By, Alina Buzgar
“Most of us who work with students are very student centric. And the students here are terrific. I have been given a better, broader life because of my involvement with them.” Torrey Mann
In August 1998, Torrey Mann began her Thunderbird career working with Cheri Hazen in the Global Business Faculty Office. She continued working with the Global MBA (the first online program), and now, over 16 years later, she plays a dual role as the TSG Office Manager and Student Affairs Coordinator. Her love for her work and her love for the students shined through each sentence of our interview.
Native of a small town near Chicago, Torrey lived in several states across US until she followed her husband to Arizona and discovered Thunderbird. She speaks with great love of her grandson who is now 8 and whom she visits every summer. “I would love to see him become a T-bird one day” she says. Torrey’s portrait would not be complete if we didn’t mention what a Nascar enthusiast she is. You can tell by the memorabilia that surrounds her on the walls and shelves of her office, and by the way she talks so knowledgeably of the sport and the races that take place all over US.
Torrey describes her work as Student Affairs Coordinator stating that her role means she is an advocate for students: “Their wellbeing and education is the first priority”. So, she resolves problems and anticipates issues in an attempt to make sure students get the best experience. Throughout the years many students have become very close to Torrey and she boasts: “I am Facebook friends with hundreds of Thunderbirds all over the world… we keep in touch regularly.” “Texting for example” she adds, “most people my age don’t text, they don’t have phones that text or if they do they have no idea how to use them. I text all the time when I work with TSG.”
“I love working with the students. They are always interesting; they all have these great stories from all over the world. They are smart and they keep me young.” Prior to coming to Thunderbird, her experience included working for the school district in the administrative offices with no contact with students. “That made the difference here, the constant interaction with students is one of the reasons I never want to leave” she adds. “I love Thunderbird and the Thunderbird Mystique and even if I am a staff member I am a Thunderbird too.”
One of the biggest achievements of her office involves the personalized booklets that graduates receive at their information session, when they transition from students to alumni. What was once a series of colored print-outs, were bound into a book with all the information: “This changed everything. It is more professional, it is personalized, and it represents Thunderbird customer service through the personal touch.” This practice is now being used in Foundations and many other initiatives as well.
Torrey reminds us how important it is to have a strong and representative TSG team. Her inspiring parting words were: “Thunderbirds have the opportunity to lead people, to go on and to do great things. I’d like to think that I’ve had a part in providing you some guidance towards that leadership goal.”
Thank you Torrey for all the love you put into your work, for being an amazing support and inspiration all in one.