Tray McGuire - Staff Spotlight

This month's Staff Spotlight goes to Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement Tray McQuire! You may see Tray working around campus connecting alumni with various collaborative opportunities, or even involved in community organizations like the Ypsilanti Rotary Club, the NAACP, Parkridge Community Center, and many more! 

Give us a brief overview of your day-to-day job:

As the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement, I get to work with nearly every division of the university on a daily basis. Whether it is bringing alums back to campus for student affairs programming, creating engaging Homecoming activities, or developing collaboration; I’m able to serve as a bridge between campus and our global alumni.

In addition to assisting with campus programming, this role allows me to be immersed in the community organizations like Ypsilanti Rotary Club, the NAACP, Parkridge Community Center, and so many others.

How has your work/life changed now that we are in the midst of this pandemic:

The biggest change to my work/life since the pandemic has been a dramatic increase in emails and phone calls. Pre-pandemic, I always made an effort to visit colleagues on campus to check-in and brainstorm collaborative ways to engage the communities we serve. The lack of face-to-face interaction has really made checking-in on others much more important as we all try to navigate the personal and professional challenges the pandemic has created. Remote work has also forced me to pay closer attention to how often I am being physically active since I no longer have to sprint across campus to get to meetings.

What is your favorite part about your job:

I love serving as a connector! Far too often we get siloed in our own ways of operating that we miss out on innovative ways to move the needle forward for our students and alums. When I can connect some of the greatest minds of our global alumni with our next generation of leaders, it makes the job worth it!

Can you share a little bit about your "day in the life"? 

My day usually starts around 7 am with a quick check for any urgent emails, phone calls, and text. As a former Congressional Staffer, I like to also start the morning by reading several higher education policy newsletters for any headwinds that might impact EMU.

Today, I started responding back to emails around 9 AM on topics from Homecoming planning, MLK Celebration decisions, EMU Safe Return, and Alumni Association Board of Directors. My first meeting started at 11 AM – a strategic planning meeting on corporate engagement. Afterward, I was able to grab lunch and answer more emails before my next Zoom meeting. At 2 PM was my bi-weekly one-on-one meeting with my supervisor to go over updates on projects and initiatives.  Next up was a 3 PM meeting with the Community Engaged Council – a group of community members, business owners, and EMU staff who explore ways to best engage students with the community. My marathon of meetings continued with a 4 PM meeting to discuss a proposal to reengage a prominent alum with the university. My final meeting of the day was at 5 PM – a 30 minute check-in with the chairwoman of our chapter relations committee.