Take Five with Dennis Moynihan: The SSC’s new director is big on collaboration, efficiency and customer engagement

Home|Blog|Take Five with Dennis Moynihan: The SSC’s new director is big on collaboration, efficiency and customer engagement

1. You have a lot of responsibilities as director of the Shared Services Center. What constitutes a typical day for you?
While you never really know what each day will bring, I have two things that I’m particularly focused on. First, I want to make sure that both personally and as an organization, we’re totally focused on our customers across the VCCS system. We need to be completely engaged, listening to everyone’s needs and suggestions, and working closely together on everything we’re doing. So every chance I get, I really enjoy connecting with our colleagues at each college and, I must say, I can’t wait until our post-Covid world when I will have the chance to spend time at each campus.


The second thing I’m focused on is making sure our great staff at the SSC is working together as a team. With that in mind, we have a lot of collaborative internal conversations where we can co-create and problem solve together. My personal philosophy is to keep our meetings short and purposeful, but always to be available for each other.

So, really, my days are about collaboration, both with our colleagues and with our teammates.

2. What is your biggest challenge right now and what do you hope to accomplish in 2021?

We’ve set out three themes to focus our activities through the upcoming fiscal year.

First, we’re focused on continuous process improvement. We’re looking at everything we do to streamline and make service improvements. And, most importantly, we’re driving this effort through vigorous customer engagement – our colleagues feedback – and through improved data driven insights (where business intelligence can flag bottlenecks and problems we can tackle).

Secondly, we’re really looking at the technical infrastructure that underpins our processes (both at the SSC and across the system). While much of the technology we use is hosted by the State, etc., we’re looking at the little things we can do to increase efficiency and reduce errors. Things like improved automated interfaces between systems, better use of software features, etc. Using technology more effectively can only improve the services we provide.

Lastly, we’re keeping an eye on what the SSC can do to add value to the VCCS system. We’re being asked, occasionally, if we might be able to provide additional services or tackle new problems. Over the next 12-18 months, we certainly want to consider where the SSC might be able to do more, but only in those cases where we can maintain excellent levels of service.

3. How would you describe your style of management? Are you a hands-on type of administrator or do you prefer to delegate authority?

Well, I’m pretty hands-on and, as my team will certainly tell you, I always have an opinion to share! But, I’ve learned over many years that management isn’t just about what you can do but how you can help everyone contribute to the fullest. So, my focus is on stepping up to challenges we face and empowering my colleagues as we tackle them together.

4. With most VCCS employees working remotely nowadays, what impact has that had on your job? Has it created more challenges or does it make your job easier?

Like a lot of organizations, we’ve adapted very well to teleworking. Our team is productive and professional, and have turned telework from a challenge into an opportunity. Having said that, I’m a fan of the old approach called MBWA – “Managing by Wandering Around”. So, I do miss the interaction and personal touch, and I hope, as this crisis passes, we’ll be able to settle into a rhythm that blends the best of telework and being together.

5.  So that we might get to know you better, please take a moment to tell us about yourself, your hobbies and interests that may or may not be job-related.

My wife and I moved to Virginia just last September when I accepted this role, having lived most recently in Vermont and earlier, in London. We love the outdoors and are thrilled to be gaining the Blue Ridge Mountains even as we give up Vermont’s Green Mountains. And, we also both love Americana roots music. We’re excited to be in the heart of it all and can’t wait until the times allow more festivals and venues to reopen. As your readers well know, there’s no place like Virginia!


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