Higher Education

Simmons College
Simmons College School of Management
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Elms College


With advances in medical technology occurring at a phenomenal rate, and the demand for quality health care on the rise, the need for strong, knowledgeable leaders in the health care field is more critical than ever before. We designed the Simmons MBA Certificate in Health Care Administration (CHCA) specifically to help meet this pressing need.

In collaboration with the Simmons School for Health Studies, the School of Management (SOM) offers this specialized program to prepare MBA students to address the unique and demanding requirements of health care management in non-profit, for profit, and governmental health care related organizations.

The Program
• Flexible full-and part-time options to meet the needs of the busy student or business professional
• A mix of hands-on course work, individual and group projects, and practicum experience

The Praticum
Critical to the CHCA Certificate Program is the practicum component, a full-time, 10-week supervised practicum. Students can choose from a variety of locations, including hospitals, insurance providers, community health clinics, advocacy, managed care facilities, government agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry. A part-time practicum spread over two semesters is an option for employed students.

Program Components

• Students need 12 credits to complete the Certificate in Health Care Administration.
• Six CHCA credits are taken during the final spring and summer sessions for the MBA program and double-count with MBA degree requirements. The additional six CHCA credits, including the practicum, are completed after MBA graduation.
• Selected electives are also available to supplement the course work.
• The program is available only to MBA students matriculated in the SOM, or SOM graduates.

Applying to the Program:
Students declare their interest upon enrollment in the SHS 450 course in January. Students must submit a formal application for the CHCA to the School for Health Studies by June 1. Applicants must have a 3.0 G.P.A. in the MBA program and complete SHS 450 or HCA 450 with a grade of B or better. Students also should enroll in HCA 507 for the summer semester. Applications are available online at xxxxxx.



With advances in medical technology occurring at a phenomenal rate, and the demand for quality health care on the rise, the need for strong, knowledgeable leaders in the health care field is more critical than ever before. The Simmons MBA Certificate in Health Care Administration (HCA) is designed specifically to help meet this pressing need.

Building on the Simmons mission of educating women for power and leadership, as well as its respected reputation as a leader in new education program design, the MBA Certificate Program recognizes the anticipated growth trend for women in health care management, and provides students with the skills necessary to accelerate their career in this vital field.

In collaboration with the Simmons School for Health Studies, the School of Management (SOM) offers this program to prepare MBA students to address the unique requirements of health care management. By augmenting the solid business skills of the Simmons MBA program with those of its nationally-accredited health care management program, the HCA graduate will be well equipped to tackle the challenges that face the management ranks today in non-profit, for profit, and governmental health care related organizations.

The Program

The 10-month, full-time program is flexible, to meet the needs of the busy student or business professional. Through a mix of hands-on course work, individual and group projects, as well as practicum experience, students will be immersed in and become cognizant of issues in health care decision-making, economics, industry markets, and best practices business models. Throughout the program, students will receive support from faculty members and advisors, helping them to gain competence in the necessary skill sets.

The Practical Component

A keystone of the HCA Certificate Program is the practicum component. A full-time,
10-week supervised practicum at one of the area’s many highly respected and recognized health care organizations ensures that the Simmons student will graduate with the confidence and knowledge necessary to hold a leadership position at recognized institutions such as xxxx or yyyyy. Currently employed students may opt for a part-time practicum, which can be spread out over two semesters.

During the practicum portion of the certificate program, students will have an opportunity to conduct field or management projects that enhance their professional portfolios and, at the same time, benefit the sponsoring organization. Projects include strategic analysis recommendations for health care institutions, community health improvement assignments, and those that deal with quantitative or financial analytic competencies.
All practicum experiences are customized to the individual, with the goal of giving the student broad exposure to a particular health care organization.

Because of our location in the heart of one of the country’s top medical sectors, as well as the College’s close academic and clinical partnerships with Greater Boston's health care organizations, HCA students are able to take advantage of exceptional fieldwork opportunities. Students can choose from a variety of locations, including hospitals, insurance providers, community health clinics, advocacy, managed care facilities, government agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry for their practicum placement.

Program Components

• A total of 12 credits is needed to complete the Certificate in Health Care Administration.
• The program is available only to MBA students matriculated in the SOM, or SOM graduates.
• Six HCA credits are accrued during the final spring and summer sessions of the MBA program. An additional six HCA credits, including a practicum, are accrued after MBA graduation in the fall semester.
• Selected electives are also available to supplement the course work.

Requisite and Pre-requisite Courses

SHS 450* – Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Health System (offered spring semester only) is a required course. Pre-requisites to SHS 450 are: SM 455 Leading Individuals and Groups, GSM 465 Organizations and their Environment, and GSM 470 Negotiation and Conflict Management.

* Students with extensive health care experience may substitute HCA 450 Independent Study for SHS 450.

Applying to the Program:

Applications must be submitted to the School for Health Studies by June 1. Applicants must have a 3.0 average in the MBA program and complete SHS 450 or HCA 450 with a grade of B+ or better. Students also should enroll in HC 507 for the summer semester. Applications are available online at xxxxxx.

After completing the above courses, as well as a two-credit elective at the SOM, students who are accepted to the Health Certificate Administration Program will graduate with an MBA degree. Students can complete the Certificate in the fall semester by taking a required practicum and a course in health industry markets and business models.

MBA/HCA Program at a Glance:
• Prepares women for leadership options in critical field of health care management
• Combines components of rigorous MBA program and nationally-accredited health care management program
• Incorporates real-world, 10-week practicum at exceptional health care organizations in the Greater Boston area
• Offers flexible full-time and part-time options
• Affords access to distinguished faculty who integrate practical experience with academic know-how

The Simmons 16-Month MBA ─
Giving You the Flexibility to Accelerate, Enhance, and Transform Your Career

You’re ready to take your career to the next level. Now you can with the Simmons
16-month MBA program. It’s flexible, fast paced, and customized to fit your needs.

With our rigorous program, you’ll get all the benefits of a traditional, full-time MBA program, including an opportunity to do an internship or study abroad, in a compressed amount of time ─ which means less time away from the workforce for you.

As with any demanding MBA course of study, our program focuses on developing the essential business and management skills so critical to succeed in today’s global workplace.
• Core skills needed to chart a path to leadership;
• Analytical skills to deal with complex management issues;
• Fundamental skills to learn how to leverage technology for strategic advantage.
But, at Simmons we offer something more.

The Simmons Difference
The Simmons program is the only program in the U.S. designed specifically to enhance career and leadership success for women.

Our graduates call the Simmons program transformational. Entrepreneur magazine calls it innovative. Business Week Online says it’s a model program for women with busy lives. The Aspen Institute*, The Princeton Review, and Fortune Small Business applaud us for our programs in corporate responsibility and entrepreneurship.

What else does the Simmons 16-month MBA program offer?

• A rigorous curriculum that uses the case study method pioneered by Harvard Business School;

• A hands-on approach to learning where students address real-life business challenges through internships and consulting projects;

• Access to life-long career advising, as well as an exceptional career placement record at some of the top companies and organizations in the world;

• A distinguished faculty who integrate practical experience with academic expertise;
• A state-of-the-art, green-designed academic facility to be completed in 2008;
• And cutting-edge research that underpins everything we do.
• If a faster pace is more your style, our 12-month program is also available for the seasoned business professional. Both the 16-month and 12-month programs require 48 credit hours ─ 40 in required courses, and eight in electives. Same courses. Same cost. Same curriculum.

A Program as Diverse as Our Student Base

Our students are a diverse, career-focused group. They are seasoned managers, as well as career changers who come from Fortune 500 corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. But their goals are the same: to acquire the skills, confidence, and connections to advance their careers to the next level or in a new direction.

