Connection is a word Susan Mucciarone uses more than once when she describes why she feels inspired to give to Weatherhead. It’s also a philosophy that she explored during her studies, practices in her work and has infused into her philanthropic gifts. Mucciarone graduated from Weatherhead in 1984, earning an MBA that would help launch her into the next phase of her career and ultimately take her away from Cleveland. But her connection with the school remained, and even in the early years of her professional life, she continued to give what she describes as modest gifts as a way to stay engaged. In time, Mucciarone strengthened her involvement and is now a member of Weatherhead’s Visiting Committee and the Case Western Reserve University Board of Trustees. In 2016, she was awarded the Weatherhead Outstanding Alumna Award and this year, she established the Susan P. Mucciarone Scholarship to be awarded to a Weatherhead student with a strong interest in sustainability and entrepreneurship.
Sustainability and entrepreneurship are two key principles that Mucciarone says have served her well in her career. She is currently the Director of Private Client Relationship Management at the Glenmede Trust Company and formerly served as the Executive Vice President and Senior Managing Director of Wells Fargo Family Wealth. She has been involved in building businesses from scratch and facilitating full turnarounds, all while ensuring companies created value for clients and were good stewards of both financial capital and other resources. “I believe sustainable value creation and having the sense of entrepreneurship puts you in an ownership mindset, whether or not you create your own business or are part of a larger organization,” Mucciarone says. “It’s about stewardship, commitment and engagement and leaving the place better than how you found it. It’s an honor to perpetuate those ideals in the form of this scholarship.”
It was with this experience behind her that Mucciarone says a lightbulb went off when she saw Weatherhead’s commitment to sustainable value through its Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. “I was able to connect those dots when I was talking to Chris Laszlo about AIM2Flourish and became re-acquainted with David Cooperrider’s work in Appreciative Inquiry, and of course with the Fowler Center,” she says. “To discover that very strong point of connection in terms of how I had conducted myself and my career and the ideals and principles that were being taught in the business school here, was enlightening.”
Along with these shared values, Mucciarone was also inspired by her interactions with the students and alumni she encountered through her work on the Visiting Committee. “Every time I returned to the campus, I was amazed by how inspired I felt by the energy of the campus and by my interactions with students,” she says. Additionally, Mucciarone was motivated by Celia Weatherhead and her family’s continued support of the school’s initiatives and by getting to know Case Western Reserve President Barbara Snyder. “That personal aspect made a difference,” she says.
The personal, human side of business is a subject that stood out for Mucciarone even during her time as a student at Weatherhead. As an accounting undergraduate who was working in finance, she describes her organizational behavior course as a bit of a sanctuary and a wonderful compliment to her technical studies. “As a person who was very technical with a quantitative background, the degree of importance in communication, inter-personal aptitude and the strength of empathy and emotional intelligence made a very strong impression on me, early on,” she says.
What began as lessons in human communication and empathy and was reignited by connections with students, alumni and leadership, returned in the form of a scholarship nearly 35 years later. In the end, for Mucciarone, it was “the personal connections, the joy and vitality of the campus and the students I experienced that inspired me to establish this scholarship.”