PLAN in action: Inaugural leadership development class selected

The inaugural class has been selected for the Professional Leadership Academy & Network (PLAN), a yearlong professional development program intended to cultivate future leaders at Washington University in St. Louis.

And according to PLAN committee members, it was no easy task to choose the class of 26 from the “talented staff pool” of applicants.

Danforth Campus staff members with an interest in strengthening leadership skills, knowledge of the university and higher education in general, and appreciation for inclusion were invited to apply this past November for a position in the class that begins with a reception this month.

The PLAN committee received nearly 100 applicants.

“We are very pleased to have such a competitive pool and to have a cohort that represents many different areas on campus,” says PLAN Steering Committee Co-Chair Julia Macias Garcia of the applicants and selected class members.

“This cohort, in addition to their own professional development, will play a key role in helping increasing collaboration and communication between the different departments and programs.

“The members of the cohort bring in different experiences, areas of expertise and contributions to the university,” Macias Garcia says. “We have members who have expertise in finance, facilities management, student development, libraries, and the list goes on. We are looking forward to what they will accomplish through PLAN.”

Members of the inaugural PLAN class are:

Michael Altepeter, director of facilities planning in the School of Engineering & Applied Science;

Jaydee Amoloza, assistant dean for undergraduate admissions in Engineering Student Services;

Cris Baldwin, assistant dean and registrar for the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts;

Trevor Bilhorn, registrar for the College of Arts & Sciences;

Tara Bone, director of auxiliary enterprises in Auxiliary Enterprises;

Kathy Brock, assistant director of Mental Health Services in Student Health Services;

Mary Campbell, assistant vice chancellor for real estate in Quadrangle Housing;

Liz Cheves, executive director for major gifts & capital projects in Alumni & Development;

Jonathan Cohen, human resources manager for Arts & Sciences;

Siomari Collazo, JD, program manager for the Center for Latino Family Research in the Brown School;

Brian Fiedler, senior director of development, parents programs and athletics in Alumni & Development;

Harvey Fields, PhD, assistant director for academic programs for Cornerstone;

Cathleen FitzGibbon, business development specialist in the Career Center;

Pamela Fournie, director of financial systems development in Reporting, Analysis, and Planning Systems Projects;

Natalie Goodwin-Frank, manager of operations & grants for I-CARES’ Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center;

Mike Hayes, executive director of Campus Life;

Ken Keller, director of Arts & Sciences computing in Arts & Sciences;

James Kolker, assistant vice chancellor for campus planning in Facilities;

Steve Malter, assistant dean for student development in the Olin Business School;

Sheri Notaro, PhD, associate dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences;

Ellen Rostand, assistant dean for communications in the Brown School;

Andrew Rouner, PhD, director of the digital library in Olin Library;

Craig Schaefer, assistant director of Information Systems & Technology;

Christine Street, JD, assistant director of disability resources for Cornerstone;

Martha Turner, associate director of the Office for International Students and Scholars; and

Kim Walker, WUSTL’s chief investment officer.

“We were delighted with the enthusiastic response to the call for applications,” says Gail V. Oltmanns, PLAN steering committee co-chair. “We had a large, impressive pool of candidates representing most areas of the university, which made the selection process challenging, but also very exciting for the committee.”

“Due to the high number and high quality of applicants, it was difficult for the selection committee to cull out the first class,” Macias Garcia adds. “It is a testament to the talented staff pool at Washington University.

“We are also grateful to the many people who applied, the supervisors who took the time to nominate strong candidates, and the faculty and staff who have worked hard to make PLAN a reality.”

Notaro says that one goal she hopes to achieve as a member of the class is toward improving diversity on campus.

“I am honored to be included in the inaugural PLAN class,” Notaro says. “By participating in PLAN, I hope to learn more effective strategies to lead and collaborate with university internal constituents as well as external partners interested in increasing the diversity of graduate students.

“For example, I would like to encourage more faculty on the Danforth campus to collaborate with each other in recruiting prospective underrepresented graduate students through summer research experiences and faculty exchanges. I would like to enhance the skills, such as leadership, vision, creativity, fund-raising and project management, that will foster such initiatives.”

The program, which is under the stewardship of the Office of the Provost, will combine classroom sessions and “lunch & learns” to enhance the growth and productivity of staff and to provide the university with a cadre of leaders who can contribute to university-wide initiatives and projects.

One such future leader is PLAN class member Collazo, who views her selection as a “small victory.”

“I view success as small victories coming together that in the end become a great story,” Collazo says. “I humbly believe that having been selected to participate in this process was a small victory in and of itself.

“But not just for me as an individual, but for fellow women and Hispanics in and outside the university … women whom in the future will benefit from this initiative,” Collazo says.

“Ultimately, this PLAN initiative will impact many, both within the school and in our community — and it is at that point we will be able to call it a story of great success!”