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In Their Own Words

A Conversation with Barbara Pate Glacel '70 and Judy Davis

  • davis_judy_photoset1.jpg
    Judy Davis    Photo by Kelly Spence
  • glacel_paris_photoset.jpg
    Barbara and Bob Glacel in Paris    Photo courtesy of Barbara Glacel
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  • Barbara Pate Glacel '70 (BG)
    Chair of the Reves International Advisory Board
  • Judy Davis (JD)
    Advancement & Protocols Manager at the Reves Center

Editor’s note: In this issue we feature two extraordinary women, Barbara Pate Glacel and Judy Davis, whose roles at Reves will change this year. Glacel is rotating off the Reves Board in the spring 2020, and Davis will retire at the end of 2019. They have been integral and indispensable to the success of the Reves Center. But they also exemplify Harry Truman’s aphorism, that it’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. Neither seeks the limelight or praise and yet as you will see from their conversation, they are two of the smartest, most talented and most admired members of the Reves family and will leave a legacy of excellent management, strategic thinking and grace.

Q: How did you come to the Reves Center?
BG: I knew when the Reves Center was created 30 years ago because of Jim Bill, although it’s interesting I never met him. I had been on the faculty of the University of Alaska in Anchorage, and my department chair there had been a colleague of Bill’s earlier in their careers. She was very excited when William & Mary brought him on to campus and told me I had to go meet him. Somehow that never quite worked, but I knew about Reves. I thought it was a wonderful new place to put international at that time.

I didn’t go on the board until 2001. I’d been on the Alumni Board and I’d been on the Annual Fund Board, and when I went off those, I was looking for someplace else to get involved, and Mitchell Reiss asked me if I’d join the Reves Board.

It was an exciting time then, because I think there were some incredibly high-powered people on the board: Harriet Fulbright was the chair; Tony Zinni, retired marine general, who was very active in international relations in Indonesia and the Middle East; Dick Stoltz, who was very well known – or maybe not so well known, given his clandestine work – from the CIA. I think more became known about Dick’s work after he died a few years ago. Joe Prueher was a member. His wife Suzanne is a William & Mary graduate [Class of 1968], and he had been a Navy Admiral and Ambassador to China [1999-2001].

I was just excited about coming to board meetings and being in a room with those people and talking about what was going on internationally, and how we could do things at William & Mary with our students and our faculty to get them involved. So, that was the beginning of my time.

JD: I came to Reves in 2007. When I started at William & Mary, I worked in Central Advancement with Lesley Atkinson in Donor Relations, and that was my first introduction to advancement. I had worked in academic and administrative offices at Virginia Tech. I left Central Advancement in 2006 to work for Carolyn North, who was then William & Mary’s first international major gift officer. When she left the university, her position was not filled. Laurie Koloski, Reves Center Director at the time, said to me, “Come to Reves. Karen [Dolan], the business manager, is retiring next year. You can still do advancement work. You can train to do her job, and then when she retires, you can take her position.”

Q: You two have had a very productive relationship. What makes for a successful board relationship with an organization? What qualities work or don’t work?

JD: I think from my perspective, of all the board chairs, I’ve had the closest relationship with Barbara. What do you think, Barbara? Is it a “woman power” thing or do we just gel well together?

BG: Probably a bit of both, I think. I think the other thing is that I’ve taken a much more hands-on approach with the board than any of the previous chairs, and so I think sometimes that can be a force multiplier, and it really helps us to get things done. There may be times when it feels a bit intrusive to the Vice Provost and Director of the Reves Center and to the staff that supports us. I don’t know. I try to make that a happy  balance, but I think that because I’ve taken a more active role, that you and I have had a chance to get to know each other well and figure out what works for each of us. I think we each understand the different jobs we do, and we couldn’t be effective if we didn’t understand the roles of one another.

JD: I’ve enjoyed playing the role of the conduit, which is, I guess, what my role really boils down to. Just being the person to help Steve work with Barbara, and help Barbara work with Steve and all the other board members, and keep things going as smoothly as possible.

Q: Barbara, you invited Judy to join regular meetings with Steve Hanson. What prompted you to do that?

BG: Steve has an incredible area of responsibility that goes beyond what the board pays direct attention to. I see Judy as the main conduit or messenger, the person who on a more regular basis is keeping tabs on how the board is going to operate. For instance, she’s the liaison to the governance & nominating committee that keeps the bylaws.

Q: What do you think is the role of a board? What are some of the things you’ve been proud of having accomplished during your tenure?

