Following a year of targeted training and professional development workshops, ten college employees have graduated from the Leadership Brookdale program.
During a recognition ceremony in the Student Life Center May 8, program coordinator Joan Santa Croce acknowledged the hard work put in by this year’s cohort and the personal and professional strides each member had made.
“This has been an amazing year,” said Croce, an assistant nursing professor at Brookdale. “I love this program. I believe that it provides unique learning opportunities for employees that can be found nowhere else in the college.”
This year’s graduates, belonging to the Zeta Cohort, are:
Anne Marie Alfieri, confidential administrative assistant for the Coastal Communiversity and HECs; Ernestine Austin, BCD senior office assistant; Eunice Clark, Equal Opportunity Fund senior office assistant; Tarin Havrick, Freehold campus student development association; Mary Ann Kerwin, Writing Center learning assistant; Kristen Petersen, biology learning assistant; Matthew Ragucci, library supervisor; Deborah Rothermund, reading learning assistant; Laurie Salka, Displaced Homemaker services administrator; and Joan Scocco, BCD operations manager.
Each received an official certificate of completion, joining a long line of employee cohorts to graduate from Leadership Brookdale since its inception in 1996.
Croce conducted a public roll call of those cohorts as well, and took time out to acknowledge the various employees and community members who led nine monthly Leadership Brookdale workshops throughout the school year.
They included: Norah Kerr-McCurry; Dr. Patricia Gallo; Dr. Nancy Kegelman; Martin McDermott; James Meyer; Dr. Richard Fulton; Dr. Webster Trammell; and members of the president’s cabinet.
In her third and final year as program coordinator, Croce also recognized a number of colleagues for their support of the program, including Kelly Sanders Jennings; Professor Gail Harrigan; Dean David Stout; and nursing Director Mary Ehret.
With a bittersweet farewell, Croce then announced she would be passing the torch to Joan Scocco, operations manager for Brookdale’s Business and Community Development (BCD) division. Scocco, who will serve as program coordinator for the next three years, said she was tremendously excited for the opportunity.
“Joan leaves some very big shoes to fill,” Scocco said. “She is an incredible leader. If I can bring half of the enthusiasm to Leadership Brookdale that Joan did, we will have an incredibly successful program.”
Dr. Maureen Murphy, introduced by human resources Dean Patricia Sensi, gave the keynote address for the graduation ceremony. In a remarkably candid appraisal of her tenure as president of the college, Murphy explained the importance of leadership and how it drives and defines organizations of all kinds.
Calling leadership “integrity in action,” Murphy said the most successful organizations are those with employees who are willing to “lean in” and create the changes they want to see, even in times of strife. That’s something she has seen in spades at Brookdale, Murphy said.
“I have seen it over and over, where people lean in and say, ‘OK, this is a lousy situation. What can I do? How can I help?’ That’s leadership,'” Murphy said.
“I challenge you, now that you have been through this, to take what you have learned and put it out there in action. Each of us has that opportunity. So when you see that opportunity, lean in and take it.”
Leadership Brookdale is open to Brookdale faculty and staff. To learn more or find out how to apply, email Joan Scocco at email@example.com.
Click here to view more photos from the graduation ceremony.