School of Communication alumna Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson’s experiences as an undergraduate at Florida State University ultimately led her to a successful career in higher education and fundraising.
O’Flannery Anderson is currently serving as Vice President for Advancement and Community Relations at Nova Southeastern University, but it was internship opportunities with the Student Alumni Association and FSU’s distinguished lecture series which allowed her to see how those programs enriched the community and university.
“I had fun, I was academically challenged and I was introduced to lots of new people and thoughts at Florida State,” O’Flannery Anderson said. “I liked (the university environment) so I think that is where I found my groove,” O’Flannery Anderson said.
After graduating with a B.S. in communication in 1989, O’Flannery Anderson began her career at the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in Tampa as an event planner. A few years later, she became the director of university of relations at the University of South Florida, where she furthered her education with a master’s degree.
In 1999, O’Flannery Anderson decided to pursue her doctorate at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in order to advance her career in higher education and temporarily put her career on hold to do a fellowship.
“I got to jump off the carousel and really experience what our graduate students experience,” O’Flannery Anderson said.
After receiving her Ph.D., she became the chief of staff for the president of FAU before stepping away from higher education for a short time to serve as president and CEO of the United Way of Broward County.
“I went there to see if I could run an organization,” O’Flannery Anderson. “It was a great test and I fell in love with it, but my dream was still to work in higher education. I aspire to be a president one day, so I needed to come back to university life.”
O’Flannery Anderson returned to FAU where she served as Vice President for Community Engagement and Executive Director of the FAU Foundation, before her appointment at Nova Southeastern last August.
“The president (of Nova Southeastern) is a clear visionary, has strong leadership and is well respected in the community, so for my role in advancement and community relations, that’s the most important ingredient,” O’Flannery Anderson said.
Last year, O’Flannery Anderson had the privilege of attending the American Council on Education’s “Ascending to the Presidency” conference.
“It was really inspiring and an amazing couple days,” O’Flannery Anderson said. “I still have a lot to learn where I am and I don’t think it will happen any time soon, but it is what I aspire to do. I really look forward to that challenge one day.”