||BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Bill Allen has very specific plans as he takes the helm of USCs alumni association this summer.
In March, the association changed its name -- from the General Alumni Association to the USC Alumni Association -- to clarify, he says, that the organization was really the central association for the entire university.
But more than the name has changed -- its the entire alumni experience that is being transformed. Those who graduate today will have a different life experience professionally than those who graduated 40 years ago, he says. We will have not just five or six different jobs in our lives, we will have five or six different careers.
Allen, who earned his bachelors degree from the School of Cinema-Television in 1979, is a living example of that concept. Having spent his first 20 career years in the entertainment industry first in primetime programming at CBS, then as a senior vice president and executive vice president of MTM Television he is now CEO of the non-profit Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, a strategic partnership of business leaders serving the cities of Los Angeles, Glendale, Burbank, Calabasas and San Fernando.
IN MARCH, THE USCAA began rewriting its strategic plan, a document that will propel it into the 21st century. Allen says its important to balance the strategic plan so it reflects a partnership between the alumni and the university that works in both directions -- not only will there be a focus on what the alumni can do to benefit their university, but equally im-portant will be how the university can better serve its graduates.
And thats where his own expertise comes in. He has a history of team-building, and one of the focal points of his presidency will be to improve communication -- to com-municate more clearly and to a greater number of alumni what their university can and wants to do for them.
ALLEN CREDITS HIS SENSE of community to his parents, television pioneers Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows. I was raised with the ethic of community service, he says. I was given the opportunity to go to a fine university, the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving family in a wonderful community, and it was clear that it was expected of me to give something back.
He doesnt begrudge the many meetings his presidency involves. It is such a pleasure to come down and work at USC, he says, because everybodys love for the university is palpable in every meeting. Everyone understands that the work theyre doing has a higher purpose, other than their own self-interests. Theyre building a great institution and preparing it for the next century.
Allen and his wife, Marie, a 1978 graduate of the Marshall School of Business, live in Encino with their three children, who, he says, have plenty of cardinal and gold in their wardrobes and in their rooms.