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Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director

The reorganization of the Association in 2002 has led to a more efficient and dynamic governance structure which in turn is more quickly generating ideas and authorizing more projects in support of the members. Coupled with the premise that the volunteer leaders should be able to rely on the Executive Office staff to manage or implement projects, the day to day operations in the Executive Office have changed significantly. I thought it might be helpful for the members to read about what a typical day might entail.

 When I arrive these days, Judy Weyrauch is already at her desk working on membership database issues. Judy oversees the students that enter the memberships, registrations, and member information changes; initiates the membership renewal notices, and is in charge of our upcoming computer program change that will lead to on-line access by members. Rhonda Baker is usually in her office early, as well, and is busy managing the National Conference presentation proposal process or finalizing details of the Administrators’ Institute, Assessment Institute, or Engaging Faculty Seminar - hotel room block monitoring, arranging food events, preparing the programs for printing, corresponding with the faculty for each event, etc.

Nancy Barnes is next door to Rhonda attending to other details of the National Conferences - finalizing the Convention Center contract for Indianapolis for 2006, keeping up on anything that might impact our contracts (renovations, etc.) in Baltimore and Chicago for 2007 and 2008 respectively, preparing a request for proposals for 2009 to be sent to western locales, contacting suppliers for Las Vegas (exhibit booths, audio-visual equipment, banquet directors, entertainers, etc.), and preparing the Las Vegas conference brochure. Diane Matteson is working through similar details with each of the ten regional conference chairs for their Spring 2005 meetings while also beginning work with an additional ten chairs on site selection, hotel contracts, and budgets for 2006, and is liaison for the Regional Division. Between e-mails and phone calls, she is readying the content for this newsletter and answering questions about the Summer Institutes that she coordinates.

Marsha, Bev, and Bob reside in our “west wing”. Marsha Miller responds to numerous e-mails and phone calls from the members seeking specific advising information and/or resources. She uses these calls to gauge what the current hot issues are and to help us keep a pulse on what information needs to be addressed at NACADA events, added to the Clearinghouse, or be the basis of a publication. Marsha works closely with the Research Committee and the Journal Editors, too, in her comprehensive role of “advising content” authority. Beverly Martin is responsible for marketing membership, events and publications, so she is often preparing flyers, brochures, membership forms, etc. for the printer. Bev also maintains the inventory of our various “products” and assures that orders are filled and shipped in a timely manner. She has 10 boxes lined up outside her door collecting information to be sent to each of the regional conferences along with a display board for each and is always working on the next monthly NACADA “Highlights”. Bob Maddula offices next to Bev and as one might expect, is busy on his computer. Along with maintaining the network server, the NACADA web site, and providing desktop support to all staff, he programs all of our on-line services. Much like the on-line conference proposals and journal manuscript submission processes that he developed, he is finalizing the leadership reports program and the leadership elections/voting program. In addition, he is developing a “members only” section for our web site.

Cara Wohler is pleasantly answering your many phone calls, providing information, or routing them to the appropriate staff member. She is also opening the mail, providing clerical support, balancing the student work schedules, reconciling the bank statements, processing airline discount agreements, seeking state by state sales tax exemptions, and managing the overall operations of the office. Then, as I leave at the end of the day, Julia Wolf is still in her office busily writing checks to cover the $1.7+ million in annual expenses and accounting for an equal or greater amount of income. Julia is also guiding the 20 Commissions and 14 Interest Groups as liaison to the Commission and Interest Group Division, and logging in the annual Award nominations while preparing the announcement for the 2005 leadership elections.

Charlie Nutt is nearby and is busy coordinating the work of all the staff while cultivating new relationships with other higher education associations, responding to member inquiries about advising issues, coordinating the curriculum and faculty of the January/February events, addressing the many demands that I place on him, fighting fires, conducting a search for a new staff member to focus on the development of distant learning programs for members, and leading those “beloved” staff meetings. Charlie has responsibility for the day to day operations of the office while I, Bobbie, focus on overall association management issues and work with the Board of Directors. That means I am currently filing our state sales tax report, preparing for our annual IRS report, reviewing our investments and searching for the best paying CDs, responding to Board requests for information to support decisions on future activities and policies, reviewing the association’s insurance coverage and debating on whether to purchase event cancellation insurance in case there were another major terrorist incident in the US that would preclude our having a conference, conveying issues of concern to the Board as expressed by members, and explaining association actions that raise concerns from members.

As our responsibilities increased, we had a need to reorganize the office into “units” and are pleased to announce that Julia Wolf will be Assistant Director, Administration and Operations; Marsha Miller will be Assistant Director, Research and Programs; and the three meeting planners (Nancy, Rhonda, and Diane) will work as a team. We will strive to continue to provide quality service to the members of NACADA!

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, Executive Director
National Academic Advising Association

Cite this article using APA style as: Flaherty, R. (2005, February). From the executive director: Life in the NACADA office. Academic Advising Today, 28(1). [insert url here]


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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.