After six months of deliberation, the Occidental board of trustees has decided on a new chair-elect. The trustee affairs committee of the board voted trustee Susan Mallory ’76 to the position Jan. 1. She will begin her tenure July 1.
Mallory is part of generational changes the board has undergone over the past few decades, according to current board chair Chris Calkins. Mallory represents the most recent generation of graduating classes to hold the position of board chair. According to Calkins, the secession of board leadership has rapidly transitioned from chairs representing the 1950s, ’60s and now ’70s with the new chair-elect.
A history major, Mallory went on to receive her master’s degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA) in 1978, which Occidental offered at the time. Currently a senior banking executive at Northern Trust, Mallory credits much of her negotiation and leadership skills to her education in diplomacy.
Mallory has served on the board since 2008, and has held several Occidental leadership positions over the past six years, including currently chairing the Budget and Finance Committee as well as serving as the former chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. The board is confident that her diplomacy and analytical skills, as well as broad perspective on the role of education and Occidental’s interaction within Los Angeles, will be crucial assets to the college, according to Calkins.
According to Mallory, the majority of her time currently as chair-elect is spent listening and observing as she prepares for her role as chair. In the upcoming months, she will be formulating strategies and plans for specific issues she hopes to address.
“Each leader of the board brings a new perspective, and I look forward to challenging and strategizing with the college leadership and constituents to collaborate in achieving even greater success,” Mallory said via email.
While Mallory is still in her early stages as chair-elect and cannot specify any plans at the moment, she still emphasizes the necessity of ensuring continued commitment to the college’s strategy and mission, as well as to reviewing the president.
“I think it’s also important as trustees to assess trends in higher education and strategize with the college’s leadership on where we envision Occidental’s position to be relative to competitors and how we differentiate ourselves,” Mallory said via email. “I believe in assessing our performance not only against our own goals, but how we match up against the competition, using performance indicators.”
Mallory draws upon her own family background, recognizing the importance of strong ethical values, a good education and serving others. According to Mallory, these traits have all contributed to her numerous professional roles over the past 38 years, in sectors such as education, children’s health, culture and animal welfare. Her professional involvement in education, career in financial services and record of community service makes her a good fit for the college, according to President Jonathan Veitch.
“[Mallory] is an outstanding choice,” Veitch said via email. “We’re lucky to have her, and I look forward to working with her in her new role. Occidental certainly will benefit from her leadership.”
Mallory was ultimately drawn to working at Occidental and serving on the board because of her own transformative experience she had as a student.
“The president has been extremely successful in recruiting across the spectrum of people for the board,” Calkins said. “We continue to find ways to increase diversity so that we have these continuing perspectives. Everyone will be very pleased to have someone as thoughtful and intelligent as [Mallory] agreeing to step up and take this responsibility as chair of the board.”