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Ann Bianchi has adapted to many changing policies during her four decades at Cornell, taking the lead on learning new procedures and then communicating them to her staff. Those qualities of flexibility and leadership earned her the Core Value Staff Award for Innovation from Dean Kathryn J. Boor '80 on Oct. 30 in a ceremony celebrating research, extension and staff excellence.

Bianchi is a business manager with forty-plus years in administration, the last eighteen of which she served as business administrator in the Department of Communication. She manages both the Department of Communication and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.

She facilitated the move of the Department of Communication into Mann Library. Now two years after the move, Bianchi still works closely with communication faculty and the CALS Alumni Affairs and Development staff on the capital campaigns to support the renovation.

Bianchi serves as liaison between faculty and administration, deploying her understanding and management of the department budget, her experience and knowledge of hiring best-practices and new hire transitions, commitment to guiding faculty in best-practices and mentoring and supervising administrative staff.

In addition to utilizing her institutional memory of precedent and best-practices, Bianchi also embraces innovation by regularly encouraging her staff to be creative in how they approach projects. When members of her team were seeking an alternative to collecting data on paper, she encouraged looking into Drupal webforms as a solution. Likewise, she enthusiastically supported exploring new social media platforms to reach student audiences.

The Core Value Staff Awards recognize staff whose performance has gone far beyond the standards defined by Cornell’s Skills for Success, recognizing performance that surpasses expectations and makes a significant and/or unique contribution to the college. The award for innovation is presented to a person who sees challenges as possibility and opportunity for progress. This person routinely looks for advancements in processes, products, technologies and ideas, and demonstrates innovative and informed risk-taking.

At the event, Boor thanked Bianchi for her "long and impressive record of service and for demonstrating so thoroughly our institutional values."

► Meet all of our 2017 Research, Extension and Staff Award winners

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