Wilson Garone, the newly appointed chief financial officer (CFO) of Santa Clara University, discusses the values-based leadership he brings to the role. Garone, who transitioned from the for-profit to the nonprofit sector four years ago, has a strong desire to impact the lives of young adults in higher education. As part of his priorities, he aims to hire for open positions and improve efficiency in university processes. Garone believes that sustainability aligns well with Jesuit values and the university’s commitment to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ document. He mentions that Santa Clara University is making progress in its sustainability initiatives, particularly in transitioning its endowment investments to more sustainable and alternative energy options.
While Garone acknowledges that there may be challenges and financial pressures associated with achieving the university’s sustainability goals, he believes that Santa Clara University is moving in the right direction. He emphasizes the importance of making thoughtful decisions that consider the cost and impact on students, who ultimately finance the university. Garone notes that the institution has made significant progress, such as achieving carbon neutrality through the purchase of carbon credit offsets. However, he also recognizes that certain factors, such as industry dynamics, influence the pace of progress. Garone hopes that disruptive changes in various industries will lead to more sustainable practices and options for compliance with sustainable initiatives in the marketplace.
In summary, Garone’s values-based leadership and experience in higher education drive his priorities as CFO of Santa Clara University. He aims to make strategic hires, streamline processes, and promote sustainability initiatives that align with Jesuit values and the university’s commitment to Laudato Si’. While acknowledging challenges and financial pressures, Garone believes that the university is making progress and emphasizes the need to focus on what can be controlled while hoping for market-driven changes towards sustainability.