Employees highly valued, respected by college dean

| August 14, 2013 | 0 Comments
Marguerite Dummer

Leading With Faith winner Marguerite Dummer. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit.

Marguerite Dummer

How do you apply your faith and Catholic values at work?

In a secular environment we can live and model our faith through our actions. I believe it is important to treat employees as people first — people who are creations of God — deserving of dignity and respect. This respect leads to the development of a trusting relationship with each member of my team. I view my role as someone who is there to serve the needs of each individual employee. I work to support, encourage, and recognize individual strengths and talents, which promotes self-esteem and empowers people to achieve goals.

Please tell a story about a time when applying your faith at work really made a difference.

The common goal for all employees of the college is to work together to support student success. I have seen God’s work in a recent partnership that focused on increasing access and success for unprepared adults. This partnership required myself and college faculty to take a risk in thinking differently about assessment testing and teaching strategies as we developed a health career pathway.

This pathway opened a door to higher education for a group of students who may have never seen that door as a possibility. It provided students with hope for a better future and, most importantly, increased their belief in their own abilities to achieve goals and dreams.

For myself, the partnership validated the importance of always thinking of the most vulnerable as I make decisions to support the common good.

Who or what has been most inspirational to you in bringing your faith to the marketplace?

My mother is one of the greatest influences on how I model my faith at work. She always reminded me to treat others how you would like to be treated, and to be even nicer to those who may be unkind.

I also believe my experiences during my undergraduate study at the College of St. Benedict [in St. Joseph] inspired me to build a faithful leadership style. Finally, my prayer life is important as I ask God to guide me in both my words and actions.

What achievement at work are you most proud of?

The achievement that I am most proud of reinforces just how important it is to model faith in our everyday life. I have worked in the MnSCU system for nearly 16 years and, prior to being a college dean, I was a nursing faculty member. Years ago, after class, a student who was walking out of the classroom turned and said to me, “Marguerite, I am going back to church because of you.” I recall stopping her and asking what she meant, and she went on to say, “It seems to work for you, so I thought I would give it another chance.” Just thinking about this moment humbles me to this day.

In what specific ways have you experienced God’s presence in your workplace?

I experience God’s presence in the people who work at the college. Each one of these people plays a critical role in creating a positive environment that supports student learning. I am reminded of this when I think about one of our maintenance workers who always takes time to give a friendly greeting to each student he passes. I know that he, too, is part of supporting a student’s success.

Each contact that we have with students can be so powerful and even life changing. For example, there are times I meet with students who believe that the challenges and barriers they face will prevent them from being successful. Before these meetings, I often pray that God gives me the right words as I help students see opportunities to remove real or perceived barriers or see a different pathway to their goal.


Age: 50

Organization: Hennepin Technical College

Title: Dean of Health Careers

Parish: St. Joseph, Waconia

Spouse: Daniel

Children: Marcus, Rebecca, Michael

Activities: St. Joseph Catholic School board member, eucharistic minister

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Category: Leading With Faith