By Ashley Liadis ’02, ’05; School of Business
Interconnected. Socially engaged. Mission-driven. Internationally focused. New School of Business Dean Bill Gillett brings business and leadership experience to SNHU.
Gillett is the first School of Business dean selected from outside the university.
He comes to SNHU after providing legal counsel for 20 years, directing business development operations abroad and serving as president of RiverStone Resources. He sits on the boards of several regional and local organizations, including New Hampshire Public Radio, the International Institute of New England, Mount Saint Mary Academy, and the New Hampshire Writers’ Project.
How will you infuse your previous experience of working as a president of a for-profit business to nonprofit education?
In any leadership role, it is essential that the organization has clear goals and a shared mission that is appropriately aspirational. The ability to guide the organization towards those goals with a strong emphasis on the market – in our case, the students we serve – is as important in higher education as in the business world.
How will you integrate your tremendous involvement in the local and regional community with SNHU?
The small business community could decidedly use the talents of SNHU faculty and students to better understand their markets and find opportunities for growth. The local and regional companies that trade in international markets can similarly utilize the expertise within the SNHU community to better access those markets. In addition, there is a demonstrated need within the social business sector for specialized education and assistance in business processes and organization. SNHU can help with this and also bring organizations together. All of these initiatives should bring more opportunities for our students as well to get involved with local businesses in a variety of business sectors.
Do you see a relationship between business and the arts, culture and social causes?
Absolutely. While it is essential that businesses support the arts and those organizations that are dedicated to making our society stronger, more just and ultimately more successful, it is also important to recognize that business in a very broad sense is the science and pursuit of effective and dedicated organization. The groups and organizations that support the arts and social causes are within the broader business community and can benefit from the application of sound business practices. Also, of course, those organizations that make our community more livable and more just are making the business community stronger as well by making it easier to attract and retain good employees.
What do you believe is the role of higher education in business?
There are tremendous advantages for both business and business schools in developing partnerships and cooperative arrangements. Businesses benefit through being able to better shape educators and institutions in producing graduates who are ready to begin helping their new employers immediately. While the schools that best understand and adapt to the marketplace will have the most success placing graduates and preparing them for successful careers.
What do you believe business students should know/be able to do when they graduate?
Business school graduates must have basic competencies in accounting, finance, marketing and management that apply to all business and organizational endeavors, but also require a contextual understanding of the economies, markets and the world they will be entering. The abilities to communicate effectively, work on a team, and to be able to process and analyze data are also essential.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from your family?
There is no substitute for a supportive and loving family. If home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in, then make sure you want to go there and they want to take you in.
What might we find you doing when you’re not on campus?
Well, I’m building a cedar-strip canoe right now; something I’ve wanted to do for about 20 years and have finally gotten started.
Your dog’s name is Scout. Why Scout?
My wife and I were both reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” when we got our first dog. We’ve had two Scouts and a Boo.
You have four children ranging in age from 10 through 22. If we were to ask each of your children to describe you with one adjective, what would they say?
None of my kids would limit themselves to one adjective. They’re great people but don’t like to be constrained and they undoubtedly would surprise me with their responses. One of the most amazing things about parenting is how four children can grow up with the same parents in the same house and be so different.