As CEO of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions Foundation, Francesca Dea '93 balances the strategic guidance of the society (in partnership with the board of trustees) with practical implementation and operations (working with the staff). That means the former Dickinson College political science major needs to manage a wide range of personalities while providing her staff the information, tools, confidence, security and leadership they need to do their work effectively—all while building relationships with other organizations to strengthen the society's programs and find opportunities for growth. Outside of work, she dedicates most of her time to caring for her two dogs, spending time with friends and traveling.
Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts education helped you in your life?
In the beginning of my career, I held some more traditional jobs in media relations, marketing and education but didn’t have specific training for any of them. Dickinson’s liberal-arts education prepared me for all of it by teaching me how to think strategically, to ask intelligent questions, to identify potential consequences and solutions, and to write. The rest was easy to learn through training on the job.
Today I use those skills, plus the relationship, team and interpersonal skills that I learned at Dickinson through participation in activities outside the classroom. Every day I face a gauntlet of problems that are most often being driven by individual personalities and inherent conflicts. I’m able to identify the root issue and find compromises, resolutions and communication methods to dispel the problems.
Of course, what we learned at Dickinson isn’t the end; we need to remain lifelong learners. I’m certainly not perfect, but I think that the foundation I received along with the understanding that it needs constant nurturing have been the greatest gifts from Dickinson.
What inspired your gift to Dickinson?
Every time I come back to campus I’m reminded of the four years that I lived in Utopia. It was a time of growth, excitement, change, support and love. I made the best friends of my life during my time at Dickinson, and even since graduating, with other alumni. I want to make sure our Dickinson Utopia never disappears.
Why do you feel that it is important to give back to Dickinson?
Simple. I have achieved what I have today because of the life skills and foundation I received from Dickinson. I believe it is right that I give back to support the schools’ ability to do the same for future students.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Dickinson?
It’s a total cliché but absolutely true—there are too many specific memories to count. But whenever I get asked that question the honest answer is my friends. I have the good fortune of a large group of us who have stayed in touch for more than 25 years getting together annually. Through all our personal ups and downs, we are certain in the fact that each person in the group will be there if we ever need anything. And there is a commonality among Dickinson students that’s made it possible for me to develop significant bonds with new friends among alumni from other classes and decades.
What is one piece of advice you would give to today’s students?
Enjoy every minute of your time at Dickinson. Keep your challenges in perspective because life outside of Dickinson can be more difficult without the supportive environment and people. Take advantage of the excellent education, great programs and opportunities to connect with professors. And lastly, cherish and hold your friends close. Everything else will work out later.
Published November 9, 2018