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A Message from the New UNICON Executive Director Melanie Weaver Barnett

Dear UNICON Membership Community,

I walked into my first UNICON conference 23 years ago, brand new to executive education, wondering what this UNICON thing was all about. By the time I left three days later, I felt like I had fallen in love–in love with this unique collaborative consortium of competitors and the people who make it so meaningful to us and our schools.

Fast forward to today. After attending many conferences and events, serving as member and chair of the board, serving on several committees, and getting to know hundreds of wonderful people involved in UNICON, I am filled with gratitude to have the opportunity to be its new executive director!

Following in the footsteps of Bill Scheurer who has guided the organization so deftly and has been a role model for me, is quite an honor. I look forward to talking more with all of you, understanding what you want and need from the consortium, and working with you to make that happen.

We are, as they say, in “interesting times” in the world of executive education. Times that are aptly described by the arguably overused acronym VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). As one member exclaimed to me recently, “Yes, and it seems to be getting ‘more VUCA’ all the time!” Equipping ourselves and our organizations for success can feel daunting at times. No one is going to argue that it’s easy. And we often are left somewhat on our own within our respective schools to figure it out.

The good news is that you are a part of this member-led consortium with some of the top thinkers, strategists, and experts in global business, executive development, higher education management, and lifelong learning in our orbit. UNICON is committed to ensuring that each of your organizations is among the most relevant, successful, and sought-after learning partners for leaders and organizations who want to improve their performance.

For decades and for good reasons, business school-based executive education providers have been a vital resource to companies around the globe as they develop their leaders for success. I believe that, if we engage in

  1. focused attention on global trends and the value created by the higher education sector,
  2. commitment to deeply understanding the evolving needs of our stakeholders–customers, faculty, staff, school, and community, and
  3. continued development of our own mindsets and capabilities to innovate, create, and deliver,

our executive education organizations will be that vital resource to the business world well into the future.

And that’s a good segue to the idea that UNICON is your vital resource in this endeavor– by delivering on that ‘abc’ list above.  To get started on or to continue your journey, here are some potential next steps (info on all can be found on the website uniconexed.org)

In closing, I want to express earnest appreciation to UNICON team members Taryn Streed and Dan Collins, and the committee and board  members who have contributed their time, energy, and wisdom to make these opportunities a reality.

Until next time,

Melanie Weaver Barnett
UNICON Executive Director