Muito Obrigado Querido Amigo…

By: Cathy L. Gallagher

In August of 2005, after working at PLNU for 2 years, I was recruited by Randy Ataide to join him as he began his work as the Director of the Fermanian Business Center.

Although I had met Randy, I did not know him well, had no idea why he would be recruiting me since I didn’t think he even knew who I was… (ask him to tell you that story sometime!)… and was a bit reluctant to “jump ship” to join a team of 1, other than myself.  It has been 8 ½ years since we began that journey together… a journey where I have never looked back and learned much along the way… We often joke that in those early days, after setting up our phones and computers, we waited for students to stop by and business professionals to return our call… but that only lasted about 2 weeks and the rest… as they say… is history.

It has been a pleasure and a joy working “with”… not… “for” Randy… as he affectionately reminded me many times over the years. We have been blessed with growth and now have a full time staff of 6, 2 part time staff (economist and analyst), 8 student employees (60 + student

employees over the years…), and several MBA researchers. Our staff are family… we love, admire, and care for each other deeply.

It is impossible to sum up these last 8+ years in a word or a phrase, or to simply say thank you… but rather a few things that come to mind…

Time Passages… a song by Al Stewart that I have always enjoyed… came to mind as I began to think through the years… the words of the song don’t necessarily all ring true, but it puts me in a state of mind of recollecting moments, events, milestones that we experienced along the way…

Invigorating * Exhausting * Exhilarating * Fun
Staff meetings… our work… the team… the growth… the ride.

Inspirational – Transformational * Motivational * Dedicated
These words are modeled in Randy’s teaching, management style, and leadership. Although I had been a teacher, manager, and leader in a past role and for most of my professional career, Randy has refined those skills in me, both in the classroom and in the office and I am ever thankful. It has also been a pleasure to watch him, and at times sit with him, with students, alums, young (and old) professionals, friends, and colleagues as he shares his mind, his expertise, his wisdom… It energizes, feeds, and sustains him in many ways…

Transition – a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another.

Although the work of the FBEI will continue, it is important for me to acknowledge the incredible work, outstanding leadership, dedication, vision, energy, and passion that Randy poured into his students, our staff, and the work of our Institute. We have been successful under his leadership and are fortunate to have his continued support and counsel as needed in the days ahead of the Institute, and perhaps even more fortunate are those new MBA students whose education and lives will be strengthened by his knowledge and expertise in the classroom.

Para me… Randy, my colleague, boss, teacher, advisor, and most importantly my friend, the investment that you have made in me over the last 8 ½ years as all of these, has made me a better person… personally and professionally… stronger, wiser, and ever appreciative. Your encouragement, affirmation, and support… (not to mention the size 10 EE shoe…) …has motivated and uplifted me through even the most challenging times, and left me in a much better place. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I would not be where I am without you.

The foundation for the work ahead is firm thanks to you, and I look forward to continuing the great work that we started and am ever so grateful to work with such an incredible team.

A wild ride indeed!
Muito Obrigado Querido Amigo… Thank you very much my dear friend.


Inspiring Greatness

By: Cathy Gallagher
IvanI recently read an article in Inc. Magazine entitled, “How to Inspire Greatness: Stop Leading”. It’s a great reminder to those of us in leadership positions or who aspire to be, to move beyond the stereotypical leader to one who inspires greatness by “giving control and creating leaders.” In my 30 years as a working professional I have been fortunate to work with a few men and women who exhibit that leadership style, the most recent one being former FSB Dean, Dr. Ivan Filby.

Today Randy and I have the pleasure of representing the Fermanian School of Business and PLNU at Ivan’s inauguration as the 12th President of Greenville College, in Greenville, Illinois. Randy is a guest speaker in the ceremony and I will be marching as a representative of PLNU in the processional of colleges and universities. When Ivan first shared his wonderful news with us several months ago, I must admit my heart sank and the word “wonderful” didn’t come to mind as I thought of what this meant to our team, the FSB, and to PLNU… but my moment of selfishness gave way to the knowledge and comfort of what he had done in his time with us…and I was excited at the great plans that The Lord had for his future. What an honor it is to share in the joy of this day, but not nearly the honor it has been to have known Ivan and to work under his leadership.

