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Posted 3.16.06

Weatherheadlines sat down with James Van Doren to discuss cold calling, warm calling, and why after five years of martial arts training, you don’t want to get on his bad side.

Q: What is your job title and how long have you been at Weatherhead?

I’ve been at Weatherhead for almost four years, three of which have been full-time. Officially my title is Open Enrollment Accounts Manager in Executive Education; I’m somewhat of a salesperson but I also advise people on programs and manage the relationships with some of our clients. It's a great role, because I get pulled into everything from marketing to program design. Working in Executive Education I have to be well versed in everything at Weatherhead -- even things like Custom Programs.

I've really enjoyed working in Executive Education because it's so similar to working in the corporate world -- it's fast paced, high energy and we have very specific, demanding goals. I'm motivated every day...and I love working with my Exec Ed team members.

Q: Does you job include cold calling?

Sometimes there is cold calling but it varies. I do some ‘warm calling’ -- contacting people who have expressed interest in programs. I usually get a good response from these executives because they are not used to consultative calls from academia.

Q: What were you doing before Weatherhead?

I worked in executive staffing before Weatherhead. It was pretty in-depth and more than just recruiting. I sometimes wrote job descriptions,and I had to know about everything from environmental engineering to Six Sigma. That place was crazy, but it was a great crucible for experience! People running around with their hair on fire and unbelievable deadlines and expectations. I was in that environment doing a lot of work for companies like GE, Sun Microsystems, and Stanley Works for almost six years.

When I left there, I have to admit that I pursued Case. I saw a blind ad, but I knew it was for Case. Even though it was a lower-level position than I really wanted, I took it to be in Executive Education. I really love the mix of communication and business that executive education gives you.

Q: What about your life outside of Weatherhead?

Life outside of Case? What life? Kidding. I live in Cleveland between Lakewood and downtown. I take the Rapid because it is easier than finding a parking place on campus. And it affords me the chance to relax and read for a while.

Q: What about interests and hobbies?

I volunteer as the Kung Fu instructor at Case, teaching classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Some undergraduate students approached me to launch this organization three years ago, and I have found the experience of working with such a diverse group of students to be very rewarding.

On a personal note, I’ve competed nationally doing forms and full-contact fighting, and internationally on the U.S. team for Shuai Chiao in Tianjin and Paris.

I also love to write – poetry and prose. I’ve even had a couple of poems published. Nothing big, but I think it's cool.

Q: What was the last good book you read, or good book that you are reading now?

I’ve been reading two books – Running with Scissors (Augusten Burroughs) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) -- it’s a bit like a modern day Catcher in the Rye. Oh yeah, I want to mention Reading Lolita in Tehran (Azar Nafisi) which took awhile to get into but it was a great book for putting a face on the Mideast.

Q: What has been your best job or best job experience?

So much of my job blends together. When I’m working with a corporate leader or a VP of leadership development about a potential program, it's very rewarding when the client is completely open with me about what is going on in his/her organization and I can tell him/her how Weatherhead can really help his/her company be more successful.

Q: What about your worst job or worst job experience?

Well, I would say it was when I first came into my role at Weatherhead as a registration coordinator, and open enrollment had just started. We had no idea how much volume we were going to get, and at that time I was not good at saying, ‘this is too much.’ What that taught me was how important communication is internally, and the power of being able to be honest when expectations can’t be met.

Q: If you could do it all over again, what would you do?

I would have finished my degree sooner. My small break from school turned into an 11-year break. Life can take over when we don’t put deadlines on our goals.

Q: What famous person do you share your birthday with?

I don’t know. My birthday is August 4th, and I’m always so focused on me and having birthday cake – which is my favorite thing – I’ve never paid attention.

Q: Name a famous person you are told you resemble or the person who would play you in the movie of your life.

I would want Jake Gyllenhaal to play me because he is so intense. Him or Colin Farrell, they are both so intense and passionate about what they do. And they are such versatile actors. The person I look like is a harder question, because I really don’t want to think about how other people see me. Also I'd like to think that maybe people are saying "you know, you look just like James Van Doren," rather than the other way around. I'm kidding of course... for the most part.

Q: If you knew it was going to be your last meal what would you eat?

Birthday cake, crème brulee, a small portion of prime rib and veggie lasagna – in that exact order.


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