During His First Weeks in Office, Jessup Begins ‘Listening Tour’
A month into the first 100 days of his CGU presidency, Len Jessup is following a one-word strategy that was successful during his tenure at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Listen.
“You can have your own ideas about a place, but everything changes when you start talking to your community,” he said. “This is one of the most important things a new president can do. You have to listen. That is the key to any good leader.”
Since taking office on July 1, Jessup has been in the midst of “a listening tour” with the university’s various stakeholders (both internal and external) to identify the issues and priorities critical to CGU’s future.
Jessup and his partner Kristi Staab have opened up the President’s House on Harvard Avenue for an ongoing round of meetings with a broad segment of people crucial to the university’s future.
“We really feel at home here,” he said. “Having a chance to meet so many people has not only been necessary, it has been enjoyable, too.”
Some individuals meeting recently with the university’s 12th president include members of the Board of Trustees (Chair Tim Kirley, Beverly Ryder, and Don Baker, among others), the alumni community (Drucker’s Tom Hsieh), past CGU presidents (Robert Klitgaard), Claremont Colleges leadership (Pomona College President Gabi Starr and Honnold/Mudd Library Dean Kevin Mulroy), as well as local government officials and university faculty.
Jessup also participated in several summer university events, including the graduation ceremony for law enforcement officers who were involved in a special executive training program launched by the Drucker School in partnership with the California Police Chiefs Association. He also met with several Drucker supporters, particularly Zook Yee and Fred Tsao, to discuss the future of management education with them and Drucker Dean Jenny Darroch.
Claremont’s hometown newspaper, the Courier, introduced Jessup to the entire Claremont community in a front-page feature about his career and visions for CGU’s future.
Personalized outreach has always been a hallmark of Jessup’s management style. What also marks his style is a focus on building networks and reaching out to allies and partners beyond the university community. That is why Jessup has already become a member of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, a key organization of regional leaders focused on growth and advancing economic opportunities.
“I’m thrilled to join the L.A. Coalition,” he said. “CGU is a powerhouse university, and the L.A. basin is so important to us. I want our university to serve as an invaluable resource for them and other groups.”
In the weeks ahead, Jessup’s busy schedule of meetings will continue. He also hopes this fall to widen his outreach efforts with a trip to Asia to meet many of CGU’s alumni abroad.
Jessup’s fall calendar also will include another event to celebrate his arrival as CGU president. But Jessup is emphatic about not calling this event “an inauguration.”
“This is an exciting time for CGU, and I’m honored to be here, but I want that event to speak to our excitement about CGU,” he said. “I want everyone in our community–faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends–to realize the incredible opportunities ahead of us.”
More information on this fall celebration and other opportunities to meet the president will be coming soon.