Directorate Board Friday: Ben Lamb

Ben Lamb, President

Current Title and Institution: Assistant Director for Student Organizations and Involvement at Williams College

What do you do as the Assistant Director?
I oversee our recognized student organizations, our programming board, our student run business ventures, leadership programming, and am a collaborator on a number of larger projects such as our first year experience, sophomore year experience, our alternative spring break programming and a smattering of other pieces and parts.

What do you love about working at your current institution?
I love the diversity of my role, in that I wear a million different hats and at any given point a new challenge or opportunity may arise to be tackled or appreciated.

How did you get involved in the New England College Personnel Association (NECPA)?
I started off my involvement my first year in Grad School as a member of the Massachusetts College Personnel Association. I helped setup their conference in the wee hours of the morning and got hooked immediately. It became a professional “home” for me where I could hone my networking skills for larger conventions and always could find friendly faces to collaborate or commiserate with. Before I knew it I was running for a member at large, co-chairing our drive-in conference and then eventually running for President. At the time of running for President was also when we as an organization decided to broaden our reach and become inclusive of all of New England, so one could say, I was there for the birth of our organization.

When you aren’t working or focusing on your NECPA role, how do you spend your free time?
Free time is a funny phrase to me. When I’m not focusing on NECPA or working at Williams, I am the City Council President of the City of North Adams, a homeowner/husband/dog-parent, a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, until recently was the owner of a cafe, and am an expecting parent. I’m also a gardener, traveler, and spicy food afficionado. The key to life and adventure is a full tank of gas, and discovering the 25th hour of the day.

Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?
I had a few mentors along the way, but my advisor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Celia Norcross, probably played the biggest role in my eventual decision to leave my life of luxury as a Chemist/Biologist and leap back into the higher education community. That said, I’ve been mentored and inspired by dozens of people since making that decision and through to this very day.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?
Innovation doesn’t always mean forgetting the past. Much that is new, has been. It’s just a matter of doing your research, developing your context, being willing to fail, and giving it a go.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?
Get published. Get my PhD. Teach for credit bearing courses. And heck, why not…be a college president someday.

Why should professionals in New England get involved in NECPA?
We all know that the large conventions and organizations are sort of that shiny object that people want to be connected to and with, they are the places where you’ll meet the most faces. At times, however, those organizations can feel cliquey and somewhat insurmountable in terms of finding your way to showcase yourself. NECPA on the other hand, is a home. It’s a space where whether you are a long term member or a brand new introduction, you are embraced with open arms. You can get as heavily involved as you want, and nobody is going to stop you. You can connect with leaders in the field, but they feel like long-time friends. You can leave, come back, and leave again, but we will always be there ready to greet you as a colleague and peer. NECPA will develop your body, heart and mind through meaningful connectivity, unique opportunities, and inclusive compassion.

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