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News & Events

Reflections from Dean’s Advisory Board Vice Chair Jennifer Cyra ’87

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Story by Maddie Kranz x’24, UW–Madison student studying Community & Nonprofit Leadership and Art History

Jennifer Cyra ’87 is a global executive who has been at the heart of transformation for her entire career. Today, she leverages her 30+ years of industry experience to advise companies ranging from Fortune 500 to innovative startups on strategy, executive development, and managing change. As Vice Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board, Cyra plays a key role in the School of Human Ecology’s continued successes.

What drew you to the School of Human Ecology?

For many years after graduation, I was busy with my career and wasn’t really connected to the School of Human Ecology, and I am grateful that it does such a good job of alumni outreach, which is how I reconnected. Being involved in Human Ecology is a great way to advance the mission of research and education that improve people’s lives. I care deeply about making the world a better place by improving the human experience, a vision which is essentially at the heart of everything the School of Human Ecology stands for.

What are you proud of achieving as a Board member?

Most of the Dean’s Advisory Board members sit outside the world of academia, and as such, we tend to see things through the lens of the industries we’ve worked in. This is important in the sense that the School of Human Ecology is very committed to understanding the future of work, particularly as it relates to jobs of the future and securing more employment opportunities for our graduates. The Board recently worked on a two-year study of megatrends that ultimately provided unique insights and recommendations to the Dean and Human Ecology. I’m proud to have provided unique insights and recommendations to the Dean and Human Ecology. I’m proud to have provided through leadership for this project, and I’m thrilled to see how this work has added value to the School of Human Ecology’s long-term strategy and goals.

When you think about the School of Human Ecology 25 years from now, what do you hope we are known for?

We don’t have to be the biggest school on campus, we just have to continue to be the best! I feel the School of Human Ecology will be known for the impact of the many innovative and visionary approaches that are originating from the school today. In 25 years, I hope that the university is renowned for excellence in research and education committed to advancing holistic health and well-being for all. I hope that people will look back and say, “wow, this all started with Human Ecology”.