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Alumni Leader: Q&A with Zoe Goodman ’13

Zoe Goodman, co-president of the NU Club of Greater New York, discusses her favorite memory from her time as Willie the Wildcat and how the Northwestern network has influenced her life.

zoe goodman
Zoe Goodman helps plan theater outings, football watch parties and more for 21,000 Northwestern alumni living in the New York tri-state area.Image: Jason Smith

Fall 2019

Many Northwestern alumni consider themselves Wildcats for life, but when you spend three years playing the role of Willie the Wildcat, it becomes part of your identity. Zoe Goodman proudly served as the University’s mascot from 2010 to 2013.

After graduating from the School of Education and Social Policy, Goodman worked at a foundation in Colorado and taught middle school in Tennessee. Now living in Brooklyn, she serves as a volunteer with the Alumni Admission Council, a mentor in the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program and co-president of one of the largest Northwestern alumni clubs in the country.

What brought you to Northwestern?

I graduated from Evanston Township High School. While I never envisioned staying so close to home for college (my dad — McCormick School of Engineering professor Adam Goodman — is the director of Northwestern’s Center for Leadership), SESP pulled me in. There is no learning community that I have experienced that matches the enthusiasm and the relentless optimism — but also the incredible pragmatism — of my fellow SESP folks. 

What was your favorite Willie the Wildcat moment?

I’ll never forget the feeling of leading the football team onto the field at the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas in 2011. I was at the end of the tunnel with the Northwestern flag in my hands, and the cheerleaders were in the tunnel behind me, jumping around and screaming. Behind them stood 111 Northwestern football players, and everybody was amped up. It was incredible to be the first person onto the field and to represent Northwestern in that way. 

You landed your current job — program consultant at LifeLabs Learning — after connecting with an alumnus at a football watch party in Brooklyn. How has the Northwestern network impacted your life?

As an undergraduate, I didn’t know or appreciate that you don’t go to Northwestern for four years — you go to Northwestern for your whole life. The alumni community is truly such a gift. When I lived in Colorado, Jan Weiland ’79 MBA, an alumna I met while speaking at a Council of One Hundred luncheon my senior year, took me out for lunch regularly to check in, connected me to other people and made sure I was invited to anything that was happening with C100 locally. She walks the walk of what Northwestern alumni should do for each other, and I can think of dozens of others who have held out a hand to me over the years. 

Your two-year term as co-president of the NU Club of Greater New York ends in December. What accomplishments are you most proud of, and what’s next for you?

As a club we have come so far. My co-president, Ellen Maddy Brounstein ’12, and I have led a board that’s planned more than 50 events this year, and the variety of events — from Broadway shows to sunset schooner cruises to nonprofit networking nights — is something I’m really proud of. After my term ends, I’ll stay on the board as one of two membership chairs. For me, driving membership is about creating opportunities for alumni to connect and giving back to Northwestern, which has given me so much.

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