The Simmons classroom experience addresses real-life business challenges and sets a tone of collaborative competition. Learning takes place through case discussions, team projects, and live presentations, and is supplemented by podcasts, hybrid courses, and compressed courses. This unique mix ensures a maximum learning experience that empowers students to excel inside as well as outside of the classroom, and, at the same time, earn a real return on their educational investment.

Connections To Advance Your Career

Connected. Networked. Engaged. They’re not just buzz words at the Simmons School of Management. They are key components that add up to a successful experience which begins in the classroom and continues throughout your career. We are more than proud of the remarkable, dynamic women who comprise our network. As well as the strategic partnerships we enjoy with them.

Our graduates hold powerful positions at leading-edge companies like Hewlett Packard, EMC, Proctor & Gamble, Pfizer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, State Street, Bank of America, and BlueCross.Blue Shield. And, they play an integral part in our day-to-day program as facilitators, speakers, and mentors ─ which means our students are able to form relationships that last long after their classroom work is done. It’s a powerful combination with implications that reach far beyond the campus.

The Added Dimension at Simmons

Not only does the Simmons MBA program prepare you for what is expected. We also prepare you for the unexpected ─ with training in negotiation, communication, career strategies, and something more: how to deal with issues particular to women. This component shows students how workplace interactions can shape their careers and leadership opportunities. It teaches them how to develop effective strategies within an organization, and helps them address the real-life challenges that exist in that workplace.

It is this added dimension that gives our graduates a leg up in today’s competitive global environment. And, it’s the extra edge they need to lead in today’s diverse workplace.


Attend an information session or participate in an informational interview ─ mention PINK ─ and receive a free, one-year subscription to PINK magazine. Visit www.simmons.edu/pink.
PINK magazine offers tools, tactics, and strategies to help women have a successful career and life. Along with annual events and a content-rich website, PINK is designed exclusively for today’s business women.

* The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue.

“I found the program to be rigorous and the professors demanding, and I was immediately able to apply what I was learning to my work at Gillette, which made my efforts worthwhile.”
Lolita Walker ’03 MBA, Operations Manager, Razor Value Stream, Proctor and Gamble

“You can continue to educate yourself on the newest topics in business, but at the end of the day, the relationships you make are one of the most valuable things you’ll get from your experience at Simmons.”
Jennifer Ellert Trzepacz ’00, Vice President of Human Resources, Electronic Arts

Program Options
• Accelerated 16-month program
• 12-month program for experienced professionals (special application required)
• Two and three year part-time programs
• MBA Certificates in Entrepreneurship and Health Care Administration.

We offer numerous courses, with a mix of daytime, evening, and weekend options.


A profile about local entrepreneur, Paige Arnof-Fenn Profile Printed in Spring 2007 edition of Simmons College School of Management Alumnae magazine, NETWORK

Entrepreneur-in-Residence: Paige Arnof-Fenn:
Making Mountains Out of “Mavens & Moguls”

If you ask Paige Arnof-Fenn ─ this year’s Entrepreneur in Residence and founder/CEO of Cambridge-based marketing strategy consulting firm, Mavens & Moguls ─ about her path to an entrepreneurial lifestyle, she’ll tell you it was a bit of a circuitous path but at each juncture the decision seemed like the right one at that time. In fact, the self-labeled “accidental entrepreneur” says her resume started out like someone being groomed as a Fortune 500 CEO, rather than someone headed in an entrepreneurial direction.

With stints early on at consumer giant Procter & Gamble, soda-pop conglomerate Coca Cola, and Wall Street via Morgan Stanley, Arnof-Fenn couldn’t have agreed more that she was destined for the corporate track. Indeed, she spent the better part of her early career at several traditional blue chip companies, getting trained in everything from market research and promotion, to advertising and sales. However after almost a decade in the corporate world, the marketing executive decided to take a detour and ended up at several start up companies.

Arnof-Fenn began her alternate career path as senior vice president of marketing at Launch.com, where she was a key member of the IPO team that later sold the Internet start-up to Yahoo. That venture was followed by a stay at Inc.com, where Arnof-Fenn promoted the company to business and media outlets and helped to drive its E-commerce sales before the company was sold to a division of Bertelsmann. Her last start-up experience was at Zipcar, where she was responsible for branding and corporate communications, and was instrumental in the company’s initial fundraising efforts.

An Olympic Moment: A Sidetrack to Success

Even before her foray into the world of start-ups and dotcoms, Arnof-Fenn sensed she was headed in a different direction. In 1994, the marketing maven left P&G to oversee a coin program to raise money for Olympic athletes. As general manager of the U.S. Department of Treasury/Olympic-sponsored project, Arnof-Fenn was in charge of The Gold and Silver Commemorative Coin Program, whose goal was to raise money for athletes in preparation for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Under her directorship the program sold over $100,000,000 worth of coins.

Was she crazy to jump off the blue chip track to pursue something a bit closer to her heart? In retrospect, she thinks not, although Arnof-Fenn admits she really didn’t think too much about the ramifications of her actions at the time. Rather, the budding entrepreneur was following a passion and a dream. “I didn’t think about the risk; I trusted my gut and wasn’t concerned about the resume value.”

The Stanford University graduate says she jumped at the chance not only to work within the Olympic and sports arena, but also to have the opportunity to build up an organization within a finite window. The scrappy entrepreneur admits the opportunity was not without risk, but qualifies it had a safety net, thanks to the backing of the U.S. government.

While at the helm of the coin program, Arnof-Fenn was immersed in all of the aspects of running a small company, from recruiting employees, to handling finances, to purchasing materials. As GM, Arnof-Fenn worked with a myriad of Olympic sponsors, as well as a variety of retailers to get the product into the stores and onto the shelves. She also had a chance to hone her global skills, as well, when called upon to visit foreign dignitaries like the King of Norway and speak on behalf of the program. In addition to learning a little about the inner workings of the U.S. Treasury Department, Arnof-Fenn says the position afforded her an opportunity to play at a much higher level.

In recognition of her team’s efforts, the coin program earned a Hammer Award, part of a competition initiated by then-Vice-President Al Gore, to recognize government employees who were able to think outside the box and reinvent federal programs.
“Because we were set up as a task force within the government, we were able to constantly challenge the system and come up with creative ways to sell the coins. For example, they had never thought to sell the coins through department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Wal-Mart,” says Arnof-Fenn.

When asked about important lessons learned along the way, Arnof-Fenn calls the move to the coin program a defining moment. Ironically, rather than sidetrack her from the corporate ladder, as many of her colleagues suggested, Arnof-Fenn says her experience at the Olympics was her foray into Coke, where she was hired soon after as assistant chief marketing officer. Thanks to the Olympic experience, Arnof-Fenn returned to the corporate world with a new perspective, which she says made her much more effective at Coke. And, she was able to leap frog to another plateau, versus staying in ‘lock step’ on the traditional corporate ladder. Arnof-Fenn doubts she would have been offered the Coke position had she stayed the course at P&G.

The Entrepreneurial Path: The Road Less Taken

So what exactly makes someone head in an entrepreneurial direction? Arnof-Fenn says she thinks it’s a variety of things, including attitude, and spirit — both of which “add up to your own unique take on the world.” She comments that those who are entrepreneurial by nature tend to enjoy what they do and have figured out how to turn that enjoyment into a business.

“You have to have a risk profile that allows you to take chances; to walk away from the steady pay check and the paid vacations. I didn’t know I had it in me. I honestly thought I would be a Fortune 500 CEO one day.”

Arnof-Fenn adds people who are entre or intrapreneurial wear a lot of different hats and are comfortable going with the flow. However, she does not regret for a second her experience in the corporate world nor the excellent training she received while working there. Having moved from a corporate to a start-up environment, Arnof-Fenn says she is much more appreciative of the investment made in her at the corporate level.

