Irena Choi Stern became head of alumni services in January 2020 after serving as a special assistant in Newmark J-School’s external affairs office beginning in April 2019.
Prior to joining Newmark J-School, Irena was a communications consultant for What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative that helps local governments improve residents’ lives by using data and evidence effectively to tackle pressing challenges.
Before that, Irena worked at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism for more than a decade, most recently as assistant dean and director of alumni relations. In her role, Irena served as the primary contact for more than 12,000 graduates, deepening their connections to each other and the university and cultivating and identifying development prospects. She established and managed the Columbia Journalism School Alumni Board, oversaw the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend and awards, and served as managing editor of the alumni newsletter.
Irena has extensive event management experience, ranging from small engagements to marquee events featuring celebrities such as Tom Wolfe, George Clooney, and Johnny Depp. Irena also worked as a freelance journalist, writing features primarily for The New York Times Westchester section, as well as Psychology Today and other publications.
She serves on the board of the Anne O’Hare McCormick Fund, named for the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for foreign correspondence, which provides scholarships to women to pursue careers in journalism.
Irena served as a member of the Bronxville School Board of Education and as PTA President. She was raised in India, Egypt, Morocco, and Jamaica, where her father served as Ambassador for the Republic of Korea.
Irena is a graduate of Wellesley College and received master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Columbia Graduate Journalism School.