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New trustees bring professional expertise

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Layla Abbas
Editor in Chief

The University of La Verne welcomed two new board of trustees this summer – John Raffoul, president of the Adventist Health White Memorial, and Martha Daniel, president and CEO of Information and Management Resources Inc.

Raffoul and Daniel, both alumni of the University, plan to bring an impactful type of leadership to the Board starting with the first meeting planned for Oct. 17.

Raffoul brings over 25 years of financial and leadership experience from the Adventist Health White Memorial, a non-profit, faith based, general medical and surgical facility.

“I have had great opportunities to keep advancing here and it kept my interest,” Raffoul said. “A career trajectory to do different things has kept my level of interest and invigorated.”

Daniel’s background in technology began in 1970. She has been involved in technology, in both corporate and government sectors, including serving in the U.S. Navy in cryptology.

Her impressive career spans from working with companies like IBM, QVC and ARCO.

Her experience led her to develop her own business, Information and Management Resources Inc. in 1992, which is now an industry front runner in cybersecutiry.

“My company has been around for 27 years, providing cyber security protections and program management,” Daniel said. “We have a national and international presence, and support the Department of Defense and other commercial entities. We have grown to be a $20 million company with over 100 employees.”

Daniel said one key aspect to growing her business is providing necessary changes to move forward as the environment changes and technology changes.

“We had to be innovative in a dynamic moving industry such as technology,” Daniel said. “You also need good people to work with, stay networked in your industry and pay attention to the money and follow the money.”

President Devorah Lieberman said the Board holds two important tasks – to help set the vision for the University and to help plan the future of the University 30 to 50 years down the road.

“They will each bring the vision to the University and I look forward to them getting to know our students and opening new doors for them,” Lieberman said. “To have two remarkably accomplished individuals say they want to serve the University is a credit to the University and to them.”

In response to our low enrollment numbers this semester, Raffoul said there are plenty of opportunities to make adjustments without hurting the foundational values of the University.

“Institutions go through cycles in their history,” Raffoul said. “Enrollment is soft this year, and when that happens you have to make adjustments to the expenses.

Raffoul is also a member of the audit committee, which looks at the financials of the University.

“I do not think enrollment has dipped so significantly that it will really destabilize the University or cause us to make some deep, deep cuts,” Raffoul said. “However, we have to adjust the expenses to weather the slight drop in enrollment and I think we can do that very easily.”

Raffoul has also been an adjunct faculty in accounting and finance at the University of Southern California, at the Price School of Policy Planning and Development for 15 years.

He said he has always had a love for academics and education and encourages the students at La Verne to be passionate about their own careers.

“Investing in your own education is the best thing to do,” Raffoul said. “It is important to connect with others while you learn as these connections built will become valuable in the next phase of their life.”

Raffoul said the events that happened last spring are unfortunate, but nonetheless will continue to be addressed in a meaningful way, beginning with the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, led by a full-time chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer.

“Establishing the Office of Diversity demonstrates the commitment to make sure we remain inclusive, diverse and do better and bigger things in that arena,” Raffoul said. “That shows the commitment of our leadership who are putting resources and investing money to ensure diversity and inclusiveness is part of the future of this University.”

Daniel has served on several state university boards where the power to make changes was not always in the hands of the trustees.

“A trustee on the University of La Verne board is really making a difference,” Daniel said. “You are making decisions with the president, and engaging with the University at a level where your decision making power goes forward to make a difference in the future of the University.”

Daniel said she will bring more knowledge on diversity, curriculums that can impact technology, and overall culture at the University.

“As a whole, diversity is an issue that every university is experiencing,” Daniel said. “I believe from my background and what I am involved with, this is something I can focus on and understand what the University is doing and how they are addressing that concern.”

“Raffoul brings to the board an impressive perspective on health initiatives and jobs in health care, which will only help our students,” Provost Jonathan Reed said. “And Daniel’s has great experience as a successful business woman in the area of cyber security, so we are adding two great assets to our community.”

Layla Abbas can be reached at layla.abbas@laverne.edu.

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