I first came to know Susan Resneck Pierce and her work when she consulted with and facilitated a retreat with Whitman College’s President and Board of Trustees and other key members of the Whitman community to launch a significant strategic planning effort. Because Whitman’s Board of Trustees had decided to review and revamp its governance structure and operational practices, Susan led a special session on board governance to provide the group with an understanding of relevant higher ed issues, best practices in governance of liberal arts colleges, traps to avoid and the like.
The Board created a seven-person Governance Review Committee which I chair to review and recommend relevant changes in Whitman’s governance structure and practices. Susan has been deeply engaged consulting with us throughout what will be a year-long project, as we’ve tackled our very important charge. Susan believes strongly that each college, and each governance challenge, is unique; there are no cookie-cutter approaches that fit all situations. Accordingly, she has developed an in-depth understanding of Whitman. Beyond that, the special skills and talents Susan brings to our work include her
- Broad-gauged understanding and a wealth of knowledge about higher education
- Deep and extensive history in governance of liberal arts colleges
- Exceptional listening skills; she makes sure she listens respectfully to all parties
- Outstanding written and oral communication skills
- Very high energy and very high personal performance standards
- Understanding of the relationship between the Board and the President and administration and other groups in the community and great empathy for all
- Commitment to collaboration, inclusion, and consensus building
Susan has great passion for her work, she’s a diplomat par excellence, and she has a twinkle in her eye and an informal personal style that’s easy to like! Susan has become our invaluable partner.