“I was very fortunate to have received excellent training and development early in my career. I attended ‘Procter & Gamble College’ and ‘Coca-Cola University’, where I was constantly being tested and given an opportunity to learn all the different components of the marketing mix.”

As Arnof-Fenn likes to say, if she got her MBA at Harvard, then she earned her “Ph.D.” at P&G, and her post-doc at Coke, where she learned from uber-mentor and marketing guru, Sergio Zyman. Zyman was the man behind the marketing of both “New Coke” and “Diet Coke.” As much as she loved her time in the start-up world, Arnof-Fenn knows she was lucky to have the backing of the big guys ─ as well as their corporate budgets ─ who could afford to train her.

“That’s where I learned the nuts and bolts. It’s the Fortune 500 companies that drill the basics into you. You might not always like the process, but in the end you do understand why they do what they do.”

The lessons learned at the corporate level also were invaluable to someone who was an incredible sponge. “But I was very impatient, always wanting to get to the next level. Now I can understand why it took the time it did; how all of those learning experiences have culminated to make me more effective in my job today. Without that basic training I wouldn’t be as successful today and might not have been ready to run my own company.”

Traditional Versus Transitional Beginnings: From Wall Street to Dotcoms
and More

So how did she make the transition from start ups to heading up her own marketing consulting firm? Arnof-Fenn says she was never looking to start her own company. In fact, her first job out of school was in the banking industry, like her father and grandfathers before her. However, after two intense years in the world of finance, Arnof-Fenn knew the fit wasn’t right and returned to school where she rebranded herself into a marketing person.

But, it wasn’t until after her stint at the Olympics that Arnof-Fenn suspected she just might not be the corporate animal she thought she was. That idea began to take shape during her stay at the start up firms where she says the stage was set for the entrepreneurial road ahead. Mavens & Moguls was born just after 9/11 while Arnof-Fenn was in the process of exiting her third start up. The entrepreneur-in-waiting says she was the friend that everyone turned to when their marketing departments got cut.

“Friends and colleagues kept asking me what to do for a web site, a press release, a trade show. They didn’t know who to call because their departments didn’t exist anymore. So they called me. My intention was to help a few folks. I thought it was temporary. I knew great people who were available and interesting projects that needed to get done; I just started putting them together.”

Arnof-Fenn says at first the name of her firm was an inside joke. But after some preliminary research, Mavens & Moguls was the clear frontrunner and so the name stuck. In retrospect she says perhaps it’s no a surprise that the name tested the strongest. “The point with successful marketing is to break through the clutter. In actuality ‘Mavens & Moguls’ represented a unique brand that people could remember.”

Mavens & Moguls: Born Out of Necessity

Today, her multi-million dollar company has grown every year. The Harvard B-School grad adds that part of the success of Mavens & Moguls ─ at least financially ─ is due to the fact that the company has a low overhead because of its virtual nature. Mavens & Moguls consists of about four-dozen individual contractors. Some work sporadically for the firm and others more consistently year round. But they all have one thing in common: their expertise. Each of the contractors is seasoned and has 20-plus years of marketing savvy under their belt. “Mavens & Moguls is not a traditional consulting model where the senior person sells to the client and then lets the junior exec take over.”

Although Arnof-Fenn insists she never planned to build a huge business, she admits that the company’s growth is a good thing and one that she thinks is happening because the group has fun doing what they are doing. Also, because they are good at what they do and the market recognizes that.

“I always wanted to build a brand. My company has given me a platform from which to do the interesting things that I enjoy doing. The business falls out of that. And therein lies the secret: if you do what you love, what you are passionate about, success will follow.”

Being in charge of her own company gives Arnof-Fenn the autonomy and flexibility she loves, as well as “the opportunity to test my metal every day.” Also important is the idea that she is really able to make a mark on the brands on which she works. “As much as I loved working at P&G and Coke, those brands have been around for decades and, in the end, if I got hit by a bus one day, someone else would replace me immediately. The brand would go on without me.”

That wasn’t the case at the start-up companies. “They were all new brands when I started and a lot of the critical key marketing decisions – the look, feel, tone of the product ─ were made by me and my team. My thumbprint is on all of those companies. I have to think those brands would look a lot different today if I hadn’t been at the marketing helm and personally hired the teams I did.” Also, according to Arnof-Fenn, the start up experiences gave her the confidence to start her own company.

Five-plus years into her marketing consulting firm, does Arnof-Fenn miss the corporate world? Although she “never says never” about someday going back, the self-styled CEO admits there are only two things she truly misses about the corporate environment: the IT support and the corporate plane to which she had access at Coke!

Living ─ and Working ─ the Entrepreneurial Life

Was she a born entrepreneur? The marketing expert isn’t sure but looking back Arnof-Fenn can trace the steps along the way ─ being a little bit of a renegade, a little bit of a risk taker ─ that led her to where she is today, affording her the ability to move out of her comfort zone and start her own firm. She admits not everyone can or should do the same.

While Arnof-Fenn says she still gets CEO job offers from time to time, right now she would be hard pressed to come up with a scenario that would tempt her to leave this all behind. The entrepreneurial sector allows her to have a multi-faceted career and do things that she loves to do, such as public speaking engagements, penning a monthly column for Entrepreneur magazine, and sitting on a variety of Boards.

The Boards on which she now sits are clustered around education. Arnof-Fenn is currently a vice president on the Harvard Business School alumni board, was just elected vice chair of the Stanford University alumni board, and sits on the executive committee of the Sports Museum at the TD Banknorth Garden, whose mission is to build character in kids through sports. She is also a member of the entrepreneurship advisory board at the Simmons School of Management.

How does she fit it all in? Rather than sap her strength, Arnof-Fenn says her Board work is an energy multiplier. “My Board work gives me energy and time, rather than being a drain on me,” says the dynamo, who adds she has shifted her focus to those Boards on which she feels she can give the most and from which she can also get the most.

Following the Entrepreneurial Road: Signposts along the Way

Her advice for students considering an entrepreneurial path? “Focus on what you are great at because we live in a world where you’ve got to be great at something. It’s no longer OK to just be good. You need to find what you’re great at and focus on that. That’s an energy multiplier. Find creative ways to solve problems and then you’ll discover the business opportunity.”

She cautions that there are no shortcuts. “There may be a lot of detours, but you need to pay your dues. You need to learn the basics early in your career and invest in yourself. That will allow you to be open and able to take advantage of great opportunities as they present themselves down the road. Remember to trust your gut. If it doesn’t work out, what’s the worst that can happen? You can try something else.”

Arnof-Fenn says she is often questioned about the number of hours she works on a weekly basis. Her reply? “I’m always working. The wheels are always turning. But that’s part of the DNA of who I am. I think if you love what you do, then it is a part of who you are.”

Arnof-Fenn adds that “if you enjoy the journey everyday, it’s not about the ultimate destination, but rather, it’s about having fun on the way. That’s the secret to success. If you stick to your passions and figure out a way to turn those into a business, that’s when the magic happens.”

The Simmons Certificate in Entrepreneurship Program: Walking the Talk

Arnof-Fenn applauds the entrepreneurship programs at the SOM. “The fact that the SOM dedicates a Chair to entrepreneurship sends an amazing signal to the business community. Add to that the fact that the MBA Certificate in Entrepreneurship Program is now recognized by independent sources and media outlets as one of the top 20 programs in the country and the only program that focuses on women. Women are the entrepreneurial engine today, not just here in the United States, but all over the world,” says Arnof-Fenn.

