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Saying Yes – Dr. Amy Wood’s Dragon Story

In Honor of Women’s History Month

By Matthew Early

Like many members of the Dragon Family, Dr. Amy Wood, Tiffin University’s Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success has never been one to shy away from new opportunities, no matter the risks or hard work associated with them. Because of this, Amy has garnered a well-earned reputation as a go-getter, so to speak. She completes each task assigned no matter the circumstances, even if it requires learning something new on the fly. This willingness to rise to the occasion has served her well during her long tenure at TU. According to her however, there is another cause for this ambition. Amy claims that as a woman, she has often had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to be offered a seat at the proverbial table, and asserts that this remains an unfortunate reality for many female professionals.

It is for this very reason stories such as hers deserve to be highlighted, and what better time to do just that than during Women’s History Month? It was an honor to sit down with Amy and hear of her impressive story, and it is our hope that by sharing it, others will be inspired to further advocate for workplace equality both in honor of this holiday and year-round. 

According to Amy, she had the privilege of being exposed to a positive female role model very early in life through her mom, who inspired her in ways she didn’t fully realize until well into adulthood. 

“I didn’t know the extent of her sacrifice until much later – as a kid, you don’t really think about that sort of thing,” said Amy. “She often worked night shifts, longer hours in order to be there for us kids when it really counted. When one of us had a basketball game or received an award, she made a point to be there, even if it meant she was exhausted from the night before. She fought so hard for what really mattered, and in retrospect, I think that’s where I get it from, in part.”

Amy also opened up about the importance of maintaining a close-knit circle of support, especially for women in the workplace. For her, she maintains a small, yet intimate circle of female friends.

“I can trust them with anything and they would say the same,” she reminisced. “While many of us are in different fields, we stay in close contact – group texts, Zoom calls, etc. We’re there for each other at the drop of a hat, no matter if the news is good or bad. It’s refreshing to belong to such a loyal, non-judgmental circle. There’s no competition, no animosity when one of us succeeds. We celebrate together, and I think that’s something from which others could learn. In a world where the odds are still stacked against us in many ways, it’s crucial for women, especially women in the workplace, to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down.”

In this moment, Amy touched on a sad, yet accurate sentiment. The odds are still stacked against females in the workplace in many respects. In Amy’s own words, “We’ve come a long way as a society, but there’s a longer road ahead as well.”

When asked, Amy said that she rediscovered a home at TU by happenstance. Having completed her undergraduate degree in business here, she then went on to get her masters’ in business and Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University and Capella University, respectively. Originally wanting to pursue a career in human resources, she had no clue she would ultimately settle in higher education administration.

“My first job out of school before I got my doctorate was managing a Family Video franchise – that’s a pretty far cry from what I’m doing now,” she said with a laugh. “At the time, my work schedule didn’t align with that of my husband, whom I happened to meet while we were students at Tiffin University. I wanted to spend more time with him, so it was time for a career change.”

According to Amy, this pivot was made possible by a former TU professor of hers, who happened to be the University’s Director of Human Resources at the time.

“When I applied for the Financial Aid Counselor position, she advocated for me, having already seen what I could do from my time as a student,” she said. “This opened the first of many doors for me at TU, and I’m forever grateful. I’ve always wanted to learn as much as I can; I’m naturally curious, so each time I wanted to educate myself about my own position or the inner workings of another department, TU happily showed me the ropes. I firmly believe I wouldn’t have gotten that anywhere else, even in academia.”

Now in her third year as a Vice President, Amy remains grateful to the people at TU for looking beyond her gender, for seeing her as someone with an insatiable curiosity, a natural drive to help others, especially students, and for rewarding her hard work. With each promotion offered, Amy said “yes,” and met each new challenge head-on.

“I hope every woman, no matter her position chooses to fight for it, the ‘it’ being whatever she wants either personally or professionally,” she said. “You need to want it, and you definitely have to put in the work to achieve it in this world, but please don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ like I did. Let those negative voices in your head go silent, find a good system of support, and take the chance. You never know what might come from learning something new. Hopefully someday, no one will have to put in twice the work for a seat at the table, but this won’t happen unless we work together toward change.”

Even at an institution that prides itself on providing substantial and equal opportunities for all, there is and will always be room for introspection and improvement. Change is often uncomfortable, but people don’t grow through inactivity. Nothing ever gets done by maintaining the status quo. So, take a page from Amy’s book – say “yes” to shattering glass ceilings wherever you find them so that someday, all women will be able learn something new simply because they want to, not because they have to.