Women Making an Impact: Corinna Fisher

Corinna FisherMarch is Women’s History Month around the world. It is a time to honor the contributions of women to society and to recognize their accomplishments throughout history. Women’s History Month has its roots in International Women’s Day, which was first observed in 1911. In the United States, Women’s History Month was first recognized in 1987 and has since been an important occasion for highlighting the achievements of women in various fields, including the many fields found within the Penn State Outreach organization.

As we take time to reflect on the month, we’d like to provide an opportunity to highlight women across our organization who are a true inspiration in their fields.

We recently sat down with Corinna Fisher, associate director of Conferences and Institutes (C&I), to learn about how she’s making an impact in her role. Here’s our talk:

Tell me about your role with Penn State Outreach.

I supervise four of our program managers and, in conjunction with Lindsay Miller, the director, I also provide operational and strategic leadership and best-practices guidance to the entire team. Our staff currently includes ten program managers and seven program coordinators, plus three of us on the leadership team. I see my role as being primarily about supporting our staff in whatever they may need each day, be it factual input about policy, ideas for their events and projects, and personal support to them as individuals and human beings.

How does your work impact the communities within Penn State Outreach?

We partner with other units in Outreach, including the Outreach Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity, the Readiness Institute, JASI, and more, when they need our expertise in event planning and compliance. It’s a particular pleasure to support our sibling units in this way. Outreach units are our biggest supporters, and they are always there to help and support us in our work. I like to believe that we’ve shown an open-door policy to Outreach units, in that they know they can “stop by” to ask questions about compliance, get advice and ideas for events and programs, and rely on us to be there for them when they need our services. C&I’s portfolio of programs is large and ever growing, but providing services and assistance to Outreach will always be a top priority for us, regardless of how busy we might be.

How do you hope to see your position grow during your time with Penn State?

Our team continues to grow at a fast pace as the community at large discovers our services. Recently, we started working with Special Olympics of Pennsylvania — a huge program that requires many staff hours and is incredibly rewarding. C&I also manages many youth programs at University Park, which includes an immense amount of compliance knowledge and on-the-ground details and labor. We continue to gain new programs, as well as see return business from loyal and satisfied customers. As a result, I see our team continuing to grow and our portfolio of program types continuing to diversify. It is incredibly rewarding to always be learning about new types of programs and new types of customers and their needs, and to be helping to support a team of dedicated event planners who are always learning and growing their skill sets.

What about your work makes you most proud?

I could not be prouder of the amazing team we have at C&I. We don’t choose our colleagues, but we spend so much time with each other in the workplace that having a supportive, kind group of people to collaborate with every day makes such a huge difference in terms of job satisfaction and productivity. Our staff members at C&I have good hearts. We help each other, and we come together when a project requires many hands. We have developed a culture where we pool our resources to benefit everyone on the team and create an atmosphere where people feel supported and valued. I would say that perpetuating a culture of kindness and support in the office is one of the main priorities for me when I think about how I show up every day.

What advice would you offer to individuals who are interested in making a greater impact in their respective fields?

Focus on building strong relationships with everyone with whom you come into contact. At the end of the day, it’s the people we work with who are our greatest strength. Remembering to practice self-care and building a healthy personal life apart from work is also important. To me, that means giving my all to every aspect of my work and also to the parts of my life that provide peace and strength outside of the office.