Arnof-Fenn also applauds Simmons for its annual Leadership Conference, as well as the Silverman Business Plan Competition, initiated by Lois Silverman, founder of The Commonwealth Institute, and points to the very impressive alumnae base that is Simmons College.

“These women have the training, development, and confidence to succeed, and are able to channel those resources in productive and efficient ways. All of this helps to create an environment where people can thrive.” Most importantly, Arnof-Fenn says, their heads and hearts are in the right place.

The Simmons Program Knows How to “Connect the Dots”

But what exactly does Simmons do that is different from the other institutes of higher education?

Arnof-Fenn says Simmons is unique in that it has been able to ‘connect the dots’ in interesting and innovative ways; to mix traditional academicians with experts from the business world and leverage their varied experiences. “This School has been able to recognize there are people out there who might not have taken the traditional path to success. It has been able to attract those people, leverage their skills, and realize they have ideas that can be morphed into a more traditional academic track and, ultimately, into the classroom to inspire students of the next generation. That’s what makes Simmons so special. Oftentimes it takes a woman’s institution, perspective, and approach to be able to do that.”

Printed in Fall 2007

Roslyn Solomon Jaffe: SOM’s Earliest Entrepreneur
From a modest 500-square-foot storefront to 1,500-plus stores nationwide, the Dress Barn story is literally one of ‘rags to riches’ and one of the SOM’s earliest entrepreneur success stories.

The retail pioneer who earned these accolades is Roslyn Solomon Jaffe ’50UG, co-founder, director emeritus, secretary, and treasurer of Dress Barn, Inc., a leading national specialty apparel retailer. She is also a 2007-2008 SOM Entrepreneur-in-Residence and honorary trustee for Simmons College.

Jaffe says, “To succeed in an entrepreneurial business you need to have commitment and passion, and be willing to make work your life focus for a while.” Words spoken like the trailblazer that Jaffe is, and was, back in the early 60s when women were largely unrepresented in the workplace and women entrepreneurs were an anomaly, at best.

The Dress Barn Corporation: Humble Beginnings

A company that is arguably one of the fashion retail industry’s most successful growth stories, Dress Barn began in 1962 as a modest single store venture. The initial plan was to max out at 10 stores.

Jaffe smiles as she recalls the first store located in Stamford, CT. “We did everything wrong in terms of retail: we were off the main road, the dressing room was a bull pen with a curtain, and the parking lot was only big enough for two cars.”

However, Jaffe and husband EJ (Elliot Jaffe) knew they were on to something when their accountant encouraged them to go for it, and stores two and three became a reality. She says store number two was very different from the first one: it was located on a main road, had enough parking for 12 cars, and dressing rooms with doors.

Although the early days were risky they were also the most fun, according to the retail maven. Yet, it was not easy at first, says Jaffe, who adds that she didn’t meet with a lot of approval and not much support except from her immediate family. In the beginning, there were certainly challenges. From a business perspective, initially the challenge was to secure the necessary resources. Jaffe says the banks weren’t going to give money to a woman, so her husband stepped in.

“The banks didn’t want to talk to a woman. We had to prove ourselves and pay our bills immediately to establish credit,” she adds.

Recalling the first few years when she was alone at the helm, Jaffe admits it was tough, but adds that she was young, vigorous, and passionate about what she was doing. “It wasn’t work. I woke up in the morning ready to go. And, it was a chance to do something I really liked; to start something I really believed in.”

Making the Leap to Entrepreneur and Owner

What motivated Jaffe ─ who had been working in retail in New York city for five years ─ to decide to become her own boss? She says a lot of factors affected her decision:

It was the early 60s when women were coming out of the kitchen and entering the workforce. It was also a time when things were changing in the world of retail. Discounting was appealing, although the majority of discount stores dealt in hard goods, such as kitchen appliances. Back then, the fashion sector was comprised of department and low-end stores. Discount fashion stores were non-existent, but the country was moving in that direction and the Jaffes saw a niche to fill.

“It wasn’t just an idea. We knew it was better than an idea. We were convinced of it.” So much so that Ros and EJ plowed all of their savings into the venture.

Today, the couple jokes about Ros’s famous last words to EJ: “You keep your day job and I’ll start the company.” For a while, he did. Then, a year later, her husband left his position as merchandise manager at Macy’s and the two embarked on a journey that has resulted in the small empire it is today, encompassing 1,500 stores, with no end in sight.

A Business Woman Breaks the Mold

Where did Jaffe’s drive come from? Like some before her, the need to get out of a small town was part of the equation. The big city lights beckoned, so, with a degree from the Prince Program in Retail Management firmly in hand, she headed for Manhattan and never looked back, often working two jobs at a time to pay the rent. “And buy clothes,” she quips.

Soon after, Jaffe learned how to juggle family and work. She describes her married-with-children lifestyle in blocks of time defined by the kids’ ages. “There were the 1-3-5 years, and the 2-4-6 years. But it wasn’t until the 3-5-7 years that we decided to open the initial storefront.”

Jaffe says things were a bit different back then because working parents didn’t have the infrastructure they have today: play groups, after school activities, and the like. Also, she adds, today it’s much more acceptable for women to work. However, the store and office were only seven minutes from the house so, logistically, it worked.

Calculated Risks Lead to Company Growth

Over the years, the company has achieved many milestones, one of the most significant being when they went public in 1983 and began trading on the NASDAQ. Jaffe is immensely proud of the fact that her name is on the stock certificate. “That was just not done back then. Our investors were not happy about it, but EJ and I prevailed.” Another milestone occurred in 2005 with the purchase of the Maurice chain ─ 400 storefronts located primarily in the mid west.

Since its humble beginnings, the original set up of the company has changed, too. Today, company headquarters are located in a state-of-the-art support and distribution center the size of 10 football fields, located in Suffern, New York. Now, huge components comprise the company’s infrastructure, including a marketing department, automated testing facilities, and agencies with which management works closely to inspect all of the merchandise.

Along with these changes came another transformation several years ago when the company transitioned from its roots as an off-price discounter to a private label brand. “Today, we’re not about discount; we’re about value. We have our own brand of fashion goods,” says Jaffe.

How did they grow from three stores to the current number? Jaffe says many things influenced their growth, not the least of which was the fact that the market was changing. The Jaffes realized to be competitive they needed to go overseas to buy the merchandise.

“The handwriting was on the wall: more stores meant better buying and more people. In retail, if you’re not ahead, you’re behind. We were fortunate that we were a little ahead of our time. It’s always been a race not just to catch up, but to stay ahead.”

Jaffe admits a lot has changed between their early buying days in New York and New Jersey and their first buying trips to Hong Kong. She credits two companies in Asia, with whom they have worked for 25 years, in helping the company make the transition.

“We have a very strong relationship with our ‘middle men’ although our buyers still go overseas several times a year, to both Europe and Asia Technology makes it happen quickly, but it is this relationship that we’ve maintained throughout the years that makes it special.”

Still, even today it’s a bit of a gamble, says Jaffe who has lived through her share of surplus merchandise like other retailers. “The industry is seasonal and a lot depends on the skill of the buyer. We need to find out what’s selling in our stores as well as other stores, and also find out what went wrong and who did better.” And, the retail doyenne, who defines the company’s business model as a conservative one, says the risks they’ve taken have always been well thought through.

The Brand Reflects Customer Needs

Although their mantra remains the same ─ to work as a team and act as a family, helping, supporting, and encouraging one another to make a difference ─ their branding has evolved to better reflect the needs of their current customers.

Jaffe explains, “Now, we speak with a softer voice. Our advertising color is blush instead of the original red. But, we still provide quality, style, and value in fashion options that meet the needs of our customers’ busy lives. Our brand is confident, feminine, stylish, and contemporary. And, as always, a key differentiator is our exceptional service.”

