Leadership Spotlight - Amy Auwaerter

leadership Jun 04, 2023

Amy Auwaerter is the Director of Operations for Montgomery County Community College Pottstown Campus.


In our discussion, Amy shared her love of working with her team, the MCCC students, and the Pottstown Community.


Amy expressed the importance of the “Community” aspect of Montgomery County Community College, and said how important it is to embrace the community, and “get out into the community so the community knows what the college has to offer, and also to truly understand what does the community need the college to produce?”


Amy’s insights reminded me of John Maxwell’s philosophy on an “open door policy”, John says it’s one thing for a leader to have an open door that team members can feel comfortable walking through, but just as important is for a leader to walk through the door to proactively connect with their team.


Amy also shared her love of working with students, “I have the pleasure of having students work for me on campus and most of my student workers live in the Pottstown zip code so they can tell me what's going on when they leave our campus and what we can do a better job of.”


Amy enjoys providing a valuable growth experience for the students and says,

“I think it's so important that they gain skills during the time they're with me that enhance their opportunities for employment or enhance their opportunities for what the next step in their journey will be.”


She encourages the students to visit Career Services once a semester, and update their resumes to make sure they are current with the skills and developmental growth they’re experiencing. She wants students to know they're not just filling a seat, but they're learning new job skill sets that can add value to their career development and open the door to employment opportunities.


She’s also very intentional about understanding how the experience can be shaped and continuously improved to add value to incoming students.


“I think it's really important to listen to where the needs are, whether it's my students, whether it's my faculty, whether it's our community, and understanding what role can I play to create positive change?”


Prior to entering her role in higher education, Amy was a pharmaceutical sales rep for 23 years, and shares her perspective on the beautiful alignment between the two careers. 

“I was selling pharmaceuticals to physicians during which my mission statement was to extend and enhance human life.”

And she was incredibly successful in that career ranking 6th in the region in sales, and 29th in the country. When her last child went to college, Amy decided to get her masters and make a career transition. She went to St. Joe’s ODL program which led her to the world of higher ed.


Amy says, “So now instead of extending and enhancing human life through pharmaceuticals, I hope I'm extending and enhancing human life through a higher ed experience.

I truly take that to heart when I train my staff and ask my staff to serve students.

Are you extending and enhancing their lives? What are we doing? What role do we play? And how can we always do a better job? I'm really big at being willing to try new things.


“That's why I get up and come to work every day - is knowing that we can help people.”


I really generally love coming to work every day. In my sales career, I was in an office in my car, and my collaborators I might see once every six weeks.


Now it's just the opposite. I am here every day. I am with this team every day. So it's extremely important if I'm going to come and do this job. Eight to 10 hours a day, five days a week. I want it to be an environment that's healthy and happy.


I asked Amy what the biggest challenge is she’s experienced throughout her career.


“I think the thing that always hits me the most is working across silos. Silos exist in a variety of ways,  and I noticed it in both careers - trying to work through silos that exist either between departments or locations, and breaking down the walls so we can find the synergy that can happen when we do work together.”


So what do you think is the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout your career, I asked? 

“I think that you really have to realize you're working with individuals. You have to understand that some people communicate one way some people communicate another way, and you can't have one static approach for the entire team. I think also allowing people to work in the modalities that they feel comfortable in working with and supporting them in their choices.


“As a leader, I think it’s important to recognize the individuality of each person and the contributions of each person. You know, we have strengths and we have opportunities. So how do we balance the strengths and opportunities and come together as a team?”


“I love seeing growth within my employees. I love seeing their careers and their trajectories, and understanding what I can do to help them feel productive and satisfied.”


Amy leads with sincere intention, purpose, and authenticity, and it is demonstrated in all she does, because it’s truly who she is.


You can connect with Amy here and learn more about her and her work at Montgomery County Community College, [email protected] .

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