During his time as Dean of the FSB (12/13), Ivan inspired those around him on a daily basis. His charm, sense of humor, candor, sensitivity, and love for The Lord complement the “gift of erosion” that he freely admits to be perhaps his greatest gift. He touched those around him with his authentic nature and is one of those rare people who ask how you are and truly wants to know. Ivan’s daily visits to our office to say hi, to pray together, or just to talk and have coffee were welcomed and appreciated by Randy and me, and by our staff. The interest and energy that he poured into his work as well as in students, colleagues, peers, and business leaders in our community was genuine and endless.

Ivan was successful in many areas as our Dean, establishing new majors, implementing a 5th year MBA program, and creating long standing relationships in the community among other things…but his greatest success was not necessarily visible or tangible, but rather one that was felt deeply and personally to those who knew him well, it was his success in transforming those around him by empowering, affirming, and supporting with his words, actions, and advocacy.


            Thank you Ivan, for being so true to who you are, and for truly and deeply caring for those around you. The sacrifice that you all made to spend a year with us while Kathie, Sam, and Katie stayed in Illinois was great, and did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Your shoes will be difficult to fill but I am confident in our future as you left us in a much better place and with hope of continued growth and success…

… today my dear friend, may God be with you and your family in this joyful time of celebration. I am honored and thrilled to be a part of it. You have been an unbelievable blessing and gift to me and I look forward to a continued friendship with you and Kathie.

Thank you as well for being a transformational leader and inspiring me in many ways to do great things for and with our team and with those around me. Congratulations!! We are so very proud of you, love you, and wish you even greater success!

FBEI Commencement Farewell: Part 3 – The Long and Winding Road

By: Cathy Gallagher

8718228244_a86a10825e_zMay 4th, 2013, I thought the day would never come…  

Just a few days before, as I wrapped up my finals and traveled to SF for a 36 hour business trip ahead of our Friday night School of Business Commencement Reception, those bittersweet thoughts crept up on me as they do each year. Thoughts of the students I had grown so fond of, feeling the pride in all that they have accomplished… sadness of knowing that they are moving on to a new and exciting chapter of their life and the world that awaits them… thankful for whatever small role I may have had in their time at PLNU.

Then before I knew it, it was here… In keeping with past years, I arrived early that morning as the haze gave way to the bright morning sun to celebrate and support our graduating MBAs, 60 or so this year, many of whom I had gotten to know quite well. This year even more important as one of our staff, Dieter Mauerman, was among the MBAs. As I looked around me, I was a little surprised… and a bit sad that I didn’t know all of the faces… but those I did know had become near and dear to my heart. It was wonderful to be there to share in their excitement and to offer congratulations to a job well done!

I returned, as I always do, later that afternoon for the undergraduate ceremony… but this year was different as I wandered through the smiling faces looking for my own place in line, I was so happy to find it was next to James Garcia, one of our most valued student employees and only senior who we were losing this year. As I stood waiting, the laughter, smiles, and energy was contagious… it surrounded me in a new way this year… We stood together and waited patiently until they ushered us to the Greek and the ceremony began.

As I sat robed in my black cap and gown with several hundred undergraduate students half my age (…or less!!)  listening to the opening address, I heard, “welcome to the graduating class of 2013…”, and though I hadn’t given it a thought before, it suddenly dawned on me… after 8 ½ years as an undergraduate student I was preparing to walk across the stage of the Greek to accept my diploma 30 years after graduating from high school! It was done!

Students, who may be reading this, be encouraged that your day will come and know it is MUCH easier (and highly recommended by me!) at 20 than at 47 when a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, a job, and life are all vying for your time and energy…

There were many times throughout my nearly 9 years as a student that I was ready to throw in the towel, when I couldn’t see the light… not even a glimmer… at the end of the tunnel. Perseverance, hard work, and frustration, and the love, encouragement, and understanding from family, the institute staff, friends, and colleagues, as well as the encouragement, support, and occasional swift kick (10 ½ EE…) of my dear friend and advisor… yes, you guessed it, Randy, helped tremendously along the way. I honestly couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this very long chapter of my life’s book… I appreciate and love you all.

Image Credit: 2013 PLNU Commencement by Marcus Emerson