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Q&A: Faculty and Staff Share Their Proudest Personal and Professional Accomplishments

Every day, insideand outside of Michigan Ross, our faculty and staff are accomplishing great things. From personal goals, such as running a half marathon and daily journaling, to professional accomplishments and milestones, such as important career changes and impactful volunteer recruiting and fundraising work.

As the academic year has officially come to a close, we asked a few of our faculty and staff members to reflect and share some of their proudest and most recent personal and professional accomplishments.

cece nash

Cecelia Nash
Associate Director of Alumni Engagement, Office of Advancement

What are you most proud of that you have accomplished professionally this past academic year?

My primary role is to engage alumni in Ross volunteer opportunities. In the area of one-on-one mentoring, this past year we exceeded our expectations of scheduling over 40 student-to-alumni mentoring sessions called “Alumni in Residence,” which included our Alumni Board of Governors, Young Alumni, and more. We were able to reach over 150 students from varying Ross degree programs and received positive feedback from the students.

What have been some of your top personal accomplishments this past academic year?

When I first joined the group, I was eager to connect with Ross alumni who are interested in volunteer opportunities at Ross. I was determined to find a way to effectively organize our volunteers. With the help of the alumni engagement team and our student workers, we have found a user-friendly database called Airtable that will help us to achieve that goal. This internal database is an ongoing project, but will officially launch to our advancement team in the fall.

Additionally, I’m very proud of the connections I’ve made with alumni volunteers, as they’ve been very beneficial to the school. I once reached out to an alum about a volunteer opportunity. That connection later resulted in him becoming a major donor to Ross!

jim walsh

Jim Walsh
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
Carey Professor of Business Administration
Interim Area Chair, Management and Organizations

What are some of your proudest personal and professional accomplishments this past academic year?

To begin, I triggered a move to retirement last year. Set to retire on June 30, 2025, I will work with some reduced teaching duties before the big day arrives. Recently carrying some heavy administrative and teaching responsibilities, I found myself saying, “I came in as an assistant professor and I will leave as an assistant professor.” I intended to focus on my research scholarship this past year, but then other duties called.

Last year I worked hard to better the life of my department, the school, the university, and my profession. Recently stepping down as the area chair of strategy, I became reacquainted with the day-to-day life of management and organizations. Beginning the year by helping with our faculty recruiting effort and serving on our group’s Culture and Retreat Planning Committee, I stepped up to serve as the interim chair of the department on Jan. 1. Beyond that, I served the school as a member of the Ross Centennial Planning Committee and that committee’s Centennial Story Subcommittee. 

In my profession, I served on an Academy of Management awards committee and also served as a consulting editor at the Journal of Business Ethics. And finally, I did some pro bono teaching for the University of Cambridge in England and the University of Pretoria in South Africa, continued to work with the Africa Academy of Management, and created a new tie with the Association of African Business Schools. Beyond that, my work with the United Nations continues. In addition to being a member of the board of directors of their Principles for the Responsible Management Education initiative, I serve on two very active subcommittees of the board: the Sharing Information on Progress Committee and the PRME Principles Task Force.

I am not sure that I would call any of this work an “accomplishment.” That word feels self-referential to me, as does the word pride for that matter. This work feels more like a series of contributions than it does some kind of personal goal attained. Upon reflection, I think I can say that the first decade of my professional life felt much more defined by goals, targets, and key performance indicators than does my professional life these years. It really is a privilege to do the work I do and live the life I live.

Having said all of this, I confess that I do have a discrete goal for next year. I hope to write a paper on the place of apology, atonement, forgiveness, and reconciliation in business life. Wish me luck!

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Laura Berdish
Senior Associate Librarian, Kresge Library Services
Lecturer, Business Administration

What are you most proud of that you have accomplished professionally this past academic year?

I was honored this year to receive the 2023 Robert J. Koonce MREACH Award. MREACH is one of our Ross outreach programs for high school students, and it was wonderful to receive the award for working with this great group of scholars! The program meets on Saturdays throughout the school year, and features a wonderful group of Ross BBAs who work with the students. I’ve been involved with the group for many years and love meeting the students and working with them. I am particularly gratified to work with and be recognized by Tulsa Fearing in the Undergraduate Programs Office who runs the MREACH show — she is an amazing resource for the students, and it’s wonderful to work with her to see the dedication and love that she brings to the MREACH program.

What have been some of your top personal accomplishments this past academic year?

I’ve just realized that after 16+ years at Ross, I have had the privilege to work with many students whose lives we touch every day — from the prospective and incoming high school students to the executives in our programs, from Ann Arbor to Los Angeles, on campus and online!

joel sensenig headshot joel sensenig

Joel Sensenig
Assistant Director of Development, Office of Advancement

What are you most proud of that you have accomplished professionally this past academic year?

I’m proud of my decision last year to challenge myself both personally and professionally by making a mid-career pivot from a communications role with Michigan Ross to a front-line fundraising role with the school as a major gift officer. While it definitely got me out of my comfort zone of writing roles, it’s been an honor and privilege working with this wonderful dream team of people in the advancement office, while helping alums and friends of the school build upon their connection to the school through philanthropy. I’ve learned, and will continue to learn, so many things about this new career for me in advancement. I’ve discovered that assisting Michigan Ross alums in living out the school’s mission of building a better world through business by paying it forward to the next generation of business leaders is very rewarding and fulfilling. It feels like I made the right decision to pursue this line of work.

What have been some of your top personal accomplishments this past academic year?

Although I don’t necessarily “enjoy” running and previously never ran farther than a 10K, I ran my first half-marathon last year in Chicago. I’m not sure I have the desire to do it again, but I’m glad I set the goal, trained for it, and stuck with it. Last year, I also decided to write approximately 100 words each day in a journal. I’ve never kept a journal previously, but I wanted to document my life and thoughts in this way, and I did it for 365 straight days. I’m also pleased with my slowly growing “green thumb” skills, as I’ve picked up the hobby of keeping houseplants alive and sometimes even thriving over the past year.

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