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Which groups or activities were you most involved in at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?
My relationship with ASU began at age five, when my family moved to Tempe in 1955, and my father, Dan Devine, became the head football coach. I have been a Sun Devil at heart ever since.
My interrelationship with ASU has been deep and broad over the years – I participated in the first class of the Morrison Institute’s Urban Fellows program and served on several ASU-related advisory boards, including those for the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation, the Executive MBA Program in the W. P. Carey School of Business, and President Michael M. Crow’s Community Advisory Board.
However, the most impactful relationship has been with the Lodestar Center’s Public Allies Arizona program, which has worked with the School of Social Work’s American Indian program to give hundreds of student interns a pathway to employment at Native American Connections, the organization where I have worked for the past 35 years.
How did your education at ASU prepare you for your current job or business?
When I returned to ASU in 1997 for my MBA, I was already the CEO at Native American Connections, a thriving nonprofit business. My undergraduate degree was in Human and Social Services, but I was convinced that I needed the business and finance skills to grow the company and expand our scope of services within the community.
During my executive MBA program experience, I convinced my team to do many “real time” studies on improving a process or implementing a new strategy. I continue to use everything I learned, and the relationships that I developed helped grow the organization into one of the most sustainable nonprofits in Arizona.
How did ASU help you achieve your dream?
My relationship with ASU is a dream that keeps on living and changing over time.
In fall 2013, Native American Connections partnered with the ASU Healthcare Design Initiative within the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and I traveled to Australia with an interdisciplinary team of 17 ASU students studying architecture, landscape architecture, health care, exercise and wellness, and biomedical informatics. This team is currently designing a 60-bed culturally relevant healing and wellness center for Native American Connections that will open in the spring of 2016.
What are three “can’t-miss” ASU experiences every Sun Devil should participate in?
1. Cheering the Sun Devils to victory at the ASU-Notre Dame football game in Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 8, 2014!
2. Experiencing the breadth of ASU by visiting its four vastly different campuses.
3. Getting involved with the Changemaker Central as an alum and helping to support an ASU culture committed to student-driven social change.
What advice would you give to today’s ASU students?
With ASU’s focus on social engagement and embeddedness in the community, I encourage every student to get involved and make a difference. Identify a problem and use ASU’s resources and research capabilities to find solutions and affect change within the community.
And remember to stay connected to the university – the networking you do now can last a lifetime.