By Ann Anderson
My twenty-three year career at SCC is quickly coming to a close. I managed to speed things up a bit by going out on permanent medical leave due to my kidney cancer but will officially retire on July 31. I don't believe that I've missed an article in our monthly newsletter during my tenure and felt the need to reflect on the changes that I believe have shaped our great institution and thank all of you for your support throughout my many years at SCC.
We are so blessed to be working in our state system. When I began my cancer journey in December, I had accumulated over 1900 hours of sick time and nearly 300 hours of vacation. My specialty pharmacy drugs are $1800, of which I have a $9 co-pay every 15 days. Be grateful for the wonderful benefits that are there for you when you need them. Retirement isn't looking too bad either!
I am an alumna, and I was hired under President John Votca with just my 2-year Marketing Education degree. That degree served me well for over 25 years. My SCC Supervisor, Dr. Cindi Thiedi encouraged me to pursue my Bachelor's degree and I remain extremely proud of my non-traditional effort to gain my Communications degree from Concordia University- St. Paul in 1998. It has been a pleasure serving three great college leaders in Presidents John Votca, Ken Mills and Keith Stover. I remain forever in their gratitude for their unending support for me personally and professionally and the special friendships created with their spouses and families.
My husband Bob and I never waited for retirement to do all the things on our 'bucket list'. I counted twenty-four major vacations that we have taken during the past seventeen years. Of special importance was the return trip with my adopted daughter Jessica to her birthplace in Talagante, Chile just four years ago. Don't put off those special vacations for a more convenient time...book today! We have plans for San Antonio, Texas in May and Alaska in July.
In my position as your marketing director, we've survived four name changes, a few logo color changes, a merger with Albert Lea, the merger with Faribault and the system change to MnSCU. Add to that a few accreditation visits and it made for a busy 20-plus years. Never in our history will we again be attempting that kind of change! I believe the highlight of my career was when we became a Comprehensive Community and Technical College and landed on a permanent college name! The most heartbreaking time for me remains the ASCME/MAPE strike which was complicated by my inexperience and lack of knowledge on how to deal with that crisis.
Here's a few of the important things that have helped me along the way:
My Team - I am so very proud of our Graphics and Copy Shop staff and the customer service that they deliver. Scott Rahe, Wallace Werling, and Jane Geiger, together with our awesome workstudy students, Cassandra, Mallorie and Emily, make for the best-of-the-best. They are so creative, hardworking, and dependable and have provided me the best work environment I can ever imagine. Nothing I ever did was done alone....it was always a team effort ....and they always did me proud!
Humor - Loosen up a bit. Nothing helps eliminate a little stress like a sense of humor. I especially need to poke fun at myself and not take work life too seriously.
Honestly - I've always told you the truth. If you wanted an opinion, I always had one! However, for all the times you may have witnessed my gale force truths about what needed to happen at the college, I wish I had been able to deliver the message with a lot more love and a little more empathy. This will remain 'my life work' to move toward telling the truth with love!
Trust - I felt like a referee for most of my career. Faribault versus North Mankato; Credit versus Non-Credit; Technical versus Liberal Arts; Online versus On-campus; and on and on! A little competition may be healthy, but for the most part, it seems counterproductive to the promotion of a magnificent one-college, multi-faceted institution like ours. We need to trust each other to ensure that the college's best interests and those of our students are being served. Great things are on the horizon for SCC (I can't wait to see what great things are headed to Faribault!) but we all need to be part of creating a unified one-college environment based on mutual trust.
Respect - Be kind to one another. I believe our greatest resource at SCC remains our human resources! Every employee brings various talents and skills to our work environment. We need to make use of those talents and promote a safe, secure workplace that is free from harassment, bullying and other forms of disrespect.
Lastly, believe it or not, I'm finding myself becoming "sainted". Yes me...."sainted"! Just due to my surgery, my 89-year old mother has wiped clean the slate and I can feel myself steadily rise in importance over my siblings. I don't want the same thing happening to my image at SCC! I ask that you remember me as your very opinionated marketing director who could slice bread with her tongue but who always and forever had the best interest of South Central College staff, faculty and students in mind.
Just so you know, I have been asked numerous times by our President to consider letting the college host a retirement celebration in my honor. Sorry, even for this tough old bird, it would be too emotionally difficult.
My life and career have been blessed in so many ways and I thank you for the special part you have played as a co-worker and friend. Special thanks to all of you that are picking up the slack during my absence. All my best...Annie