Bates in the News: Oct. 27, 2017

Katie Burke ’03

In the battle of the benefits, tactics are shifting — The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe sought out Katie Burke ’03, the chief people officer at HubSpot, for its story on the changing nature of company perks.

Reporter Scott Kirsner says that “offering dazzling benefits,” like beer taps and catered lunches “just for the sake of grabbing a candidate’s attention” isn’t the goal any more. In the Boston area specifically, firms are finding that what workers want most are benefits that create work-life balance.

Katie Burke ’03, chief people officer of HubSpot, speaks about leadership at a recent Boston Bates Business Network event. (Paige Brown ’96 for Bates College)

“The thing we are working the most on for the year ahead is infusing flexibility into our experience,” says Burke. That includes “exploring more remote work options” and “making no travel or minimal travel an option for senior positions.”

Burke notes that while “it’s much easier” for the media “to talk about the new sexy trends” related to employee benefits, “no one talks about the hard, gritty work of training good managers or training people to develop new skills.”

Michael Katz ’84

U.S. healthcare has an immature business model. Here’s how to fix it — The Hill

Michael Katz ’84

Pediatric anesthesiologist Michael Katz, in an opinion piece for The Hill on healthcare reform, says that “Washington’s raging battles over healthcare finance reform are missing a fundamental point.”

The real problem with U.S. healthcare, he says, is the “fundamentally flawed business structure underlying its delivery.”

The answer, he says, is to force the system to evolve through new policies. Maturation means creating “a highly consolidated industry,” rather than the current fragmented one, that “will drive health systems to compete on price.”

A “moral obligation to achieve health equality.”

The goal is not just reducing costs. Replacing the current, expensive “fee-for-service payment model with a value-based system” will give patients “higher-quality, lower-cost care with better health outcomes.”

The imperative to achieve a more-healthy society, Katz says, means that our leaders should feel a “moral obligation to achieve health equality.”

Alexandra Cherubini ’99

The rare equestrian product that hits the mainstream — The Plaid Horse

The horse-show magazine The Plaid Horse interviewed Alexandra Cherubini, owner of the equestrian-products company EquiFit, about ShouldersBack, a posture-improving device she invented in 2001.

Since then, ShouldersBack has “successfully crossed over from the equestrian world to the mainstream market, with mainstream sales exceeding equestrian sales,” says editor Sissy Wickes.

“I love the horse industry, and that’s what we are about,” Cherubini said. “But, it is fun to have a product that crosses over.”

Worn like a vest, ShouldersBack gently encourages equestrians to maintain good posture, which helps horse and rider work together.

EquiFit has since developed “an iconic brand of [horse] boots” known as the T-Boot, “EquiFit’s flagship product…[a] the foamed-lined, non-chafing, washable boot” that is now “de rigueur for equestrians nationwide.”

Jason Fein

The intent of any changes will be to elevate Bates College — Lewiston Sun Journal

When the Lewiston Sun Journal interviewed Jason Fein, the college’s first new director of athletics in a decade, the focus was on any changes that Fein might make.

“I think it’s incremental change,” Fein told Assistant Sports Editor Lee Horton. “When you’re 20th” in the the national Directors’ Cup list of the nation’s best athletics programs, “logic would say don’t come in and try to change a whole lot.”

Director of Athletics Jason Fein stands before a portrait of early-20th century Director of Athletics Royce Purington, Class of 1900, in the lobby of Alumni Gym. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Horton said that the intent of Fein’s changes “will be, of course, to elevate Bates College.”

Fein says the focus is “how can we best support (the coaches) to make the improvements they need to? How do we get from there to there? It’s incremental, which is a cool challenge as opposed to being down here and we want to go up here.”

Ibram X. Kendi

To end racism, focus more on new policy — Maine Public

Before speaking in the Gomes Chapel on Oct. 23, historian and author Ibram X. Kendi spoke with Maine Public’s Nora Flaherty.

Efforts to end racism in American have “focused on trying to educate away the racist ideas” through “education and love.”  The problem is, he said, is that producers of racist ideas tend not to create them out of ignorance or hate but from “economic, political, and cultural self-interest.”

Kendi suggest that when “we think about these mass-produced racist ideas and these mass-produced racist policies…it’s more effective to challenge the policies than it is to educate away these ideas.”

Historically, he says, “we’ve actually been able to undermine racist ideas by undermining racist policies. And I think that’s where we should focus moving forward.”

Founder of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, Kendi won the National Book Award for Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.

This Bates tweet from the Ibram X. Kendi talk on Oct. 23 has been retweeted 421 times, thanks to an initial retweet by social activist and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

Krista Aronson

Solving a parenting challenge with an innovative database of diverse picture books — Lewiston Sun Journal

The Sun Journal profiled Associate Professor of Psychology Krista Aronson, who, with a team of colleagues has created the Diverse BookFinder, a searchable database of diverse children’s picture books.

The purpose of creating the database is about more than finding good bedtime reading.

“There’s a lot of evidence that reading diverse picture books can make it easier for kids to interact across difference, help them develop empathy and better prepare them for our changing world,” Aronson told reporter Lindsay Tice.

For Krista Aronson, an inspiration for a new direction for her research came from her daughter’s relationships with white and Somali children at school. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

 David Gervais

Bates dishwasher raises $105,000 for the Dempsey Challenge — Lewiston Sun Journal

“David Gervais has worked in the college’s kitchens for 39 years, since graduating from Lewiston High School,” writes Sun Journal reporter Kathryn Skelton. “He’s also a Dempsey Challenge fundraiser. A very good one.”

In nine years, Gervais has raised more than $105,000.

Held annually in October, the Dempsey Challenge running and bicycling fundraiser supports the Dempsey Center, which serves, free of charge, anyone affected by cancer.

It’s sponsored by actor, philanthropist, and Lewiston native Patrick Dempsey, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Commencement in May.

He jokes that he and actor Patrick Dempsey are “like that,” crossing his two fingers. “(He’s) super nice,” Gervais told Skelton. “Every year at the (fundraiser) banquets, he would come over and say hi. There were a lot of girls around and they would say, ‘How do you know Patrick Dempsey?’”

David Gervais of Bates Dining Services poses with Patrick Dempsey in October 2016. (Lewiston Sun Journal photo)