My name is Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. Loyola is a Jesuit university in the heart of the city of Chicago. I love working in education and helping students and families navigate the college admission process. Each year is exciting and different as the methods and platforms to reach and communicate with students change in our technology-driven society. But, at the end of the day, my goal is to help a student find the college that is the right fit for them; a place where they can grow professionally and personally.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
Never stop learning and listening to others. It can be easy to want to do the same thing year after year because it works, but it is important to listen to other’s ideas and input. Creativity, teamwork, and innovation go a long way, and when you stop to include others in the conversation, great things can happen.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
I don’t know if I have a favorite mistake. I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years, but the ones I probably learn from the most are those that I make when I am rushing to get something done. It has forced me to focus on the moment and decision that is at hand and to not rush. If that means it takes me longer than I had thought to make that decision or do that task, then I know I was taking the time needed to do it right.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
Technology will continue to play an important role in recruitment and admissions. There are many different platforms to reach high school students, and high school students’ behavior is constantly changing and adapting as new technology comes out. This creates great opportunities as well as unique challenges, and the key will be to stay on top of trends and invest in young staff who want to engage with students and families in fun, creative ways. College admission is only getting more competitive, and investing in technology and in resources for recruiting staff will go a long way for an institution.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
I’m better at saying no to projects or handing off projects to others because I simply do not have the time to dedicate to it. It can be better to provide someone else the opportunity for exposure and growth rather than be only half invested or sitting in a meeting with your mind on something else. As a leader, you can still be in the know and help drive the conversation while allowing others the opportunity to excel.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
I don’t think I have one book I recommend, but I do like reading about women leaders – Sheryl Sandburg, Melinda Gates, Brene Brown, Michelle Obama, to name a few, are all great reads.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Just go for it! There will be bumps in the road, and you will fail at things but never stop trying because you may succeed when you least expect it. And be kind to people. Kindness goes a long way. Perhaps not advice to ignore but don’t ignore your gut feeling. If something feels off or feels too good to be true, it probably is.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum