Member Spotlight from December 15, 2016
Joann Gilman Auricchio describes her path to school business as a conventional one—after all, she majored in accounting in college. But her story took a twist when she sought her first job. Upon graduation, it was Joann’s father, whom she describes as a traditional Italian grocer, who told her “she was going to an interview.” At the time, Joann lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, and her interview was with Jersey City Public Schools.
“The next thing I knew, I was an accountant for the school system,” Joann recalls with a laugh. She was never quite sure if there had even been a job opening at the time, but obviously, it was meant to be. Over a 27-year period, she rose through six more positions, eventually serving as business administrator.
In 2008, Joann decided she needed a change, and took on the business administrator and board secretary position for Morris Hills Regional District in Rockaway, New Jersey. At first glance, it may seem easy to move from a district with 32,000 students and a $600 million budget to one with fewer than 3,000 students and a $60 million budget, but Joann admits it was frightening.
“In Jersey City, I had certain responsibilities, but I had a host of directors who carried out their own set of tasks,” Joann says. When she arrived at Morris Hills, everything was on her shoulders. “It was like trying to remember how to ride a bike.” Luckily, she got up to speed quickly!
Despite being in the field for 35 years, Joann recognizes that learning is an ongoing process. She is particularly grateful that she decided to attend her first ASBO International meeting—the 2016 Executive Leadership Forum in Las Vegas last February.
“I walked away from that ‘wowed’,” she says. Prior to attending this meeting, Joann and her facilities director had discussed plans to conduct their annual warehouse inventory upon her return. But when she attended a leadership forum session hosted by Zappos Insights, she realized that their district’s approach to the inventory needed to change completely! Joann learned so much during the two-day forum that she began paying closer attention to, and subsequently benefited more from, various ASBO membership elements. She was equally pleased with her experience at the 2016 Annual Meeting & Expo and looks forward to her second Executive Leadership Forum this February!