People are Priority: Director of Alumni Julie Klingler
Different careers call for different people skills. Some folks have the ability to sit in a cubicle all the livelong day and not yearn for face-to-face communication. Some thrive on not just communication itself, but recognizing the needs – both subtle and otherwise – that go along with it, and providing the necessary skills to meet those needs. Whether for her current position as the new University of Findlay Director of The Wolfe Center for Alumni, Parents and Friends, or for her former positions in higher education, Julie Klingler has the knack for effective communication and then some.
Klingler comes to UF as a native of northwest Ohio. Raised partly in Allen County and currently living in Lima, Ohio, she knows her way around these parts. But, as the child of a military family, she moved around a bit, and the combination of the two familiarities, she said, makes her ideal for her new position. “I enjoy being on the move and spending time with people,” she said. “With the events that I’ll be attending throughout the year and the communication that happens as a result of that, I feel like this position at UF is right where I should be.”
Klingler’s early career had her literally on the move across the country nearly every day for almost 25 years. As a former airline attendant, Klingler was able to hone her people skills on a micro level, allowing for her to set up the broader skills she’d need down the line. With the help of online classes on the way to a Communications degree from Bowling Green State University, she studied wherever she happened to be at the time. While working on the degree, her passion came into focus. “I really started thinking that I could make a difference in higher education,” she said. “I was taken by how attentive faculty and staff were during my studying. They would meet me remotely by Skype, and always supported me to ensure my success. I saw scholarships and the students benefitting from all of these amazing institutional resources and I thought I might be able to make a difference in the lives of others as well.”
When she was about to finish her degree, the airline company for which she worked announced early retirement packages, and she knew she had to take it. “I took the package and began researching where I might fit in in higher ed. while looking for a job at the same time,” she said. I got my foot in the door at Rhodes [State College in Lima] in a human resources position and moved into academic advising shortly thereafter.” She was on her way.
While in the position at Rhodes State, she became familiar with the school that shares a campus with it – Ohio State University at Lima – and some of the people on staff there. “It’s a co-located campus, between the two schools, and so you can’t help but to come across people from both places,” she said. She eventually was recruited by OSU-Lima into a position where she split time between advancement and the dean’s office. That, she explained is where she truly realized her love for both areas and the duties they called for. Eventually, she said, the advancement area got funded to hire a full-time person, cutting down her need to split time. “I loved my work in the dean’s office, but found that I really missed the interactions with donors and the philanthropic side of things.”
So, after an M.B.A. from Bluffton University, learning the on-the-job skills needed for a career in higher education advancement, and a bit of foresight, Klingler applied for and was made the person to take on the Alumni Director position at UF. “With my background in annual giving, donor relations, and program management, this role fits me more than any of the other previous positions I’ve held,” she explained. “I’m excited to immerse myself into the UF culture of giving and philanthropy; the connections and relationship building. All of it.”