BG: Well, I used the expression a few minutes ago of a force multiplier. I think a board can be a force multiplier. And I think if you have an active board that is invited to give input and is valued for their input — and I think we are — then we can bring into the academy what’s happening out in the real world. I’ve been a professor, so I understand the dynamics within the university, and there is a different pace — a different orientation — in the academy than there is out in the world, or in this case in international relations in the world. I think the board can bridge that and can maybe speed things up a little. Maybe make things more practical. Certainly help with opportunities for students. 

One of the things I’m proudest of – and this doesn’t have a direct relationship to my role on the board — but I wouldn’t have thought of it if I weren’t on the board — is that when [my husband] Bob and I lived in Brussels and he was the management counselor at the U.S. Mission to NATO, we were able to create internships for W&M students. I wouldn’t have even thought of that had I not been involved with the Reves board. They were actually implemented with the Cohen Center in conjunction with Reves, but it’s one of those wonderful collaborative examples where we brought the international world into the university and we provided real-world experiences for students.

Over the course of the eight years that we had interns in Brussels, we had two dozen W&M students who came, some of whom lived with us, all of whom we found places for, and these kids — I still call them kids — now are out having wonderful careers, but they have come back to us on multiple occasions and said it was their experience at the U.S. Mission to NATO that got them a security clearance, that got them their first job, that set them on the path to whatever career they’re pursuing today. So, the board can make those opportunities that aren’t available through just the academy.

Q: How has the character and membership of the board changed over the years?

JD: All the boards of William & Mary are striving for a 50% representation of women, and at Reves we’ve been working really hard on the governance & nominating committee to achieve that. That is one of the things that we consider as we’re looking at nominations and inviting new members.

Q: Have you tried to recruit young members?

JD: Barbara prepares a spreadsheet of the characteristics of the board — how many are alumni, how many are friends, women, men, the areas they represent, the years they graduated, etc. She compiles those statistics every year so we can have a look at where we are and what types of members would benefit
the board. 

BG: Kira Allmann ’10 is the youngest person on the board. Kira was a Rhodes Scholar, so she’s one of the folks we’re very proud of. Kira was also an intern at US NATO and was very impactful when we had her over there. We have quite an age range, but I do think it’s good to bring in the younger alumni. They’ve grown up in a different world than we more experienced folks have, and we need to see their world view.

The other thing I really think is important is that we have some members of our board who are non-alumni. We’re  very lucky right now. We have five, very involved non-alumni. They come to our meetings. They offer opportunities for jobs and speakers and internships, and they really provide an incredible value to our  board. It makes us less insular. They come from other universities and other experiences that allow us to think a little bit outside the box.

Q: You’re both at a transition point. Judy, you’re retiring this year. Barbara, are you going off the board completely?

BG: I’m going off as chair and board member next summer. I’ve been on it now for 18 years. It will be 19 years when I go off. It’s time for some fresh, new blood and new thinking.

Q: Do you have any hopes or ideas for Reves in the future? I know Judy would like a new roof, since we’ve been having roof problems…

BG: I want to think bigger than a new roof! I want a building!

JD: Steve will be happy to hear that!

BG: I think that whereas we do a good job now we don’t do a great job in terms of collaborating and sharing information around the myriad of international programs that are available. One of the things that the university can be proudest of is the Global Research Institute, and they’re over on Scotland Street in a little house that they love, but wouldn’t it be nice if we were all housed together? If you think about the way organizations work, think about the information that is shared just by proximity. People learn by osmosis as they’re walking up and down the hall or at the coffee machine. I would love to see international initiatives as a whole have their own building at William & Mary.

JD: I have worked very closely with Dianne [Alleman] over the past several years to try to make sure that there was continuity when I could see my retirement on the horizon. I know that she will continue to provide great support and work together with the new board chair as well as Barbara and I have.

Q: Judy, have you ever traveled for Reves?

JD: Several years ago, I went to London. There was an alumni event at the Drapers’ Company. I have worked a long time with the Drapers’ Company in relation to the Sullivan-Fildes Scholarship. I communicate with the Head of Charities several times a year, so it was nice to meet him. I really enjoyed that event. I actually met [board member] Ian Ralby ’05 on that visit. Members of the GET (Global Engagement Team) – we call  ourselves “Go-Getters” – don’t often travel. As I am normally a behind-the-scenes person, it was wonderful to have that experience.

Q: Was it a highlight of your time at Reves? 