When describing the brand, Jaffe comments that Dress Barn has always had a conservative edge. “We’ve always been flexible and ready for change, but have maintained a conservative edge. We don’t go overboard in style, colors, or our advertising. I don’t want to see something in the store that is not appropriate for our look or our customer.”

Then, how was Dress Barn able to differentiate itself from the Macys of the retail world?

“We knew who we were. We watched the trends of the market and we watched the consumer. The consumer was changing, the market was changing. We had a chance to change, too.”

Although they kept the name and the branding associated with it, in 1965 Dress Barn realized it needed to sell more than just dresses, so it expanded its merchandise line to carry shirts, pants, and jackets. At one point, says Jaffe, Dress Barn was known as ‘the interview suit store’ ─ the place where women went to purchase that all-important interview suit.

The Dynamics of Working with Family Members

Dress Barn is and always has been a company that is distinguished by its family involvement. Although the company went public in the 80s, two of the three Jaffe children are still very involved in the management end of the business. Her youngest son, David, is president and CEO, and daughter Elise is vice president of real estate.

When asked if she has any words of wisdom for working with family members, Jaffe responds with a resounding “NO.” The retail matriarch explains that she and EJ never worked together except when they were scouting store site locations. She adds that her husband was in the operations and overview end of the business while she was in the merchandising end. Through the years, Jaffe says that set-up has worked quite well. Likewise, she says they never encouraged the kids to join the business, although it was part of the family culture and dynamics when the children were growing up.

Her daughter was the first to join the ranks, but it wasn’t an easy sell, says Jaffe. “Elise was working in real estate in Boston and didn’t take the Dress Barn job immediately. When she finally agreed, we were delighted. She has really done an outstanding job for the past 25 years,” says the proud mom, who boasts that the VP opened 100 stores in one year, a tremendous accomplishment for even the most seasoned of retail executives.

Prior to joining the business, son David spent seven years on Wall Street in the area of mergers and acquisitions, a background that came in handy during the recent Maurice deal.

Success is about Filling a Niche

For a company who has a loyal customer base that has been with them in some cases for 40 years, what is the secret of their success? Their success is due to many factors, says Jaffe. Most importantly, they know their customers and have evolved with them.

“We’ve always been able to fill a void, a niche, but we’ve evolved over the years because the niche has changed and we have been flexible enough to evolve with the consumer and the times. So, we’re still here,” declares Jaffe who opened Dress Barn Woman for plus-size women to accommodate the changing needs of the customer.

Also, they have remained flexible and open to growth opportunities, such as the purchase of the Maurice brand. “We waited a long time for this merger. There was a real synergy with the Maurice brand, stores, and executives. It has been so right and has worked so quickly.” Maurice stores target the teen market, a consumer group not previously addressed by the Dress Barn brand.

Another important factor in their success is the use of technology. Jaffe talks about tracking their customers, and remembers when everything was done by hand with color-coded tickets. Today, she says their inventory tracking is so advanced that they know the size, color, and style of each and every sale, adding that Dress Barn was one of the first in the industry to embrace computers and technology.

She also applauds the efforts of the next generation of management who have helped to keep the Dress Barn brand in the lead because they know how to move with the consumer. “Executives in my era could not have done what the company has done in the last 10 years. Their finger is on the pulse,” says Jaffe.

Employees Play a Large Part in Success Story

When Jaffe speaks about the success of the company she also gives credit to the employees, 98 percent of whom are women. In fact, a large portion of their employees are single mothers. “We care about the women who work for us and understand their concerns with balancing work and family. We take pride in saying that we try to help them balance.”

Today, as in the past, employees must meet certain company criteria. “Our employees need to like working with people and they need to want to service our customers,” says Jaffe, who adds that her employees have to be willing to do whatever she is willing to do. “I’m the owner of the company and if I can do it, so can you. I think I brought this ‘can do’ culture to the company, which still exists, today.”

Diversity and health benefits are a big draw for Dress Barn employees. Jaffe says from the get-go she was adamant about adopting the best health benefits and always considered what was best for their employees. She mentions the Sunshine Fund, a program that helps employee families in need. The company supports a scholarship fund for children of employees.

Another benefit is the employee stock option program. Jaffe agrees that equity in the company and a sense of ownership is an important way to retain employees. People holding middle management positions and up are eligible for stock options.

In addition, Dress Barn is a big supporter of the Relay for Life campaign, and, to date, has donated more than $3.5 million to the cause. Another charity it supports is National Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged women and men transition to the office workplace. And, in 2005, the Jaffes established the Roslyn Solomon Jaffe Chair in Strategy at the SOM to help “open doors and new possibilities here and abroad for students and faculty.” And, in recent years, Jaffe has worked diligently with the School to help support the accreditation process currently underway at the SOM.

Lessons Learned Through the Decades

Over the years, one of the lessons Jaffe says she has learned about management in general and retail management in particular is that a soft voice does a lot. “I learned that you can be kind and businesslike and still succeed. You can be professional and not too busy for people.” Another lesson she’s learned is to know when to step back and to do so when you need to.

Any words of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs? Jaffe repeats: “You need to be driven, committed, have a passion for what you’re doing, and be ready to change your life style for awhile. Otherwise, forget it.”


A brochure written for Springfield College, a liberal arts college located in Western Massachusetts

For years, decades, and over a century, Springfield College has been recognized as a small institution with a worldwide reach. Indeed, the impact of spirit, mind, and body has been nothing if not global. As a result, sometimes we forget about the impact of the College at the local level  how the philosophy that defines the institution also helps shape and define the schools, corporations, organizations, and neighborhoods that surround the campus. But one thing is certain: whether we’re talking about Springfield College as an international institution or Springfield College as a good neighbor in the local community, working in partnership with the community has always been an important part of the picture.

To the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are Springfield College, this partnership is a serious matter. And one that is manifested through a variety of community service programs that have been developed and honed over the years. Sometimes the efforts are as straightforward as the DeBerry School Partnership, or as involved and intricate as the PROHILL Revitalization Project. In fact, through its outreach efforts, Springfield College collaborates on more than 35 formal programs, and at least as many informal initiatives. The impact is one that reaches far beyond the confines of the campus, into the lives and homes of our shared neighborhood. It’s an impact we know will continue to grow through the joint efforts of the college and the community beyond. This publication provides a small sampling of what we’ve accomplished together so far. And a glimpse of what we hope to accomplish going forward.

Achieving through Academic Endeavors

Partnership. It’s a powerful concept and one that is the cornerstone of all of our outreach efforts. (Efforts like the AmeriCorps Program, the Junior Achievement Program, or the 5A Program.) Working with neighborhood-based community organizations and the Springfield public school system, the achievement programs we conduct in concert with the community give local youth a chance to build their academic skills and, just as important, afford them growth opportunities they might not otherwise enjoy.


Created to address critical needs in education, health, public safety, and the environment, on a national level AmeriCorps helps more than 50,000 Americans in more than 2,000 non-profit organizations. In our neighborhood, the benefits are just as impressive. Each year, thirty graduate students coach and counsel children and their families, whether it be with schoolwork or emotional issues surrounding family life. Through this service, conducted at seven different sites in the area, including DeBerry, Brookings, Bridge Academy schools, and Providence Health System, 21st Community Learning Center, and the Martin Luther Kind Jr. Community Center --- each participating grad student provides 900 hours per academic year.

Junior Achievement

Since its inception more than eighty years ago, the Junior Achievement organization has been synonymous with the concepts of free enterprise, business, and economics. Indeed, its programs set the bar as the quintessential collaboration between business and education. Through hands-on opportunities, students learn about the economics of life, as well as the economics of business. Each semester, more than forty students from the College’s Department of Management and Economics are inspired and educated through this dynamic program and come to appreciate the values that define the business world. More importantly, the interaction between participating college students and public school youth, introduces them to the opportunities that await beyond the classroom doors to give back to their community. Opportunities they’ll be able to take advantage of when they become valued members of the workforce in the real world.

