New media, new face on Board

By Lindsey Smith

Macalester’s Board of Trustees has a new member this year. Rebecca Van Dyck ’91 is Facebook’s first Head of Consumer Marketing and spoke with The Mac Weekly this week on her memories of and new plans for her alma mater. The Mac Weekly: What motivated you to join Macalester’s Board of Trustees? Rebecca Van Dyck: I believe deeply in Macalester. I believe that Mac grads make the world a better place. Personally, I know that I would not be who I am today without my experience at Mac. And the more I observe where Macalester is going, [the more] I become increasingly impressed and hopeful about the kind of education Mac is offering future graduates. How will your involvement with Facebook influence the way you make decisions on the Board? I think I’ll be able to provide a new and diverse point of view, which in turn should spark new thinking, debate and conversation. Do you think your extensive marketing history gives you a unique view? I think my experience as a marketer will undoubtedly help me look at Macalester’s perceived offering and “brand image” objectively and help influence how the school represents itself in the world. How will the increased importance of social media help or hinder Macalester’s four pillars in the future? Social media has helped to increase and expedite the flow of information. This can feel overwhelming. On the flip side, it has also provided a unique method of curating content and stories based on whom you trust most (your friends, families, Mac alumni, institutions your associated with, etc). As a result, past and future Mac graduates and staff have the ability to quickly share stories and information, anywhere in the world, about the school’s pillars and actions. As a community, we have more tools that enable us to remain connected and to challenge, help and ensure that these values remain current and active. For example, recently, the news that the board voted to oppose the Minnesota marriage amendment circulated quickly on Facebook and gathered support from both Mac grads and non-Mac grads. In the past, this news would not have been able to get that kind of quick and diverse exposure nor stimulate that kind of immediate conversation. What was the most valuable skill or value that you learned at Macalester? I learned to question my own assumptions and look at the world around me from as many vantage points as possible. I learned that curiosity is an incredible asset. Do you foresee any problems for the college in the future, financial or otherwise? I do. Running a business, organization or institution is challenging and should be. Context and the environment are always changing. I look forward to better understanding these internal and external factors and seeing how I might be able to help. refresh –>