Alumni Association of the University of Michigan Promotes First Black and Indian Executive Team Members

The Alumni Association has promoted three members of its executive team in recognition of their contributions to the organization, including the Association’s first Black and Indian vice presidents.
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The Alumni Association has promoted three members of its executive team—Upasna Kakroo, Ayanna McConnell, and Dave Schueler—in recognition of their contributions to the organization. They include the Association’s first Indian and Black vice presidents.

“Upasna, Ayanna, and Dave have been invaluable to our organization,” says Steve Grafton, president and CEO of the Alumni Association. “They have helped transform the organization for our alumni as we prioritize alumni connections and alumni success. I look forward to working with them in their new roles, particularly in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.”

They will lead the Alumni Association alongside Grafton and Angila Chapman, Vice President and CFO.

Upasna Kakroo headshotUpasna Kakroo joined the Alumni Association in 2018 and has grown and shaped the marketing and communications team with a digital-first focus. With her promotion to Vice President for Marketing and Communications, she becomes the Association’s first Indian vice president.

In this role, Kakroo is responsible for overseeing marketing and communications, membership, product marketing, UX, digital communications, and data analytics. Before joining the Association, Kakroo worked for Crain Communications, Rocket Internet, and McKinsey & Company, and was the founder of the content marketing agency Brandanew. She has an electrical engineering degree from the College of Engineering Pune in India, a master of science in telecom policy from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, and an MBA from Pforzheim University in Germany.

Outside of work, Kakroo enjoys writing and illustrating children’s books, watching films, and taking forest walks with her toddler and husband, Dushyant Wadivkar, MS’04.

Ayanna McConnellIn her new role as Vice President for University Relations, Ayanna McConnell oversees all aspects of the Alumni Association’s university relations, student, and development programs. She also leads the Association’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice strategic initiatives.

McConnell, the first Black vice president at the Association, possesses 20+ years experience leading student and alumni programs at U-M and Eastern Michigan University. She joined the Association in 2011 to design the student community for the LEAD Scholars program. In 2009, she earned a graduate degree in higher education/student affairs from Eastern Michigan.

A native Detroiter, McConnell enjoys travel adventures and movie nights with her two children and husband Rob McConnell, ’01.

Dave SchuelerDave Schueler, ’92, has been promoted to Senior Vice President for Alumni Engagement. He oversees all alumni programming including travel, Camp Michigania, global engagement, athletics, education, and career, as well as advertising and sponsorship.

Schueler joined the Association in 2004 as Manager of Sponsorship and Advertising before transitioning in 2010 to oversee all alumni programs as Vice President. Previously, he worked at Sport and Social Clubs of the U.S., Palace Sports and Entertainment, and Entertainment Marketing, Inc. and Production Group International (now TBA Global). He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management and communications from U-M’s School of Kinesiology and was the recipient of the college’s Career Achievement Award in 2020.

An avid sportsman, Schueler enjoys playing hockey and, along with his wife, Micki, watching their son and daughter compete in lacrosse.

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