America Reads

Literacy awareness and reading are more than just buzzwords that define today’s educational landscape. At Springfield College, we appreciate the impact that can be made through a grassroots program like the America Reads Initiative. Building on the efforts of classroom teachers, librarians, and reading specialists, over 150 Springfield College students tutored children in more than 20 Springfield-area agencies and public schools, enriching the academic lives of the kids, while promoting the benefits of reading. Not only is the program a ‘win’ for the children, it also becomes a valuable learning experience and cultural exchange for the Springfield College students who often are exposed to perspectives that differ from their own.

DeBerry School Partnership

As a business partner in a collaborative effort between DeBerry Elementary School, (in the Old Hill neighborhood, just a few hundred yards from campus), the greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and the Springfield School Volunteers, Springfield College is particularly proud of this program’s longevity. And especially pleased at the results: for the past eleven years, hundreds of Springfield College students and employees have learned from and taught to students and staff at DeBerry. As tutors and mentors, or through internship and student teaching programs, the students are committed and the experiences are varied. Whether it’s to tutor a child with a math problem or work creatively on an art project, Springfield College students are there to help. Faculty members help, too, by providing professional development skills or resources to assist with school needs. It’s a relationship that enriches both partners and one we’re sure will continue well into the future.

5-A Program

What does the ‘A’ stand for? If you’re referring to the 5-A Program, then ‘A’ stands for Academic, Arts, Athletic, and Achievement Association. It also stands for an astronomical effort on the part of the Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs. The Multicultural Affairs staff coordinates the involvement of more than twenty students and staff each year who tutor, mentor, and assist children in this dynamic program. The goal? To inspire and encourage young folks to achieve the best they can. We think they all deserve ‘A’ for an outstanding effort.

Engaging the Community Through Academic Programs

We take the development of our students as leaders in service to humanity seriously. Indeed, it’s the foundation on which this college was built. Further solidifying that foundation is our commitment to work in partnership with those around us, providing activities that meet the expressed needs of the community, while being combined with the academic coursework of our students. This may be in the form of a service-learning component, fieldwork, or internship experience. We know these efforts have increased significantly in the last five years. And we anticipate they’ll grow even more during the next five years. We expect nothing less. Neither should you.

Basketball Hall of Fame

As the birthplace of basketball and the former stomping grounds of James Naismith  the inventor of the game  Springfield College is certainly well suited to be a partner with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The efforts of our students and employees assist the Hall of Fame with many activities, but in particular, support two keystone events: the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend and the High School Invitational Basketball Tournament. The talents and expertise of students, faculty, and staff from the Department of Sports Management and Recreation are put to good use as they collaborate in the planning and implementation of these two major events. More than 500 student-athletes participated in this year’s one-on-one action as 5,000 spectators watched their efforts during 18 games played over a three-day period.


Springfield College and the YMCA. It’s a connection that dates back to the early days when Springfield College was known as the International YMCA Training School. Today, that connection is stronger than ever. One component of that connection is the on-campus YMCA Club. Through the Club’s activities, students can participate in professional development training, volunteer at local and regional YMCAs, or help out through community service activities. For more than 100 years, through practical application the two institutions have demonstrated the Humanics philosophy in action. Today, they are still working together to make sure the philosophy that started it all remains strong.

Marketing in the Real World

At Springfield College, students from marketing courses demonstrate marketing with a slightly different twist. As with other service-learning efforts, student participants have an opportunity to develop marketing plans and deal with real issues confronting those in community-based organizations. What’s different here is our more altruistic focus. The goal? Ensuring that these students leave the experience having made a difference in the local community. To that end, the program taps not-for-profit groups and small, fledgling businesses like the Child and Family Services Organization, the Pioneer Valley Therapeutic Riding Association, and Herbs Unlimited, to name a few. In addition to helping with basic marketing plans, Springfield College students also coordinate a Business Symposium Career Fair. The effort has been so successful, there’s actually a waiting list for next year. Perhaps you should get in line.

Working Together for Community and Neighborhood Development

Each year, thousands of members of the Springfield College family are involved in activities and programs that benefit our shared neighborhood. As an institution of higher education, we’re committed to working together in these endeavors and we’re confident our efforts will result in a stronger, more vibrant, revitalized community that can be enjoyed and appreciated by all.

Partnership for the Renewal of Old Hill (PROHILL)

PROHILL. It’s a shared vision that’s soon to become a shared reality. It’s also one of the most ambitious collaborative community efforts, to date, in the history of the college. As well as an unprecedented effort that utilizes the combined talents and resources of each of the participating organizations: the City of Springfield, the Urban League of Springfield, and the Old Hill Neighborhood Council.
The vision includes nothing short of a renaissance for the area known as Old Hill  with parks, educational resources, and new or rehabilitated housing, as well as more student/mentor programs, new recreational facilities, and academic and scholarship opportunities for residents. Along with its community partners, Springfield College is committed to the effort both philosophically and institutionally. All of which translates into an improved quality of life for local families and a solid future for neighborhood youth. The end result? A solution that will transform the local community into a model neighborhood for living, learning, and working.

Neighborhood Tricks and Treats

Everyone joins in the fun come October 31 when Springfield College students and residence hall staff host neighborhood kids in Halloween activities held throughout the college dorms. This fall, more than 700 ghouls and goblins donned costumes and enjoyed the haunting experience for the seventh year in a row. Trick or Treat anyone?

Employee Assistance Program

In these difficult economic times home ownership can be next to impossible for many young adults. But thanks to an incentive program to help full-time employees purchase housing in the neighborhoods surrounding the College, home buying just got a little easier. The assistance program, coordinated through the Office of Human Resources and conducted by Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, includes credit counseling and matching down-payment plans. The benefit is two-fold: not only do employees get an opportunity they might not otherwise have, but their purchase also supports the revitalization effort underway in our shared neighborhood.

Humanics in Action Day

Humanics in Action Day is truly a concrete demonstration of the College’s founding philosophy: the education of the whole person in spirit, mind, and body, for leadership in service to humanity. And what a difference a day makes. Last year, in just twenty-four hours, more than 85 service projects were completed throughout the community, from cleaning vacant lots, to painting fences, to visiting nursing homes, to serving food at soup kitchens. Indeed, it was a day where many wish-list needs were answered and students were able to supplement classroom learning with hands-on experiences. Humanics in Action Day was initiated in 1998 by student leaders, administrative staff, and that year’s Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics, Dr. Peter Polito, who wanted to reinforce lost traditions. As far back as 1918, there is evidence of work day efforts that involved the entire student and employee population. Witnessing what 2,500 students, faulty, and staff, in addition to 12 Alumni chapters across the country, can accomplish when they join together is truly inspiring. And so are the efforts that result when the philosophy that defines the college becomes a reality.

Sun-Earth Connection: A NASA Workshop for Pre-service Teachers

Springfield College students may not be the first to parlay a college program into a trip to the moon, but they are the first students in the country to participate in the NASA Living With a Star/Sun-Earth Connection Project. An innovative program targeted to motivate future science teachers, the workshop provides science-related teaching tools for 24 participating students. Tools like a graphic calculator, techniques for making slides of fungus, or ways to study the relationship between the sun and earth. The ultimate goal? ‘To prepare the next generation of explorers as only NASA can.’

At Springfield College, we know that nurturing the artistic needs of individuals is just as important as developing their physical needs. That’s why we’re passionate about expanding the College’s fine arts programs beyond the classroom into the community where they can be enjoyed by our neighbors as well as our students, faculty, and staff.

