The search is on for Babson’s new leader. In May, President Kerry Healey notified the board of trustees of her decision to step down as the College’s 13th president in June.
Since then, the board has appointed Bruce Herring ’87, P’19, a Babson trustee and former executive at Fidelity Investments, to serve as chair of the Presidential Search Committee. Comprising representatives from all segments of the Babson community, the 11-person committee is charged with making a recommendation to the board regarding the next president.
“The Babson community has been enthusiastically engaged in this process, and we have been extremely pleased to see that our pool of candidates is deep, diverse, talented, and extremely gifted,” says Herring, who recently took time to discuss the search committee’s work.
Why did you agree to chair the search committee? As someone who wants to give back to Babson, I felt that chairing the committee was the right thing to do. It was humbling to be asked, because it’s such an important event for Babson. Presidential transitions do not happen often, and we are at a critical point in our history. Our Centennial marks a new beginning for the College at a time when higher education in general is facing some unique changes.
How has the search process unfolded? A crucial component of our search process has been reaching out to our community to get input. We’ve held dozens of listening sessions to engage governance members, faculty, students, staff, and alumni. We’ve also widely distributed an online survey. Inclusion is important to us. We want the community to be part of this process.
Simultaneously, we retained the executive search firm Spencer Stuart to guide us. The team we are working with has conducted numerous presidential searches for colleges and other nonprofits.
Taking what we learned from the listening sessions and survey, as well as many other factors, we crafted a position description for the next president. A lot of hard work went into crafting that document to provide clarity around what we’re looking for in our next leader. It will make finding the right person a lot easier.
What stands out about the process? People are looking for a visionary leader, someone who can really set a direction for Babson—not a change in direction as much as the ability to galvanize the community on a shared sense of direction. They’re looking for someone who is balanced, connecting with the community while engaging with the outside world. They also want someone who values our diverse, global community and who will strengthen our position as the leader in entrepreneurship education.
The passion that people feel for this institution has been stunning. The Spencer Stuart folks said they’ve never seen anything like this before in their other searches. People really care about Babson, and I think that’s wonderful.—Andy Tiedemann