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Keeping It All In Perspective With Rhode Island’s Thorr Bjorn

Guest Thorr Bjorn, University of Rhode Island
20:21 min watch


University of Rhode Island Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn sits down with ADU’s Tai M. Brown at the 2023 NACDA Convention to talk about perspective – as a new grandparent, as a long-tenured AD and as a leader championing up-and-coming staff members. Bjorn discusses the importance of institutional collaboration in fundraising and capital development, noting that the Rams have planned $60M – $80M in transformational renovations over the next 3-5 years with support from the state. Further, Bjorn shares his strategies for collaborating with his staff to position team members for opportunities that align with their long-term aspirations.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - You're a new grandparent; how does that impact your perspective?
  • - How does this new perspective apply everywhere across your life?
  • - A lot of the change you've ushered in at Rhode Island is linked to facilities.
  • - Tell me about the aspect of fundraising linked to getting investment from the state.
  • - When it comes to leadership development for your staff, are there programs that you specifically encourage your staff to participate in?
  • - Is working for you more than just a paycheck?
  • - How do you recruit talent to work for you?
  • - How and where do you find the people that have "it"?
  • - When you tend to hire off "gut feelings," what procedures do you have in place to ensure you're also hiring a diverse staff?
  • - What are the outcomes you want to see when you create a new position?
  • - When someone on your staff reaches a point of taking on too much, do you involve them in the restructuring process?
  • - As a leader, you're tasked with leaving a place better than you found it; how does that influence your perspective as a long-term leader for Rhode Island?