Carnegie Mellon University

Small but Mighty Networking

Tartan Circles are small, hand selected groups of like-minded CMU alumni who come together online to build their professional network. Circles are your place to go with questions and challenges when you’re exploring how to get your next role, start your own company or be a better leader, while sharing your experience and ideas with others. Circles offer you the chance to gain and give unbiased, candid advice and insights.

Benefits of joining a Tartan Circle include:

Video Calls Icon Weekly peer-moderated video calls

Member Focus Icon Dedicated meetings focused on each Circle member

Any Device Icon Participate from anywhere on any device with Zoom

Fall 2019 Tartan Circles

Registration will close on September 2 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
A limited number of alumni will be selected to participate. All applicants will be notified of their status no later than September 13.

Fall Circles will start the week of September 16 and run a minimum of nine weeks, ending the week of November 11.


Talents & Strengths
Leader: Christa Downey (TPR 1997)
Mondays @ 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Discuss ways to apply your unique talents to maximize your full potential through your career and volunteer activities. Develop language to express your strengths to others. Those selected for this circle will be encouraged to purchase Top 5 CliftonStrengths or one of the several books that include an access code.

Find Your Niche: Corporation Navigation
Leader: Boyan Zhang (DC 2018)
Tuesdays @ 8 p.m. (ET)
Working in a medium- to large-size company opens doors to many opportunities, but how do you manage to find an area that interests and challenges you? What are some effective ways to branch out, build connections and find your niche?

Cybersecurity Compliance
Leader: Omowunmi Akinyoade (HNZ 2003)
Tuesdays @ 8 p.m. (ET)
Discuss and share experiences around driving effective cybersecurity behavior in organizations.

Small Business Owners 
Leader: Gerry Peterson (HNZ 1990)
Wednesdays @ 9 p.m. (ET)
Build your network of Tartan small business owners by sharing experiences, challenges and best practices.

Ignite Your Executive Presence
Leader: David McKnight (HNZ 1996)
Thursdays @ 3:30 p.m. (ET)
To be truly effective, today’s leader must be engaged, flexible and self-aware. In this group, we will discuss how to develop and leverage your professional image and executive presence as a strategic lever to advance and accelerate your career. You will learn practical tips, strategies and frameworks to build an authentic and powerful professional presence. 

Educators & School Leadership
Leader: Robin Highberg (TPR 1986)
Thursdays @ 5:30 p.m. (ET)
Enter the school zone! Join us to share ideas and discuss planned learning communities, positive behavior intervention systems, facilitating adult learning, classroom management and tech 1:1.

Career Transitioning + Pivoting for Mid-Career Professionals
Leader: David Bernardino (DC 1997)
Fridays @ 3 p.m. (ET)
How can you transition from one opportunity to another or pivot from one career to a totally new one, while leveraging all of the experience and perspective you've gained along the way? Join this Tartan Circle group, facilitated by a fellow CMU alum who has lived through multiple transitions and pivots in the 20+ years since graduating.


By participating in the program, you will

  • Expand your professional network
  • Build meaningful relationships with fellow CMU alumni
  • Gain solutions and ideas from brainstorming sessions
  • Tap into the experience and skills of others
  • Increase confidence about taking the right actions to achieve goals

Who should participate?

CMU alumni like you who wish to

  • Discuss challenges and shape ideas
  • Share experiences with others
  • Expand their professional network
  • Reach or exceed professional goals
  • Commit to group meetings