Purdue Profiles: Janice Beard

November 15, 2011

Janice Beard, corporate secretary for the Purdue Board of Trustees (Purdue University photo/ Mark Simons)

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As corporate secretary for the Board of Trustees, Janice Beard is responsible for recording history. No small task, but one that she approaches with a quiet confidence developed over 10 years of administrative support work for Purdue.

Along with recording the minutes for the trustees meetings, Beard also coordinates communication, builds itineraries and assists in the day-to-day operations for the Board of Trustees. 

What are your responsibilities as corporate secretary?

I am the official record keeper for the University board meetings. We have six stated meetings every year, so there's a lot of coordination that has to be done between the offices of the president, provost and treasurer to get required items on the agenda. It's a matter of getting those agendas together, gathering materials and sending legal notices. After the meeting I write all the minutes. Those minutes are the historical record for the University, so it's critical that they're accurate and have the necessary details because we often refer to them.  Once a meeting is done, and all those details wrapped up, it's time to start preparing for the next. 

I also take care of 10 trustees and their needs when they visit campus. There are a lot of details that go into making sure their accommodations are prepared, transportation is arranged and so on. I make sure they have their itinerary and any tickets or passes they would need to attend events. Thankfully I have an assistant, Ann Hanna, who helps manage those things. Working with the trustees is really a highlight of my job. I marvel at what they've been able to accomplish both professionally and for Purdue.

What is a typical day at work for you?

There's really no typical day, but every day involves addressing countless emails. I can't take a day off without having to respond to emails.  The university is a 24-hour business.  It's just a matter of taking care of things that come up, preparing for meetings, working out details., and addressing the trustees' questions and requests for information.

Over the last few months, I've worked on coordinating schedules for the trustees' suite at Ross-Ade, since they can't all go at the same time with their guests. We also have many meetings coming up with the Presidential Search Committee. I am responsible for recording the minutes of those meetings and providing administrative support to Trustee Berghoff, who is chairing the committee. I am in awe of the passion that the members of the search committee have for their task at hand.  

How have your previous positions prepared you for your position as corporate secretary?

My degree is in elementary education, but I just happened to get into the administrative track. After graduation, I was hired as the administrative person for a new training network for the Chamber of Commerce, which involved a lot of event planning. Even my retail experience has been valuable. You learn how to treat and talk to all kinds of people.  I have been fortunate in that my career has afforded me opportunities to work for some really great people, some who are now lifelong friends.

At Purdue, I've worked for the College of Technology, CLA's Department of Communication and the Vice President for Human Relations, now known as the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance. These positions have given me different perspectives of the University. It's also good to have those people and contacts that I can draw knowledge from. I've learned so much valuable information about the colleges and how the University operates as a whole. I've had so many wonderful co-workers along the way.  The only drawback about moving to a new position is not being able to bring them with me.

What do you enjoy most about this position?

I enjoy being a part of Purdue's history. Every day, every action the board takes, is historical. I am able to record and coordinate behind the scenes but also have a firsthand look at the University's future.

I also really enjoy working with other administrative support personnel in the offices of the president, treasurer and provost. I really enjoy the teamwork and the feeling of accomplishment that we share when things are done right. There's always something going on where we have to ask questions of each other and work together to figure things out. The beauty of working with this team is that even though a project might not belong to them, they are all so willing to help. 

What are your goals in your role?

I have only been in this position for ten months, so moving forward, I'm eager to really grasp the job to the point that it becomes second nature to me. My goal is to be someone who knows the University like the back of her hand. I want others to know that they can come to me if they have a question. I admire those staff members who have been here for years and how they are so knowledgeable about the University.