As a graduate student from Monaco in the early 1990s, Albert Manzone found his worldview broadened during team projects at the Kellogg School of Management. “It was the most diverse group of people I had encountered in my life,” says Manzone, who lives in Kilchberg, Switzerland, and is CEO of Whole Earth Brands, a global food company. “The experience of working together and recognizing one another’s unique strengths and perspectives was a huge eye-opener for me. I have been committed to teamwork, diversity and inclusiveness ever since.”
Manzone brings this ethos to his new role as president of the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) Board of Directors. In September 2022 he was elected to a two-year term and became the first president based outside the U.S. Manzone takes the helm at a pivotal moment for the NAA, which is implementing a years-in-the-making strategic vision to cultivate a more engaged and inclusive global alumni community. He shares more about the NAA’s efforts and his nearly three decades of service to the University.
What has kept you involved with Northwestern since graduation?
I was a first-generation college student. Northwestern has given me access to a fulfilling career, a great circle of friends, and the ability to interact with more than 260,000 alumni. Northwestern taught me, as Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
I believe nothing is more important than education to fulfill one’s potential and have a well-functioning society. Northwestern gave me a new appreciation for debate, discussion and diversity of opinion. Even today, Northwestern continues to stimulate my curiosity through new learning opportunities.
My wife, Nathalie, and I are also very proud that two of our three children graduated from Northwestern (Clemence ’18 and Philippe ’22). It gave us the opportunity to see how the University keeps getting better.
What is the NAA’s strategic vision?
The vision is clear: a global Northwestern alumni community who feels empowered, connected and engaged through every stage of life. The world is changing, and the NAA is changing with it. We need to meet our wonderfully diverse and increasingly global alumni where they are — with programs, events and content that spark their curiosity, nourish their passions and deepen their sense of community.
We’re leveraging online and in-person offerings and developing strong digital capabilities to effectively communicate with our alumni community. We are also engaging alumni around their passions. And we’re broadening our outreach to international alumni and continuing our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
What does it mean to you to be the first NAA president to live outside the U.S.?
It’s a huge honor. The number of international students at Northwestern has more than doubled in the past 20 years. We will work closely with our new University president, as well as the schools, alumni clubs and all alumni, to enhance Northwestern’s reputation abroad to the same level it has achieved in the U.S. Building an organization where everybody belongs is our goal. I believe that being the first international president will help me in this journey, which I invite all alumni to take with Northwestern.
Learn more at alum.nu/strongertogether.