New Employee Spotlight – Shirley Bean

We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.

Shirley BeanPlease tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.
I am joining Green River as Vice President for Business Administration. I have 23 years of experience in the community and technical college system in Washington, in the areas of budget, finance, payroll, purchasing, facilities, and auxiliary services. I am coming to Green River from Highline College, where I have served as the college’s Director of Finance and Auxiliary Services since 2006.

What drew you to apply to Green River?
A number of things contributed to my decision to apply; certainly a key reason was the great reputation that Green River has in our system. Along with that, it was sort of the perfect job that came along at the perfect time – a perfect fit with my values, my skills and my career goals. And the best part was the opportunity to join a stellar group of colleagues doing important work in support of student success.

On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?
I have always had a fairly long commute, so this is an important consideration for me.  In no particular order: E Street Radio or Little Steven’s Underground Garage (satellite radio); KPLU (jazz and local NPR station); my iPod, which features an eclectic mix of artists and genres – Emmylou Harris, The Partridge Family, and the Lumineers are some on my current playlist. I can’t believe I just admitted to listening to the Partridge Family….

What was the very first job you ever had?
My first real job was selling women’s shoes. I progressed from that to driving a fork lift at a home improvement store. My first job in the community college system was as a student worker in the Purchasing Office at South Puget Sound Community College. I joke that I started in the community college system in 1990 and they haven’t been able to get rid of me yet.

What about your new position is most exciting for you?
What has always excited me about working at a community college is feeling that I am contributing to helping people realize their dreams. As someone whose career is administratively focused, I consider it such a privilege to go to work every day and use my skills to make it possible for people to make a better life for themselves, their families and their communities. Along with that, I’m really excited to be part of such a dynamic, student-focused leadership team.

What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?
It’s hard to quantify, because sometimes the biggest accomplishments aren’t readily apparent. At the end of my first year, I’d like to look back and say that I made a strong contribution to the good work that happens every single day in our division and across our campuses. I would consider the year a success if everyone in our division could say that they feel valued, respected and supported in the work they do for students, if our colleagues across campus said that we are a resource and partner that they can rely on, and if our constituents, both internal and external, were satisfied that the physical and financial resources of the college were in good hands.

What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?
Raising ethical, kind, responsible sons, completing my master’s degree (with a 4.0 GPA) while working full time and raising a family, and on a far more shallow note, the one moment of athletic prowess I’ve shown in my entire life: the hole-in-one that I got in 1999 at the Village Greens Golf Course in Port Orchard. People who have seen me golf generally demand that I provide proof of that feat.

If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be?
I have been called “the Tim Gunn of the Finance Office”, because I have been known to say “it’s another make it work moment people”. This is a reference to the reality television show “Project Runway” which I and a number of my friends and colleagues watch without fail and then thoroughly dissect each week. It’s either that or something slightly sarcastic like “Sunshine” since I am annoyingly perky in the morning.

For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?
Darn – I was afraid I’d get asked the hypothetical talent show question. Had I known that this would be a recurrent issue I would have made an effort during my misspent youth to cultivate some form of talent. As it is, I have to say my talents don’t exactly lend themselves to public performance. I am a fairly skilled baker (this summer I am working on perfecting the fruit tart), a dreadful yet earnest golfer (see question #7 under proudest accomplishments) and a darned good speller. Seriously, I was a competitive speller in grade school. Between that and my self-disclosed passion for the Partridge Family, you all are pretty excited I’m here, right?

If G.R.E.E.N. were an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?
Hmmm, how about: “Globally Responsive Excellence in Education Now”…“Guiding Resources to Educate, Empower and Nurture”…or the less gracious but undeniably inspirational “Gator’s Rock, Everyone Else NOT”…


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