November 10, 2003

Wagner, Mandl meet with community

By Michael Terrazas

Since the end of October and continuing into 2004, members of the Emory community will have the opportunity to personally shake hands and talk to two of Emory’s newest and highest ranking administrators.

President Jim Wagner and Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration, are holding a series of “open house” meetings both on the main campus and at locations such as Crawford Long and Grady hospitals, Oxford and the Carter Center. Organized by Human Resources, the events give two of Emory’s newest arrivals the chance to mingle with employees from all corners of the University. Every University employee should have received an invitation to the open house appropriate to his or her area.

“We’re doing 11 of these, and what’s important is to be available to the community,” Wagner said at an open house held Nov. 4 in Emory Hospital. “There are certain thoughts we want to get across, mostly about the draft Vision Statement.”

The Nov. 4 event took place in the hospital cafeteria from 6–8 p.m., during which time anyone—doctors, food service staff, nurses, patients—was free to enjoy cookies and punch and voice their opinions directly to Wagner and Mandl.

“[Wagner] asked me how everything was—and how much I make an hour,” said James George, who works in food and nutrition services at the hospital. “He walked up and introduced himself to me; I’ve worked here almost a year, and nobody has done that before.”

Indeed, neither the president nor the executive vice president waited for the community to come to them; both men sought out visitors they’d not yet met, and they talked not only about Emory but sometimes inquired how things were going on a more personal level for employees.

“These events have been really terrific,” Mandl said. “We get a chance to listen to what’s on people’s minds and share some thoughts that we have on what’s in store for Emory in the months and years ahead.”

Wagner said most of the open houses have featured some semi-formal remarks from both him and Mandl. The president outlines the broad principles of the draft Vision Statement and reassures his constituents that although there may be “a couple more years of lean times,” that won’t keep Emory from moving forward—though there may be some tough choices to make. He then hands the microphone off to Mandl to talk about what those choices might be.

“We can’t use economic constraints as a crutch to stop doing things,” said Mandl, adding that the creativity needed to find resources can come from anywhere and anyone. “Emory is highly decentralized and we’ve distributed an enormous amount of responsibility to all levels of the University, and everyone ought to take ownership of that responsibility. Some of the best ideas come from those who do the daily running of the University, because they can see the inefficiencies. You need those voices.”