JD: Well, yes… but really just seeing the board become energized has been a highlight. To go from a time when we weren’t meeting regularly to get to now, when we’re having two meetings each year and a touch-base call in June is so satisfying. I like things orderly and organized, so Barbara and I work very well together.

Q: Barbara, was that your sense of it, too?

BG: Yes. Steve Hanson deserves a lot of credit for reviving the Board. After he got his feet on the ground as the new Vice Provost and he figured out what was going on, he said, “OK, we’ve got to get this board resurrected and see how we can use it.” To me, that’s the whole point of having a board: to see how you can use it. So when Tim Dunn came on as chair, and I came on as vice chair 5 years ago, both of us independently, unbeknownst to the other, said, “We’re only going to take this leadership role if you really let us make something out of it.” So, kudos to Steve for saying, “Yes, I want to do that.”

JD: I think that’s what most of the board members would say. The message that I’ve heard is, “We want to DO something. We don’t just want to be a name on paper. “

Q: Barbara, any other high points for you?

BG: The NATO internships were a real high point for me. During those years when Laurie Koloski was the director, she came over and stayed with us in our home in Brussels, and we had a great time together sightseeing. But she also made a huge splash when Bob took her over to NATO Headquarters. These were unpaid internships. The kids had to find their own funding, and although Bob had worked hard to get transportation funding, it was in jeopardy, and Lori came over and just impressed everybody so much, that the powers that be said, “Of course we have to pay for the William & Mary kids’ travel!”

Another really fun thing to remember is at the time that Ann Marie Stock was the interim director, she sponsored (as she still does today), trips to Cuba. Dick and Betty Stoltz and Elizabeth Reiss and I were on one of the trips with Ann Marie, and we had a great, wonderful time together. It was my first introduction to Cuba. To me it’s those kinds of interpersonal connections that energize folks later to give back… whether it’s giving back in money or giving back in time or giving back in expertise. Those interpersonal relationships motivate me to want to be a part of that.

JD: Another thing that comes to mind in terms of my time at Reves is we how the staff has grown and the services that the Reves Center provides have increased tremendously. What we do for the university and for the students has really just amplified. There was one summer (maybe 2010) when there were only eight of us. And now there are 20-plus Reves staff. Yet, in many ways, we are under-staffed.

BG: The other thing about that growth is the space, because when I came on the board, the Reves Center wasn’t the whole building. It was half of the first floor and then and it became the whole first floor, and then it went up to part of the upstairs, and now it’s all of the upstairs. And now I think you’ve outgrown that.

JD: That was one of my larger projects, overseeing the expansion down that long hallway, taking those dorm spaces to add more office space and creating the conference room. It was a long project, but the extra space was much-needed. We’re bursting at the seams once again.

BG: When you mention all of those things I think about the way Judy and I communicate so often between board meetings: “Is this happening? And what about that? And have we arranged the other?” It’s all these logistical things, but when those things don’t happen, then people notice it. When those things do happen, they just take it for granted.

JD: I think that’s true for any organization with someone who works a lot behind the scenes. They make sure everything is running smoothly, and it needs to look seamless. I think that’s the goal of someone in my position — to make things look seamless and run like a well-oiled machine.

We have a flag repository at Reves, and every now and then Steve Tewksbury, Executive Director of University Events, will send me an email and say, “‘Do you have a flag from… wherever?” I keep a spreadsheet with all the flags that we have, and I know what size the flag is and whether it has fringe or not. If an international dignitary is coming to campus and we don’t have that country’s flag, then I’ll order it. Steve Tewksbury has trained us well on precisely how to display the flags. 

BG: You also have to make sure it’s hanging right side up. Bob just told me a funny story about a visit of Prince Charles to NATO or the U.S. where the British flag was hanging upside down…

JD: Not at William & Mary! Because Steve Tewksbury would NEVER have let that happen.

BG: No, no. It was at NATO or in the U.S. some place. NOT at the Reves Center. 

JD: I just want to thank Barbara for just being such a great person to work with. I feel such rapport, and I know that she will give it to me straight if I’ve messed up or if she expects something and I didn’t realize it. So I just want to thank YOU, Barbara for all your work.

BG: Well, you’re very welcome, and I can’t remember if I have ever given you anything straight that you have messed up, so now I’m going to worry about that… Well, I told Judy that she could not retire until my final year of chairmanship was over, and she disobeyed.

So maybe that’s one of the things that I had to give her a talking to about. And I know who’s boss, because she’s still leaving.