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The Ohio State University

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Amy Thaci

Portrait of Amy ThaciDirector, Engineering Career Services
College of Engineering

Q. Describe your career path to Director of Engineering Career Services at Ohio State.

A. I've been passionate about career services for a really long time! I started at Ohio State in 1995 and was fortunate enough to work in Arts and Sciences Career Services as the assistant director and then director for nine years. After that, I worked in the College of Public Health for seven years, which was an incredibly memorable position. But, wanting to pursue a full-time position again, I was honored to be chosen as the director of Engineering Career Services and have been here since 2011.

Q. How would you describe your leadership style?

A. I am an inclusive, democratic leader who enjoys engaging with my staff. I truly believe that everyone has value and should have a voice at the table. We are a team who works very well together because our strengths lie in different areas. I respect the experts because I do not know everything, but feel that I know enough to make decisions based on facts and what is right. I don't take myself too seriously and laugh with my staff an awful lot. I also think leadership styles evolve as situations arise. Sometimes a quick decision is necessary, sometimes there needs to be consensus, but always there needs to be respect.

Q. What were the best career investments you've made along the way?

A. When I was in the College of Public Health, I worked part time and will always treasure that extra time with my children. I was also asked during that time to be the alumni services director, a role I had never taken on and it was the one of the best times of my life. I would also have to say that the position in the College of Engineering was definitely risky for me personally. I knew nothing of engineering (but knew how to do career services), nor had I supervised anyone in seven years. But they believed in me, I believed in myself and here I am. It was truly one of the scariest things I pursued, but also one of the most rewarding. I have learned so much and am completely in awe of engineering and the students here!

Q. Any mentors or champions who supported your professional development?

A. I can't point to one person in particular, but I have had many mentors over the years, men and women. I make sure to create strong relationships everywhere I go. My husband and two daughters have always been supportive of my goals too. They have never discouraged me from pursuing something. I have a duty to show my girls what it means to be a good person and a good leader.

Q. How would you describe your career goals today? How have they changed over time?

A. Well, being director is really it for me. I have reached my career goal, so I'm trying to not take this time for granted. I keep seeking out new learning and developing opportunities, because I have a while until retirement!

Q. What kind of challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

A. I think the biggest thing for me was finally realizing that I didn't have to have all the answers at the ready. Also, coming into my current role, I was following in the footsteps of a very knowledgeable woman, someone who had been in this role for over 20 years. I finally realized it was okay to just be me, do my own thing and make my own mark.

Q. When you think about serving in a leadership role as a female, do any unique experiences come to mind?

A. Being president or chair of the organizations I have been involved in has not usually been something I sought out. I was always more comfortable being vice chair or vice president. When I was asked to take on a role I rarely said no, because first of all I was honored. But I did have to convince myself to take advantage of it, knowing it would be extremely valuable and that I would grow from it. I think women have a special duty to bring other women along for the ride.

Q. What advice would you give to other women looking to reach similar goals?

A. Take some risks. Do you what you love. Encourage each other and support each other's individual decisions. What is right for me might not be right for someone else. Don't judge someone until you've walked in their shoes. These may be well-known words of wisdom, but I do truly believe in them.

Q. What's next for you? Something you're looking forward to.

A. I am looking forward to what's ahead for the College of Engineering. Did I already mention how fascinating this place is and that the students we get to work with blow me away? But more importantly, I am also excited that my oldest daughter will be starting here in the fall. Her options are endless and I'm so proud of her. She'll also get to see mom at work!