This week I had lunch with a Darden VIP that was passing through town who told a story about Scott Beardsley that I wanted to share. Before starting his new role as Dean and months before he moved to Charlottesville, he made it his mission to meet with every professor in person for at least an hour – and often times longer (I think Ed Freeman set the record). Week after week he traveled from Europe to Darden with the intent to do just one thing – before he did ‘any’ thing – and that was to listen. Sure, this is the Consultant 101 playbook but it was also driven by a genuine interest in developing relationships, building trust and setting the tone for openness. In the end, after dozens of flights and hundreds of hours of conversations, he personally met with all but three.
I wanted to pass that story along as context with the invitation to come meet Scott yourself. While we all love Chicago, in reality we’re a second tier city when it comes to the alumni density hierarchy. Ergo, outside of an annual prospective student event, we don’t see many folks from Darden making the trip (I’ve tried) and even fewer times when it is just us alumni in a private setting with a chance to glean new content from the top.
I have neither met nor do I know Scott, only knowing of him through the school’s various announcements. However, drawing from the story above I believe there is more to his visit than just banging the drum with a new cadence that outlines his vision forward. I also believe he is here to ask questions and listen to our ideas, thoughts, impressions, careers, industries, etc – just as he wanted to listen to every professor.
That said, I wanted to personally invite each of you to meet him yourself. About half of our 250 local alumni open these emails so I charge everyone to reach out to your fellow classmates to spread the word and – even better – join you. It could be a looooooooooong time before we have this opportunity again.
– D’08 Duke Best