NACRO Leadership Decade in Review - June 2017
Senior Director of Corporate Relations
Kansas State University Foundation
NACRO Leadership Decade in Review As we march toward the 10th annual NACROcon in Seattle in August, we’ll continue counting down the years by highlighting a Board member, beginning with our newest members and working towards those there at the beginning.
Editor: How did you get started in NACRO - Where has it taken you over the years in your career?
Mitzi: Since its’ inception in 2007, I recognized the value of NACRO and jumped into the fray! NACRO provided me the framework and opportunity to engage with colleagues facing the same opportunity and challenge one encounters when your chosen profession is to facilitate and advance higher-ed institution/industry partnerships.
Working alongside my esteemed colleagues on committees and the board of directors has been energizing and taught me a lot. Every NACRO conversation includes a keen diversity of thought, perspectives, honesty and opinions. These transparent conversations helped me build relationships that enrich my daily work and have guided my career decisions. My NACRO friends have allowed me to experience higher education and industry collaboration around the globe. Visits to Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, Universities in Santiago, Chile, Cambridge in the United Kingdom and several U.S. universities have provided me a broad view of international trends, university and organizational models, execution strategies and metrics for success. Most importantly, it has deepened my appreciation for how higher education and industry partnerships are essential to the future of economic health and quality of life across the globe.
Editor: What is your perspective on how NACRO has shaped CR in the past?
Mitzi: NACRO has most definitely shaped the corporate relations landscape. I believe that our ability to positively impact corporate relations is imbedded in NACRO’s history. A key success factor is that NACRO was created organically. Corporate Relations professionals responded to a call and came together to establish THE professional resource for advancing significant higher education/industry partnerships. This goal required resilient and creative volunteer leadership. From the beginning, their efforts to define best practice and provide professional development, was fraught with challenge. Besides fitting NACRO ‘to do’s’ into busy careers, our early leaders accepted the daunting task of uniting a profession that, even today, has a multitude of definitions. We share common goals, but a wide variety of job titles, reporting structures and responsibilities with a multitude of expected outcomes/results. A decade of NACRO milestones has advanced the work of hundreds of committed professionals and university-industry relationships.
Editor: How do you see (or what are your challenges to today's NACRO) on the future of CR?
Mitzi: Universities are continuing to explore new and untapped revenue streams to sustain education and research excellence. This will require NACRO’s leadership to discover new and innovative ways to explore corporate investment strategies and respond with the professional resources required to compete in this marketplace. I’m confident that NACRO’s membership has created an organizational brand built on resiliency and accomplishments necessary for a successful future.
Editor: Parting shots / wisdom / insights?
Mitzi: I have the utmost respect for CR professionals across the world. Together, we are pioneering an incredibly important profession in academia. The future is not always clear but we have proven that NACRO provides a critical vehicle for ideas, discourse and to introduce best practice. Most importantly, our NACRO personal relationships provide the support and honest feedback that add significance and incredible joy to our work.