William Simpson Fine Arts Series

Film festivals, dance concerts, art exhibits, and authors’ readings. Not bad for a college that in many circles is know primarily for its athletic achievements. But make no mistake, the arts are alive and well at Springfield College through the efforts of the William Simpson Fine Arts Series. Named in honor of a beloved faculty member who retired in 1953, the series has been around since 19--. Programs include performances by on-campus groups such as the SC Singers and SC Dancers, as well as outside professional troupes like one whose production of “Unforgettable: The Nat King Cole Story” opened on campus following a hit run in London. Master classes and guest artists round out the myriad of artistic programs available to all. The ultimate goal of the Simpson Fine Arts Series  beyond expanding the minds, outlooks, and horizons of SC students  is to enhance and enrich the cultural environment throughout the Pioneer Valley.

Web Development for the YMCA

The YMCA and Springfield College have been connected since their respective beginnings. So, helping the Y stay connected in today’s Internet-savvy world is an obvious next step. To that end, students in the graphics arts program are working hand-in-hand with YMCAs across the region to develop and design innovative web sites that will help YMCAs reach a broader audience. Through the years the Y has helped Springfield College extend its borders. Now, we’re returning the favor. For YMCAs, reaching out has always been a necessity. And, today, it’s never been easier.

A4E Program

Budget cuts are a fact of life in today’s economy and often it’s the student who suffers. Coming to the rescue are efforts like Arts For Everyone (A4E), a program that uses art as a stepping stone to help develop dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and visualization skills, while at the same time promoting self esteem, problem solving, and creative expression. Through this collaborative effort between the Springfield Public Schools, DeBerry School, the Dunbar Community Center, visual artist Robert Masla, and Springfield College, Springfield College students are working with 25 DeBerry School students to design and create a mural entitled “Content and Context -- The Self and the World Around Us”. A 20-week project slated for completion in June 2004, the mural will be completed at the Dunbar Community Center. Another component of the program that helps close budget-cut gaps targets the classroom teacher, providing professional training via lectures, workshops, and hands-on activities to use across the curriculum  all tools that will continue to inspire creativity through art and have a lasting impact long after the mural is done.

Involvement Through Athletics

There’s a reason Springfield College is well known and respected for its athletics. It’s called leadership. Each of our 28 athletic teams take an active leadership role in the community to promote leadership and character development through sport. Through these efforts the dedicated coaching staff and student-athletes put their talents, training, and team spirit to use by supporting numerous community activities throughout the year and around the town.

Just Say YES: Field Hockey Youth Education Through Sport Clinic

They came from Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts to say YES to field hockey. In conjunction with the NCAA Division III National Field Hockey Championship Games, more than 200 girls and boys, ages 10 to 18, joined nationally-known coaching legend, field hockey coach Dottie Zenaty and her staff to learn the basics of field hockey, sport competition, and strength and conditioning. But that wasn’t all they learned. In addition to one-on-one interactive team-building sessions, the participants also learned how playing sports can teach lessons about life. Parents who were on hand learned something, too. They heard from a panel of college officials and coaches about sportsmanship, college entrance requirements, and injury prevention.

Take a Kid to a Game (TAKG)

Take me out to the ball game. It’s an age-old way to connect with a kid and a program that’s had a nine-year run at Springfield College. A national grassroots effort designed to encourage adults to take children to college ball games, the TAKG program offers tickets to kids fourteen and under when accompanied by an adult. It’s a great way to show area youth the college campus, as well as give them a taste of its athletic programs. Peanuts and crackerjacks included.

Girls and Women in Sports Day

There was no lack of positive role models — or variety of sports  for the more than 130 girls, grades third through eighth, who attended the National Girls and Women in Sports Day, in February. The event hosted clinics in field hockey, lacrosse, rock climbing, softball, soccer, and volleyball. Just as important as learning the basics of the game, was hearing from positive role models like members of the New England Storm of the Women’s Professional Football League. Special ‘guests’ J.J. Jumper, the official basketball mascot of the NCAA, and Springfield College mascot Spirit, kept the ball rolling right into the lunch room and the Springfield College vs. Coast Guard Academy basketball game that followed.

Mass Mutual Classic

It’s a natural that Springfield College, the birthplace of basketball, should play a significant role in a national sporting event known as the Massachusetts Mutual Classic. For 25 years and counting, members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams and athletic department staff have volunteered to help make this event one of national caliber. In conjunction with the game, Springfield College is proud to sponsor the Hickock Awards Luncheon, named in honor of Ed Hickock, founding executive director of the Basketball Hall of Fame, an SC alumn, and esteemed basketball coach at the college from 19-- to 19--. Today, the luncheon recognizes the achievements of a native son or daughter who has made significant contributions to youth and high school sports. Hickock would be proud. And so are we.

Serving Beyond the Local Community

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Springfield College may be a small school, but its reach is big. Beyond the parameters of the 150-acre campus, the college impacts many with a reach that extends across cities, countries, nations, indeed, around the world. In the United States alone, the College’s School of Human Services has nine satellite campuses from Boston to California. Its relationship with programs and volunteer efforts in China, Brazil, and Mexico further emphasize the fact that Springfield College is more than a local college. Much more.

NFF Center

It’s a smart play when you can use the sports experience to help kids excel in other areas, too. Witness the joint venture: the National Football Foundation and Springfield CollegePlay it Smart Program, begun in 1998 with just four pilot schools. Today, its reach has expanded to 88 schools in 55 cities across 31 states. The program is supported by the National Football Foundation Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College, headquarted on the Springfield College campus. The center supports the Play it Smart Program through curriculum development, research, and training. The program pairs an academic coach and counselor with individual players or teams who work together to identify and reach academic and personal goals. The results? Not only high flying football scores, but also high scores for SAT, GPA, student graduation rates, and a significant increase in enrollment in higher education for many of the urban youth impacted by this program.

Trips to Faraway Lands

Whether developing a YMCA camp in Brazil, helping the homeless in New York City, feeding the hungry in Appalachia, or building a water filtration system in Mexico, the Trips to Faraway Lands Program is an effort that gives Springfield College students a chance to make a difference by helping those less fortunate. With guidance from faculty and administrators, students who participate in the intensive week-long service trips are often changed for life. It’s an eye-opening experience that is not soon forgotten by those on the giving end. And forever appreciated by those on the receiving end.

SHS and satellite sites

A reach that extends across countries, oceans, and continents, from China to Greece to Brazil. But let’s not forget that the Springfield College reach is extensive right here in the United States with its nine satellite campus sites located in Boston, Massachusetts, Inglewood, Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Wilmington, Delaware; Tampa, Florida; Manchester, New Hampshire; Charleston, South Carolina; St. Johnsbury, Vermont; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Opportunities for All

It’s been said that as human beings we’re all handicapped on some level, whether physically or emotionally. Through partnership efforts with the United States Sport and Wellness Center for Persons with Disabilities of Springfield College, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, and on-campus programs conducted by Springfield College professors, we strive to help those with disabilities function on a level playing field. Conducted in conjunction with the many partnering organizations and school systems, these joint efforts provide a variety of programs for individuals with disabilities. Programs like a wheelchair soccer league, an adaptive aquatics program, and the Saturday Program for the Visually Impaired. Undergrad and grad students lend their support – and learn at the same time – by participating in hands-on research efforts and coordinating recreational and educational activities.

Economic Impact

Certainly, from an educational standpoint, the impact of Springfield College on the surrounding community is significant. But, what’s oftentimes overlooked is the economic impact of a higher educational institution on its community. Here are some economic highlights from the past year.

