Seattle Pacific alumni: Connecting to community
Liz Vernon ’02 believes that Seattle Pacific University alumni can be among one another’s best allies. The chair of the Alumni Association Board is known for her willingness to connect alumni and students with ideas, involvement, job opportunities, and collaboration.
It’s what you do when you believe in the power of connection as strongly as Elizabeth Nelson Vernon. “It’s always nice to put more heads together,” she says. “Networking has helped me in the past, many people have made connections for me and I want to do likewise for others.”
Having worked in marketing and customer satisfaction roles for household names such as Safeco Insurance, Holland America Line, and Expedia, she has for the past two years held the position of email marketing manager at Alaska Airlines.
“Alaska is a company I have always admired. Early in my career, I often traveled for work and Alaska was always my preferred airline,” she says. “I also have family members who have been long-time flight attendants for Alaska and love the company culture, so I knew it would be a good fit.” In her job engaging customers, Liz applies the company philosophy that customers are “guests” and through communications, helps get them where they’re going as easily as possible, providing travel tips, destination information, and more.
On the home front in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, Liz has been married 10 years and is mom to two children, 6 and 3. Her husband, Laird, works in the finance division of Starbucks.
She feels the constant pull between her career and her family, and although some days “you just tread water,” the Vernons make it work. Says Liz, “My takeaway from Seattle Pacific beyond a strong academic foundation in business, was to look at what you do every day and how it impacts people.” She graduated with both a world view and a community view. “I was conscientious of investing in both a career I love and in helping people.”
Serving on the Alumni Board is one way to help. With all the volunteer opportunities out there, it gives her focus. She lives close to campus and often attends Christmas Tradition and Falcon basketball home games with her family. Why not be an ambassador for SPU at the same time? So she joined the board three years ago and has completed one year of a two-year term as board chair.
She enjoys providing ways for SPU alumni to get involved. She is a vocal proponent of Grand Reunion. “It’s a great and easy way to get back on campus and reconnect,” she says. “It’s one, family-friendly day at this place that shaped your life and provided best friends for life.”
As a member of the Seattle Elks Lodge #92 and the Rotary Club of Magnolia, Liz enjoys the social interaction. No surprise that networking again rises to the top. “Rotary has a scholarship fund that benefits SPU students. They have a large presence at Magnolia Summerfest, a part of Seattle Seafair every year. I enjoy being the face of SPU at the events.” In the end, it’s not so different from engagement with Alaska’s guests. It is service that puts people at ease, thoughtful messaging that makes people feel at home.