For many friends and members of ACHE, Ynez Henningsen has become the face and voice of our organization. Through her tireless efforts as our home office Operations Manager and Executive Secretary, Ynez has served as the main point of contact for the Association over the past eight years. Since ACHE is a volunteer-led organization, the person who sits in the Operations Manager’s seat has a role in everything that happens in the organization. For that reason, Ynez says, she has had to always be thinking simultaneously about both the big picture and the minute-to-minute details. Ynez has committed herself to the Association and to the field of continuing education as a whole, which is shown even through her pursuit and completion of a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education with a focus on serving military-connected students. This week, ACHE bids her farewell as she prepares to move to Cleveland, Ohio, with her family.
Ynez joined ACHE in 2008 when University Outreach at the University of Oklahoma was awarded the home office contract for the association. As a national organization with a network that encompasses continuing education leadership across the United States and Canada, Ynez expected the experience of working with ACHE to expand her skill set and knowledge of continuing and higher education administration. What she didn’t expect was the impact her presence at ACHE would have on the association.
“I inherited an organization that used paper accounting ledgers to track finances and an Access database to manage membership, which was completely the norm for many small associations in the mid 2000s,” she said. “But we’ve had to learn to do more with less in order to compete, and I’ve had the support of my leadership at every step of the way as I’ve tried out new and different technologies, modes of collaboration, and ways to connect members so they can continually grow as professionals. From social media to a cloud-based association management system... from webinars to using Google Apps: our teams are now able to work better together regardless of distance. Things that were not possible 10 years ago for this organization are now the standard,” Ynez said.
“Ynez is the type of boss that allows you to run with ideas and fully supports you on your professional and educational goals,” said Rebekah Law, who served as ACHE Operations Assistant from 2009 to 2012 and who is taking the role of Interim Operations Manager. “As a result, I was able to get my master’s and to launch into my own career. Now, I get the privilege to come back and be the interim in Ynez’ place. I get to profit from the system that Ynez has largely built. I told Ynez just this week that most people get complacent in a job after 8 years, but it is obvious by processes she has created that she’s always thinking about what can be better.”
Relationships with the people in the organization are what Ynez says she’ll miss most. “Without a doubt, my favorite part of working with ACHE has been the people I’ve had the privilege to get to know,” she said. “They are remarkable servant leaders who care deeply about adult and non-traditional students. They often toil with few resources and little thanks, but they carry on because the work they do matters so much.”
Thank you, Ynez. Good luck and a fond farewell. Your service to ACHE and the field is a significant legacy you have given us who are professionals in continuing education. May your new start be as bright as your work has been for us.