• Springfield College is one of the largest employers in the area, employing more than 650 faculty and staff on the local campus and its nine School of Human Services campuses throughout the country.

• The annual college payroll is $33.9 million, with 96 percent of its full-time employees living in the greater Springfield area.

• All physical plant improvements  technological capabilities, renovations, and new facility construction  were performed by Springfield-area contractors, for a total of $5.1 million.

• This year, the college spent $30.6 million on non-salary items in the greater Springfield area.
• Through our scholarship efforts  in particular the Jesse Parks Scholarship Program dedicated to students of color in the city  on average, each year 248 local students receive some form of financial aid. In addition, as part of the effort, over the past five years, $665,333 was provided to Springfield area residents.
• Many community organizations use the college facilities free of charge in an effort to generate funds. This year, groups such as the Relay for Life, the Massachusetts Senior Games, and Special Olympics, hosted events on our campus. The use of our facilities enabled the American Cancer Society to raise a total of $300,000 for their organization.

• On many occasions and when appropriate, the College shares its facilities, free of charge, with community-based organizations, schools, and partners. The cost of the fee waived, in actual dollars, is valued at more than $225,000 per year.
• On an annual basis, Springfield College spends $63.6* million, which translates into a total economic impact of $133.6 million in the community.
*Using the US Department of Commerce 2.l regional multiplier.
• Through internship programs, student teaching, and practicum placements, more than 700 students support the educational community infrastructure at an estimated value of over $3,000,000 on an annual basis.
• In terms of grant monies received by the college for collaborative programs with partnering organizations from the local community, the economic impact is in excess of $2,400,000.

Power of Internships

• Internship programs are the best way to put practice into action. As part of their academic studies, every year 1,000 students spend an average of 450 hours each, completing student teaching or practicum experiences in the community. The numbers are impressive. And, a concrete way for students to improve their own professional development training while, at the same time, meeting the needs of hundreds of businesses, non-profit organizations, school systems, and governmental agencies.
• When it comes to work-study funding for community-related programs, Springfield College goes above and beyond. Springfield College earmarks 25 percent of its work-study funding for the community, which is significantly higher than the five percent mandated by the federal government. In fact, Springfield College ranked 12th nationally among private colleges in allocating federal work-study funding for use in community service placements in 2002.
Isabel Allende:
Living Through Tears with Laughter

Those of us familiar with the writings of Isabel Allende, the world-renowned author of such profound works as The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, and Paula, were not surprised to hear her speak about how catastrophic events ─ the death of a daughter, the suspected assassination of an uncle, and exile from her own country ─ have shaped her life and influenced her writings. However, many were surprised that Allende has been able to maintain a sense of wit and humor in spite of what she has been through. During her remarks at the Leadership Conference, the internationally-acclaimed author had the audience laughing as well as crying as she shared glimpses into a life that was at times dazzling and at others devastating.

Sharing the Olympic Stage

Although she has written numerous books – both fiction and non – in the past 23 years, Allende insisted she was an unknown until she shared four minutes of fame as a flag bearer at the Olympic Game ceremonies earlier this year. “My grandchildren now think that I am cool,” said the diminutive author.

Allende received her first of many chuckles of the day from the audience when she shared a story about being dwarfed by her regal co-flag bearer, 50’s film star, Sophia Loren. “I walked behind the elegant Sophia, who is almost six feet tall even without her poufy hair. Of course all the cameras were on Sophia, gliding like a giraffe. At five feet two inches tall, I was hopping behind on my tiptoes trying to keep up.”

All kidding aside, Allende said the Olympic experience was truly an honor and spoke reverently about the others with whom she shared that honor: Somaly Mam, a spokeswoman for women and children who have been coerced into prostitution in Cambodia; Wangari Muta Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist and political activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace; and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and actress, Susan Sarandon.

A Daughter’s Death Affects Her Life

The former journalist, and author of such international best sellers as Eva Luna and Portrait in Sepia, also had numerous profound words of wisdom and stories to share with the audience. One of the many life-changing events that affected Allende deeply was the death of her daughter, Paula Frias, who died in 1992 at the age of 28, from an unusual blood disease known as porphyria. Allende said despite the grief and agony she experienced after her daughter’s death, she also found the pain of losing a loved one to be a cleansing experience.

Before she died, Allende’s daughter devoted her life to working with destitute women and children. Frias’s life work ─ and now the business of The Isabel Allende Foundation ─ was and is to empower women through education, reproductive rights, and economic independence. “This Foundation has reinforced my belief that it is through women we can make a difference in the world. But we need a critical number to tip the balance of power. Otherwise we are stuck in a quagmire of violence.”

Allende added that it is women who will bring feminine energy to the business table and said we need at least 50 percent at every level of management. “Women bring the resources of comfort, dialogue, and arbitration to the table, replacing those of aggression. Women want to preserve and enrich the quality of life for everybody, not only the privileged.” According to Allende this has already happened in Chile, where a woman president — Michelle Bachelet ─ has been elected for the first time. “A woman who is an agnostic, a socialist, and a single mother has been elected in the most Catholic and conservative nation in the world,” said Allende, who adds that Bachelet has already appointed woman to every level of the Cabinet.

Explaining the Connotations of Power

In the context of this year’s Leadership Conference, Allende spoke about the different connotations of power and empowerment and said what she fears most is power with impunity, and power to abuse and manipulate without accountability. “There is always abuse of power, not only in Chile but in other countries, too. Power with impunity chips away at an individual’s rights one by one. Soon you have lost a way of life that before you took for granted.”

Allende added that, as a writer, she is empowered by imagination and by the writer’s ability to influence and connect to others through the written word. Speaking of her writing life, Allende didn’t begin writing until she was 40 years old, and says she is only able to write about things and events related to her life, or “something about which I care for strongly.” Why then her latest novel, Zorro?

“I wrote this book because, as a 63-year-old grandmother, I feel I have a lot in common with this debonair hero.” She explained, “My fantasy is that, given the right circumstances, I could be like him: right the wrongs, expose the corrupt, and challenge the bullies. Deep in my heart I want to be like Zorro. I want to risk everything to make this a better almost perfect world. Arrogant? Yes, but if we do not imagine perfection how can we achieve it?” said the author who admits, in reality, her only weapons are the written word and a keyboard. Allende maintained that, for her, writing is about connecting. ”I keep the connection alive by writing. I want to connect. That is the point of my writing. In a sense it justifies and explains my life.”

Life-Changing Events Converge on a Date That Lives In Infamy

A bit superstitious, Allende always begins a new book on January 8. She said it’s a lucky date because it is the date on which she began to write The House of the Spirits, her blockbuster first-novel-turned-box-office-hit movie, starring Jeremy Irons, Winona Rider, Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, and Meryl Streep. Allende added that sticking with the January schedule gives her the discipline she needs to meet her writing deadlines.

Another date that is eerily significant in her life is September 11th. It is the day in 1973 of the military coup in Chile when her uncle, Salvador Allende, then president of Chile, was presumed assassinated. It is also, of course, the day that will live in infamy for the United States as the day of the Twin Towers tragedy.

Speaking about the more recent event, Allende said she felt something fundamentally changed for her that day. “For the first time I felt I belonged because I shared a feeling of vulnerability with the people of the United States. It is the day that the United States people awoke to the feeling of vulnerability; the idea that ‘it could happen to us.’ ” said Allende, who has always considered herself a foreigner whether residing in Chile, Venezuela, or Peru.

When asked if there is any value to being an outsider, Allende responded, “Once you have seen the world you have a better perspective of yourself, where you are, and the times in which you are living. I have lived through the Holocaust and The Cold War, and I don’t think it is worse today. All times are terrible. Reality is hard and violent, yet it seems that after every cycle, humanity has advanced a little.”