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Dean's Circle


Dean's Circle Member Spotlight ~ Audrey Southard

Audrey Southard ('85 MGMT) remembers being inspired, mentored, and encouraged by the faculty while a student at NIU. She says the leadership opportunities she was provided laid the foundation for, and set her on the path towards, a successful career. Now a Senior Vice President at Follett, Audrey wants to ensure today's students have access to the same quality of faculty she experienced. That's why Audrey is a member of the President's Circle and putting her donations towards retaining and recruiting faculty by establishing a Faculty Excellence Fund in Management. "I recognize that NIU is where I got started - it's my payback. Faculty took the time with me and they inspired me," shares Audrey. Her donations invest in faculty research and innovation, which is a top priority in the College of Business. They are also just one way Audrey pays back; she speaks in classes and to student organizations, serves on the College of Business Board of Executive Advisors, serves on the Management Department Advisory Council, and hires NIU interns and graduates. Audrey hopes to inspire others to do the same.

As Senior Vice President of Business Process Reengineering at Follett, Audrey is driving change on several key initiatives. Reporting to the CEO of Follett and the President and COO of Follett Higher Education Group, she is working to bring all of their businesses together on a number of company wide efficiency projects, while maintaining their mission to ensure student success -the same mission she has when supporting NIU.

Audrey joined Follett Higher Education group in 1999 and served as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for 14 years. She started her career at Nabisco Brands and later served as director of HR at the Chicago Tribune. In 2007 she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Department of Management at NIU.

An avid Huskie fan, Audrey attended the Orange Bowl and she requires her entire family to cheer on her favorite team. Growing up in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, she is also a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.

With Follett Higher Education Group managing over 930 campus bookstores in North America, Audrey's life dream is to secure NIU as a client, making the Holmes Student Center bookstore a Follett store. "I have seen first hand the benefits of a world class campus store and would be thrilled to see that at Northern."