Q&A with new Alumni Association Board President, Matthew Helfand

Matthew Helfand, BA’13, MA’14, JD’18, is the Alumni Association Board's new president

Matthew Helfand, BA’13, MA’14, JD’18, is a municipal and land use planning lawyer at Aird Berlis and a dedicated volunteer of the Alumni Association Board since 2019. Passionate about enhancing the Western alumni experience, Matt took the time to tell his vision for the future.  

Why have you remained an engaged volunteer?  

I was a student at Western for nine years. During that time, I had the opportunity to serve the Western community in many different capacities. My biggest standout experience was as University Student Council (USC) president. In that role I was involved in many important projects for the broader Western community. The USC was instrumental in delivering innovative student programming at Homecoming, secured new permanent prayer space for Muslim students in partnership with the university and established a program which diverted tons of waste during the student move-out period. I developed a keen understanding of how the university operates. It feels very natural to continue to be engaged as a volunteer, and I appreciate the opportunity to do so.

What inspired you to serve as Alumni Association president?  

My experience as a Western student was transformative, and I know that many Western alumni, young and old, share that feeling and continue to hold the university in very high regard.

I became involved with the board immediately after graduating law school. I saw the opportunity to help our community stay connected or reconnect with the institution that means so much to them. That continues to motivate me as I step forward into the role of president.

What are you most excited to work on during your term?

I most look forward to the opportunity to serve as an ambassador of Western and help with programming, events and initiatives that strengthen worldwide networks. I am hoping that I can enable our other board members and volunteers to lean into their roles as ambassadors in a meaningful way.   

What are the most important challenges and opportunities for the board to address?

The pandemic’s transformative effects are not over. I think it is important for us to continue to monitor programming to make sure we are providing opportunities for individuals to connect in-person and online. I would also like to enhance the connection between the board and the various divisions within the school, to ensure that board members receive relevant and up-to-date information to assist them as ambassadors.

What is your vision for the board?

I want the board to learn more about what is happening at Western and integrate those opportunities in our planning for alumni. I’ve never seen more dedicated alumni and we want to honour that loyalty through strong relationships and engagement.