Couldn't attend the Finance Professionals Forum? See what you missed.

February 14, 2017

Hours before unveiling Yale’s expanded Center for Teaching and Learning, Provost Ben Polak addressed Yale Finance employees at the second quarterly Finance Professionals Forum, held Jan. 27 at 25 Science Park. Without the finance community’s wise stewardship of university resources, groundbreaking initiatives like the Center for Teaching and Learning wouldn’t be possible, Polak told forum participants.

The event, which drew 70 people, included breakfast, networking and a lively discussion on personal productivity. After an introduction by forum committee member Lori Rasile, the provost shared his excitement about putting into action President Peter Salovey’s goals to make Yale more unified, innovative and accessible. A greater emphasis on scientific research, for example, will require “enormous amounts of resources,” Polak said. “That goes back to the people in this room—the finance professionals.”

“Thank you for all your work,” he said.

The provost called the Center for Teaching and Learning “an amazing space” that would “do far, far more to improve pedagogy at all levels.” By design, the collaborative center for teaching, tutoring, writing and technology is housed in a newly renovated wing of Sterling Memorial Library—“right in the middle of campus, not hidden away somewhere,” he said. 

An economics professor who teaches game theory and strategic thinking, Polak also praised Yale’s new Policy Lab, a place where data meets policy to tackle real-world problems, such as local gun violence. The student-focused university-community partnership launched on Jan. 23 at 77 Prospect Street and is open to everyone, he said, from Yale students to policymakers to New Haven residents.

In response to a question about staff development, the provost closed his remarks by encouraging forum participants to build bridges to the greater Yale community by accessing classes and other university resources. As provost, Polak is Yale’s chief educational and budget officer after President Salovey.

Before the forum concluded, participants shared favorite tools and strategies for boosting personal productivity. Suggestions ranged from One Note and defensive scheduling to healthy breakfasts and the four Ds of decision-making—delete it, do it, delegate it, or defer it. For his part, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Stephen Murphy extolled the virtues of Microsoft Excel shortcuts. “This sounds totally geeky, but they’re life-changing,” he said.

Murphy, who sponsors the forum, thanked participants for their hard work and ongoing support. He also encouraged them to follow the provost’s admonition to build bridges within Yale. “There’s a certain level of magic that happens when faculty and staff work together,” he said.

The Finance Professionals Forum launched as part of the Employer of Choice initiative in September 2016. The forum’s goal is to leverage the knowledge and expertise of Yale Finance employees to help staff meet everyday challenges and strengthen networks.

Forum committee members include Michael DellaBianca of Yale Shared Services (YSS), Shirley Chock of Financial Planning & Analysis, Beth Labanara (Moyes) of Change Management & Communications (CMC), Bremen Leak of CMC, John Beecher of Business Solutions, Courtney Connors of the Controller’s Office, John DeNezzo of YSS, Julie Elak of Investment Accounting, Maria MacCalla of General Accounting, Lori Rasile of Financial Planning & Analysis, Deirdre Stowe of CMC, Monica Vella-Angelastro of YSS, and Chris Watkins of Business Solutions.

To learn more, visit the Employer of Choice page at It’s Your Yale.