Cathy Minehan, dean of the School of Management, is new to Simmons but already has spent countless hours talking to professors asking them, “What would you do if you were me?” She sees herself as a leader who sets targets and goals, and who listens and revises her decisions based on others' input.
HOW DO YOU THINK SIMMONS AND YOUR PARTICULAR SCHOOL APPROACH LEADERSHIP?
We approach it as a subject we teach, knowing that reality might not always go by the book. Most of our students are working while they're taking classes. We can play a very important role for our MBA students, whether they're part time or full time, and particularly the part-time students who are further in their career and have seen some of the issues we teach at work in the business environment.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES YOU SEE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION?
Somewhat like healthcare, a business whose costs grow annually at a rate faster than GDP is ultimately going to have trouble being affordable. Higher education has a problem, and I'm not sure how we solve it, yet. Technology is part of the answer, but it will never replace that wonderful experience of interacting with a professor who has a deep understanding of a body of study. We need to focus on the value of what we're teaching, helping students do as much as they can with their own lives and careers, and making it more and more relevant to them.
WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE SIMMONS?
Simmons is mission-driven, collegial, and exciting.
TELL US ABOUT A TIME YOU FAILED AND WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM THAT EXPERIENCE.
The morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was on the phone with a woman at Goldman Sachs and she said, "A plane just flew into the World Trade Center." I was the president of the Boston Federal Reserve and we needed to keep the financial economy working. My error was in never fully appreciating how scared the rest of the people who worked for us were. Many people on my staff believed the planes were aimed at the Fed, the Hancock, and the Prudential, and there was real fear gripping them. I learned that you really need to think about the people who work for you, particularly in a crisis. You have to look at what you're doing and how it might be perceived. You can never communicate too much and you can never listen too much.
WHERE ARE SOME MEMORABLE PLACES YOU'VE TRAVELED?
I recently took a trip for 10 days golfing in Scotland with my husband. I'm an avid golfer, but that's different from being a good golfer. We've also gone salmon fishing in Iceland during the white nights of June. I didn't catch any fish my first year, but I caught 13 the second year.
IF YOU HAD A DAY TO GO ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD YOU DO AND WHOM WOULD YOU BRING?
I would like to go to the Middle East, Jerusalem, and into Egypt. I would bring my husband, who has traveled there. I've always wanted to go down the Nile and see the pyramids.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD?
Daffodil. I smile every time I see this word. It evokes the first taste of spring, hope, and new beginnings.