1) We’re excited to welcome you to the VCCS. What are some of the reasons you decided to join our organization?
I love the mission of VCCS, particularly in that it states that it gives “everyone” the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so that lives and communities are strengthened.
VCCS has a great reputation of success with students and service to its communities. I have met very talented and friendly staff as well. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something that can really affect change? I considered it a wonderful opportunity to utilize my background and experience in HR to continue to advance the mission of the system and its colleges while also learning and growing as well.
2) Can you please share your thoughts about the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce in our institutions?
Fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce is something that has to become so second nature that we aren’t thinking about it as much as doing it as a normal way of conducting business. It seems simple that the best way to succeed is to expose diverse individuals to diverse learning and opportunities in a way that leverages their uniqueness, fosters opportunity for learning and dialogue, and encourages and rewards them for the innovation and results of their contributions.
The world around us has changed so much that who learns from us, works for us, gives to us, lives around our campus communities, or is watching us from the sidelines trying to make a decision about joining us is changing. We must understand and be prepared for these changes while helping others who will leave our institutions and be charged with carrying the mission forward.
Colleges have the advantage of creating the leaders in other industries that will be charged to create these environments Higher education prepares us for the future so that we can go out and work, create work, change systems and communities for the better.
Our long term sustainability and opportunity to continue to strengthen lives and communities well beyond our over a hundred years of existence depends on our ability to do this and do it well. .
3) You were educated in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and worked in New Hampshire and Illinois. What are your thoughts as you prepare to relocate and work in Virginia? (And, by the way, you’re arriving just in time for our annual Humidity Festival!)
I grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State as an undergraduate. I attended graduate school in Ohio. However, I worked in both states. My work with New Hampshire was as an online Adjunct Faculty member for New Hampshire University. I have lived and worked in several states but have spent the majority of my work life in Illinois.
I am excited about moving to Virginia. It feels like coming home. I have family and friends in the Northern Virginia area. It’s a beautiful state with a lot to offer. What I learned while preparing as a candidate for the Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources position is that Virginia is highly ranked in terms of its higher education system and the reputation about how the colleges are run and the skill and success of graduates is very high.
This information made my decision to join VCCS easier. Everyone that I have interacted with at VCCS has been very welcoming and supportive to help me in any way possible.
4) Your professional background shows deep HR experience not only in higher education, but also in health care. And you have teaching experience, too. What do you think you’ll take from your life and work history that will guide you at Virginia’s Community Colleges?
Understanding the mission and vision of the organization that you work for is important regardless of the industry or organization. You must also take the time to understand the organizational goals and needs, and to listen and build relationships throughout the organization.
5) Finally, please tell us something about yourself (i.e., hobbies, interests, etc.) that our readers would be interested in knowing about you.
I collect items that have butterflies on them or are shaped like a butterfly. It has sentimental value and reminds me of my late mother so if you see me wearing or carrying something with a butterfly that is why. I love history and culture, so looking at art and going to museums, attending cultural festivals, going to theatrical plays, and reading are a few things that I love to do.
I like beautiful landscaping and scenery so taking a walk or a bike ride in a scenic neighborhood or park or through a botanical garden is enjoyable. I don’t want to say that I love to eat even if it’s true but I will say that seafood, especially crab and shrimp don’t stand a chance around me. I look forward to indulging in the good food I heard Virgina has.
Finally, every now and then, I like a little thrill and my family and friends all know that a good roller coaster ride is what I enjoy the most. Look out Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens! I hope I get the chance to get at least one roller coaster ride in this year. It’s the once vice that I haven’t lost as I have gotten older. It’s just pure fun.