand how I could lead a business. And now as a member of the executive management team at my company, I do.
What is your favorite NYU memory?
There were so many memorable moments, good and bad, where I learned something about myself or was challenged to stretch beyond even my own imagination. Where I thought, this is more than ephemeral. This is going to matter later. This is going to determine the kind of person I’m going to be.
What is your favorite:
- Food? Brunch.
- Book? I work in book publishing, so I plead the fifth. All of them!
- TV Show and/or Movie? See above!
- Song and/or Musical Artist? This changes often, but right now I’m really into Louis Armstrong, La Vie en Rose.
- Social distancing activity? Virtual events! There has been so much innovation in this space as companies like mine try to figure out how to recreate the in-person experience virtually. Our industry has always been experimental and creativity-oriented, but the pandemic has ratcheted this up 1,000%, and it has been thrilling to watch (in that nerve-wracking “this is either brilliant or we are all screwed” kind of way).