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The Churn in Advancement

A few weeks ago we noted the large number of jobs open in the College’s Development/Advancement office (that’s “fundraising” in plain English). I surmised that the College was gearing up for the capital campaign that has been looming for quite a while now. In fact, the campaign is part of the reason, and the hiring proceeds apace:

Development 11.06.2015 Comp.jpg

Thumbnail image for Development Office.jpgWhile there are plenty of new jobs to be had, another motive for the frenetic recruiting is the awful work environment up in Advancement’s dedicated building in Centerra (right). As we reported on October 1, 2014, Senior VP for Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88’s name bespeaks his management style:

From the first, Lasher’s behavior has spawned stories of slammed doors, angry tirades, whining about the Upper Valley social scene, and, well, very close supervision of certain subordinates.

As we noted then, and the observation is still true, people are leaving Development in good numbers, and many others are shopping their resumés at other schools. This is hardly what the College wants to see at the start of a campaign. Phil has set high goals for fundraising (though he should do more cost-cutting — that’s where the real money is), but if he wants to raise money, he needs to have on staff a cohesive, happy group of development officers, people who love the College and are willing to stay with her for the number of years needed to establish relationships with donors. Allowing a burn-and-churn boss to run Advancement won’t get Phil to where he wants to go.

I’m the first person in the world to admit that hiring quality people is a challenge. Nobody is better than good at it; the necessary strategy is to undo your errors as quickly as possible. Will Phil send Bob Lasher packing before too much damage is done and too many good people leave — or is he reluctant to admit a mistake? The current office pool is only running even odds on whether Lasher will get the boot before Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer, an equally dismal hire (whose job consists of almost all of the responsibilities of what once was the Dean of the College position). Who knows how long either one will last?


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