February 7, 2020
Q&A with Michelle Dingwall, University of Wisconsin-Stout
- What is your current role at your institution? As a polytechnic university, University of Wisconsin-Stout has hundreds of industry partners integrated in every corner of campus. My position as Senior Development Officer was created at the Stout University Foundation when I was hired three years ago, to focus on securing donations from industry partners.
- How long have you been a NACRO member? I joined NACRO in the spring of 2018, when I registered for my first Conference in Atlanta. I joined the Conference Programming and Professional Development committees in 2018, and now lead subcommittees on affinity groups (Conference) and webinars (PD).
- What do you enjoy most about your NACRO membership? Meeting colleagues from all over the country has been extremely rewarding for me. I enjoy learning about other universities’ CR offices, particularly how they started. I’m still in the process of establishing a corporate relations office and I think I have learned something from everyone I’ve met at NACRO. Multiple NACRO colleagues have shared best practices and even CR materials without hesitation, to help us get started. The camaraderie in NACRO is tangible and I knew I wanted to get more involved.
- So far, what has been your greatest Corporate Relations success? What has been your greatest challenge? While I’ve helped secure substantial donations from industry partners in the last three years, I consider my greatest successes to be starting new business engagement programs that will grow over time. These include creating alumni events onsite at strategic partner businesses, leveraging Career Services events to introduce engagement opportunities, or engaging advisory board members to create scholarships as a student recruitment strategy, I enjoy “inventing the wheel” and seeing ideas take off. While campus leadership has been supportive of the concept of centralized CR, progress has been minimal. UW-Stout is in the midst of several leadership positions transitioning now, and I believe we will make significant progress in centralizing CR in the next two years.
- What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know? I’m very involved in my community, having recently served as the CEO of the chamber and president of the local Rotary club. I’ve also served on several nonprofit boards ranging from an historic theater to a regional economic development organization, and now serve as president of the high school band boosters in my (unsuccessful) attempt to scale-back!