Spring 2019 - EMBA Alumni Spotlight

Dennis Morgan EMBA 17

Dennis Morgan '17 EMBA
Senior Vice President of Children’s Services at Bancroft

Dennis J. Morgan – a 2017 graduate of Villanova’s Executive MBA program – is both a Senior Vice President of Children’s Services at Bancroft – a nonprofit provider of specialized services for individuals with brain injuries, autism and intellectual disabilities – as well as a Captain in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

Q1) What motivated you to join the Pennsylvania air national guard?

When I graduated from King’s College with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Elementary Education and Psychology, I knew that I wanted to further my education.  So in July, 2000, I joined the military for two specific reasons: First, for the honor of serving my country, and second, to take advantage of the educational opportunities that it offered. My experience in the PA Air National Guard has given me so much more than I ever imagined.  I’ve gained immensely in terms of leadership principles and skills, and my time overseas has offered invaluable perspective on life and liberty. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to countries like Kuwait and Afghanistan where I’ve experienced true, raw vulnerability, and I’ve developed an unparalleled allegiance to my colleagues. My time in the military has had a profound and positive impact on my professional life and has helped me grow as a leader.

Q2) What led you to pursue special education and what is it about Bancroft that helps fulfill your purpose in that field?

After college, I was offered a position at the Y.A.L.E. School for children with disabilities, based in New Jersey. In a very short time, I realized I had completely fallen in love with the field of Special Ed. And I could see that dedicated Special Education schools were particularly well-positioned to provide a level of care not generally available in Public Schools. I immediately recognized that I could have a significant impact on the lives of these children and that it was a unique opportunity to truly define my purpose in life. Regarding Bancroft, I would say that I was “in the right place at the right time”. Soon after I joined Bancroft, the organization saw itself at a critical juncture, exploring the need for expansion and investment into the future. It’s been such an honor to lead this organization through the planning and design stages of the organization’s $100 million dollar expansion project that will enable Bancroft to serve the needs of 265 additional children with autism, as well as being able to offer additional onsite housing and a behavior stabilization unit. This new “Raymond and Joann Welsh Campus” is a remarkable site that helps set new standards for special education facilities across the country. Both the campus and the experience are extraordinary, and it helps me pursue the best for our students.

Q3) What has most had an impact on you – personally and/or professionally – from your time at Villanova?

When I was first looking at EMBA programs, it had been about 10 years since finishing my first Master’s Degree.  The typical path in my profession would have been to pursue a doctorate in education. But I knew my role at Bancroft required the type of leadership skills that can best be ascertained from a business degree. So I began researching MBA programs. Our COO at Bancroft was a Villanova grad and he suggested that I check it out. When I visited the school and shadowed a class, I just fell in love with Villanova and the EMBA program and truly felt that I belonged there. For example, in an introductory class, as a way to get to know each other, the professor asked us to introduce the person sitting next to us. Everyone introduced the person sitting next to them in the context of their families and interests. That is, they were all introduced as people, not by profession or title. That had such a profound impact on me. After I joined the EMBA program, I met 28 of the most remarkable people who have now become genuine life-long friends.

Q4) You were recently working on a Social Responsibility project with a group of Villanova MBA students. How did you get involved in this project?

I got involved with this project through our Chief Medical Officer at Bancroft, who earned his undergraduate degree at Villanova.  A former professor of his – who actually taught me as well - asked if I could identify a challenge at Bancroft and help quarterback a project with a team from a Villanova MBA Consulting and Social Responsibility class.

After an initial meeting, I found that this was truly a great group of students, with backgrounds in nursing, legal, marketing and finance. There are many challenges in today’s climate in healthcare - from regulatory and financial challenges to operational and workforce constraints.

Our organization is often battling obstacles to ensure the right care is being delivered at the highest quality, with the best possible employees. As leaders, we can always benefit from additional insight into strategies that may help overcome these hurdles and innovate new systems to improve the care and operations of our programs. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with this group of MBA students and I can’t wait to hear and see the solutions and fresh perspectives they will present.

Interviewed by Anne Krepacki MBA ’87