Former president Jackie vietti shares her story at a connect & caffeinate event
by Emily Beckman
Jacqueline Vietti was the first female president of Butler Community College, serving from 1995 to 2012: a total of 17 years.
During her time as president, a number of expansion projects took place. These projects include The Hubbard Welcome Center, The Champions Training Center, The BG Products Veterans Sports Complex in collaboration with the city and USD 490 and more. In addition, while she was at Butler, a team of experts built the online learning program.
Vietti spoke at a Connect and Caffeinate event in February, sharing her story with members and business people of the El Dorado community.
What was the most rewarding aspect of serving as the president of BCC?
Oh, that’s such an easy answer … the people. The students, the faculty and staff, the people in the community. I wouldn’t have traded working with any of them for anything. It’s the people who make any organization and there really are none better than the people of Butler and those that support Butler. Butler has such incredibly talented faculty who are unwaveringly dedicated to students’ success. Everyone in support services roles are equally dedicated to students’ success. And we have such strong believers in the broader community in the difference that Butler makes that it was just a joy to work with those individuals.
What was the biggest challenge you faced at Butler?
My motto has always been ‘dream big and start small.’ I can’t think of any challenge we weren’t willing to take on. You have the usual challenge of limited resources, but we always found a way to do what needed to be done to serve our students and our community. I’m at a loss to pinpoint a huge challenge. It isn’t to say that it was always easy; it wasn’t, but we had such a can-do attitude that we had ways to get things done; things that made a difference.
What is your advice for women who want to pursue a career in leadership?
First of all, believe they can. Believe in their own self-worth and value, find mentors that will give them sound advice, and acquire the skills and knowledge they need to pursue particular positions. And last, always, always, always operate with integrity and authenticity. [And] to be open to opportunities and be willing to step outside their comfort zones. It’s okay to risk, it’s even okay to fail, what’s not okay is not trying.
What are your connections to Butler now?
I follow the great things it is continuing to do. I follow it on facebook, I get the foundation newsletter, I follow sports on facebook.
I was on the Butler Foundation for a term. The foundation is the private fundraising arm of the college. It has a foundation board of directors apart from the board of trustees, it is focused on raising funds for scholarships and program support and helping to meet other needs of the college that are beyond the college’s operating budget.
So now my association is less formal, but I will always, always be the staunchest of advocates for Butler. I am remembered for saying ‘you will never really leave Butler,’ and I will never really leave Butler.
Why did you want to speak at the connect and caffeinate event?
I am a firm believer in giving back, and Butler Community College and the community of El Dorado have been so very good to me that when I was asked if I would be willing to share my story it was that opportunity for me to give back a little to those entities that have enriched my life.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think in closing I just want to express my deepest and lasting gratitude for the opportunity to work beside people of the caliber at Butler, and I just encourage those people to continue to do their difference-making work.