Do you ever wonder what you would tell yourself if you could travel back in time? A few months after I graduated in 1997, I was getting to know Calvin alumni director Mike Van Denend. I was serving on the Calvin Spring Classic 5K race committee, and Mike’s deep knowledge of Calvin and the fact he seemed to know almost everyone on the planet impressed me. I always read Mike’s columns in Spark and admired his passion for Calvin and its alumni.

Would I have believed back in 1997 that one day I would be here writing this column? Who, me?

Yet here I am, grateful and blessed for the opportunity to serve as Calvin’s director of alumni engagement. It’s remarkable to see how God crafted and prepared me for this moment in time.

As I recall my career goals after graduating, writing articles like this was never on the list. Now I find myself using yet another one of the invaluable skills I learned as a Calvin student. I think of my speech class with Debra Buursma, or English 100 with Susan Felch. Those courses weren’t a part of my business major, yet I marvel again at how Calvin prepared me.

One common element of my career is connecting with people. When I worked in banking, I thrived making connections with clients. I joined the planned giving team at Calvin in 2012, and in that role, I formed meaningful relationships with cherished supporters of Calvin.

My enjoyment of connecting with people isn’t limited to my professional career. More often than not, our family is the last to leave events. “Dad’s still talking to someone” is the phrase accompanied by an eye roll that only two teenage daughters can provide.

As I begin this new adventure, I sincerely look forward to connecting with you. We each have a story that makes us unique, just as God intended. Yet we all share a common thread that connects us in ways that ordinary life might not—this place called Calvin University.

I look forward to hearing from you how Calvin impacted your life. Even in these first few months, I’m delightfully surprised to learn of the amazing things our alumni are doing all over the world. Calvin has been affecting lives for generations. I’m honored to now help share and tell your stories so that all of us can see God’s handiwork in action.