This fall, Renee Pacini, EMBA ’07, begins her tenure as the president of the Fox School of Business Alumni Association (FSBAA). The Fox Editorial Team caught up with Pacini to introduce her to the larger Fox School community.
Pacini shares how the FSBAA changed her personal and professional life, what her goals as president are for the upcoming school year and why she chooses to give back to the Fox School.
What did your Fox degree mean for your career?
It was the launch mechanism that moved me into leadership roles at the company where I was working at the time. Not having an undergraduate degree in business, I knew that I needed to be more well-rounded when it came to strategic thinking, financial planning, marketing and more. So I set out to get an MBA.
A colleague was in the Executive MBA program and spoke highly of his experience, so I explored a few schools and ultimately chose Temple. Halfway through my time in the program, I was promoted to a vice president role. In the years since then, I have relied on my education, the ongoing opportunity to learn from Fox professors, and other resources available at Fox.
What is your job title and functions?
Senior Director of Product Marketing at Anthology Inc. I am responsible for go-to market strategy, solution messaging, competitive positioning and whatever else my company needs in order to obtain and retain happy customers (who, by the way, are all higher education institutions).
How did you come to join FSBAA?
I started on the Executive MBA committee. One of my classmates was involved in that committee and tagged me to join as she was finishing up her term. After that, I never looked back, moving from the Executive MBA committee to the Fox Alumni Association Board. I saw it as a way to continue to give back to the place that really helped me transform my career.
How has the FSBAA impacted your career? Personal life?
FSBAA has been a source of inspiration and validation that the time I spent in school continues to benefit my career. I’m not alone in that thought; we all share it. I have been a part of a small group of talented, passionate people who often talk about the impact that Temple and Fox made in their lives. It is so inspiring to hear those stories. It fuels both my professional life and my personal life, knowing that in some small way, we are encouraging other alumni to become ambassadors of Fox. My company, Anthology has a tagline: “advancing knowledge” and I like to think that both my career and what we do at FSBAA are well-aligned.
It also ultimately comes full circle and hopefully encourages and mentors students to continue to pursue their passions and to give back when their time comes. The Board is diverse and so people from different backgrounds can stand up and encourage others. And I have found friends and a network that is incredibly valuable and cherished. Another impact to my personal life is that my youngest son listened to me talk about the great programs at FSBAA, and he ultimately decided to attend Fox himself. I will be able to welcome him to FSBAA as President in the last year of my term.
How has your experience been on the board in previous years?
Inspiring, motivating and a bit emotional. As I said earlier, I love hearing stories about how education changes lives. Our higher ed institutions are at the forefront of changing not just individual lives, but entire communities. There are very few places where that story resonates as loudly as at Temple. One of the things I really enjoy is hearing not just how Temple changed our board members, but how our board members want to give back and change the Temple community for the better. The ideas that we generate would keep us all busy as full-time employees! But like any good business team, we crafted a strategic plan, and we try very hard to stick to it. This year, we are forming a new committee, under the leadership of one of our returning board members, to focus on community engagement.
Can you talk a little bit about your goals as president? What are you looking to accomplish during your tenure?
When I decided to run for president, my answer looked very different. I envisioned building on the tenure of the presidents before me and in particular reaching back to the upperclassmen in Fox to continue to complete the circle. I’m very interested in making sure that current students feel the power of our alumni network as they leave their program so that it is a smooth transition. With the disruption over the past few months due to COVID and the frank discussions we are all having around individual bias and racism, our goals as a board have adjusted. So, like our business colleagues, we are pivoting to tackle the issues in the business community. I want us to be visible advocates for change, aligning with the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 where appropriate. I also want to up our game when it comes to engagement with that broader community. I see opportunities now that we are ‘all-virtual’ to reach more, and to hopefully have more interaction with the alumni community and bring those ideas back ‘on-campus’.
What are the primary benefits, in your opinion, of being a member of FSBAA? Have those benefits changed over the years?
Ongoing education and the power of the alumni network. I encourage everyone I talk to when you choose a program, or an institution, you are choosing the education and the desired outcome. The ability to stay connected to an institution like Temple, where the opportunity for professional development is ongoing is really important. Especially in times like this where the economy is in trouble, it’s important for all of us to continue to focus on our skills, and on maintaining relationships. Whether you need help, can give it, or both, I think that is a primary benefit. It’s a two-way street. One of the things we used to say in our family is “you get what you give.” So if you give back, whether it is in our mentoring program, or speaking to students, you always get back as much as you give. Being open to learning is a lifelong skill.