Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year. I just returned from a trip to Burma, a country whose journey from isolation has begun in earnest. It is clear that the pro-democracy movement has taken hold and for the first time in many years, there is hope for reform.
What will it take for change in Burma? Nobel Peace Laureate and democracy advocate Aun San Suu Kyi said it best: “We have to be prepared to take risks.”
What will it take for continued change at Pace? As the New Year unfolds, I challenge each and every one of you to take a fresh look at the goals you’ve established for your department and for yourself, and to start thinking about taking some risk–not for the sake of risk, but for the sake of progress.
Many of the new initiatives here at Pace–both academically and administratively–involve calculated risk. We’re actively recruiting students in new markets, embarking on new programs to retain students, expanding our online and blended courses, revamping the Pleasantville and New York City campuses, and engaging alumni in new ways. Last week, we hosted the Summit on Resilience, bringing together nearly 300 leaders from the public and private sectors to examine effective disaster relief planning and response. Demonstrating Pace’s convening power, the conference attracted national and international figures, such as Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Ivan Seidenberg, Pace Trustee and retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of Verizon Communications. Hosting such a high-profile event might be considered a risk, but it was one well worth taking because the Pace Community has important leadership to offer in the area of national security. Take a look at the video from the conference.
Taking a risk can be scary, but it can be very rewarding. Intelligent risk-taking is valued and encouraged at Pace. What risks are you prepared to take this year?
Stephen J. Friedman