An adventurer, author, father and now the president of the Georgetown University Alumni Association (GUAA), Jeff Chapski (B'91) is a pioneer of innovation. He has been described by fellow colleagues and friends as loyal, strategic and above all else, dedicated to GUAA. In his role as president, Chapski hopes to continue the positive forward momentum of GUAA and to enhance the volunteer experience.
"I consider Chapski a friend, mentor, and colleague," said Bridget Holmes, senior director of Alumni Career Services and regional engagement for Georgetown. "He is constantly brainstorming around how things can be better, bigger, more."
For many, the Georgetown journey begins while on the Hilltop. While he describes his years on campus as a "terrific experience," it wasn't until after college that he truly realized his passion for his alma mater. After moving to New York City, Chapski offered his spare time to local food banks and organizations dedicated to helping inner-city children but found that volunteering for the Georgetown University Alumni Club of Metropolitan New York was his true calling. He went on to become the co-president of the club in 2004.
"My experience on the Hilltop was a very meaningful time in my life," said Chapski. "But I think years later, having graduated and become involved as a volunteer, I found a deeper appreciation for the university and its global impact."
Chapski's experience with the Metro N.Y. Club led him to seek more leadership roles. According to Chapski, he began attending Leadership Weekends, which are held bi-yearly for the Board of Governors and Board of Regents. In 2006, he was elected to the Board of Governors, the governing body of GUAA, and has since devoted countless hours to furthering the work of the Career Services committee and professional alliances.
One of his proudest accomplishments during his time on the Board of Governors was the launch of Hoya Gateway, a program designed to engage current Georgetown students with alumni. Chapski formulated the concept for the program by drawing on his experiences working with companies like J.P. Morgan, Arthur Andersen, Chase Bank, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft and GE Capital.
The creation of Hoya Gateway did not occur overnight, however. It took more than two years to come to fruition. Chapski worked with Holmes and other Georgetown staff to build the program.
"It was a constant unscheduled back and forth of ideas," said Holmes. "I would call him and suggest an idea and he would build on it." The project faced major roadblocks including the lack of available technology at the time. This did not discourage Chapski or Holmes and through their determination, the program launched in 2013. Today, Hoya Gateway has more than 570 alumni and 2,000 student participants.
When Chapski is not dedicating countless hours of service to GUAA, he is pursuing his writing career, spending time with family or doing CrossFit. His first book, Career-ology, was published in 2016 and he has two more in the works.
A true family man, Chapski, his wife Jennifer and their 8-year-old son, Reid, enjoy spending time outdoors. In the summer, the Chapskis may be spotted on a ranch out west riding horses. In the fall, they enjoy hiking and fishing. In winter, they take to the slopes.
"My wife may describe me as taking myself too seriously," said Chapski jokingly.
Yet it's his seriousness and passion that propels him in all avenues of life, including his work for GUAA. He hopes to continue to bring innovative ideas to enhance the work of GUAA over the next two years. Since assuming the role of president in July, he has already revamped GUAA's strategic planning process to ensure that it is synchronized with leadership terms and that the finished product will be the result of collective work of the Board of Governors. GUAA's four-year strategic plan will be finalized in late summer 2016.
Having worked with Chapski closely for many years, and on the current strategic plan, Holmes believes Chapski has the capacity to understand the minute details of a project, but also is able to conceptualize overall strategy. "This is a unique characteristic that not all leaders have," said Holmes.
"GUAA will be more focused because of Chapski," said Holmes. "He is looking to make some significant and foundational improvements. I know that he will leave a legacy."