A Message from the Alumni Society President
As I near the end of my term as president of the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society, I naturally find myself reflecting on the experiences of my eleven years on the board. During this time, the board has developed collaborative programs and operating systems that have become the University standard. These have often been "shared" with other colleges, having a far-reaching impact on the Penn State community. We often report on individual programs and initiatives but I think it’s worth examining the foundation for our success.
It’s no surprise (especially to HHD graduates) that our impact within our college and beyond is attributed to people and relationships. The importance of both is often talked about in organizations, but how often are they given the proper support and attention?
People: We’ve taken the time to reach out to the "people connectors" (those individuals who know everybody) amongst our faculty, student organizations, administrators, and fellow alumni to identify the best possible candidates to potentially serve on our board. Then, we created a rigorous nominations and election process that clearly expresses our goals and expectations. To borrow from Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, job number one has been to "get the right people on the bus."
Relationships: Of course, once you have the right people on the bus, you must effectively support them. Recently, a board member shared with me that because his life had become so busy he had resigned from several prominent boards—but not ours. He went on to express that this was not by chance. He continues to make time for us, he says, because we get things done and have a lot of fun while we’re doing it, and because he feels like he’s making a difference. I believe this is a result of robust strategic planning, ongoing communication, recognition of individual and committee accomplishments, and lots of laughter. This is a culture that has been supported and nurtured by the board, Dean Crouter and her staff, and individual department heads and their faculty. My hope for the future is that we never take this culture for granted and that it be passionately protected—it’s truly something special.
These concepts are not new or unique; you can read about them in any one of hundreds of motivational business management books. What’s so unique is they have come to life in the board and I’m thankful to have played a part in the process.
Our new president, Jennifer Sprankle ’92 NURS, is dedicated to the principles of our success and I am confident that she will excel and passionately move the Alumni Society forward.
For the Glory,
President, HHD Alumni Society Board of Directors