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A Letter from our New Director

Jen Traxler – Incoming Executive Director of the Robert D. Walter Center for Strategic Leadership
July 7, 2022

Honored. Grateful. Welcomed.

These three words are how I would best describe joining Ohio University as the Executive Director of the Robert D. Walter Center for Strategic Leadership. I am honored to be selected to lead the Center and the Select Leadership Development program, teach in the outstanding College of Business, and follow in the footsteps of my personal, lifelong friend and mentor, Tim Reynolds. I am grateful for the excellent opportunities I have had and the lasting relationships I have formed that led me to OU. Having met many of you already, I look forward to knowing each of you as we continue building the Center's tremendous success together.

I first caught what I refer to as "leadership-itus" (the undeniable desire to be a leader) when I was in middle school and have built a life around learning, teaching, and being a servant leader. My life passion is rooted in planting leadership seeds with young professionals and then watching them grow. To support the trajectory of their journey fills my heart with joy. One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Louis Stevenson, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."

To have the opportunity to share my passions, experiences, deep-seated love of being on campus, and helping to make a difference in others' lives, is my calling. That is why I am grateful for this opportunity.

As Tim and Tammy step back from their roles within the Walter Center, I want to say "Thank You" on behalf of all of us. Their legacy will extend well beyond each of us individually. I know this because they have been part of my life for over thirty years, and their influence on me tremendously impacts how I lead in service of others. I am confident this is true for all of you as well.

As the Walter Center closes its tenth year, I would like to share some highlights and successes. We held the 1st Annual Lancaster Speaker Series, thanks to the generous gift from the Lancaster Family. The event was live on campus with around 100 students, faculty, and guests. It was great to be back together in person for such a special occasion. Our student groups were also able to take networking trips once again, which allowed them to connect with alumni and make those critical connections for internship and job opportunities. 25 students will graduate with the HR certificate and 16 with the Strategic Leadership Certificate. The new Master of Science In Management currently has 51 students, with eight graduates. It's been a fantastic year, with lots of growth opportunities, and we are all excited to continue this work throughout the summer and into next year.

I am honored, grateful, and blessed to be already welcomed by so many of you – students, faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of the Walter Center. I look forward to being more involved in all Walter Center programs and events next year and seeing firsthand the difference this Center makes. As I transition into the new role and progress the vision for the Walter Center, I want to develop relationships and collaborate with all of you so we can write the next chapter of our journey…together.