Pomona College Magazine
Volume 45, No. 1
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Pomona College Magazine is published three times a year by Pomona College
550 N. College Ave, Claremont, CA 91711

Online Editor: Laura Tiffany

For editorial matters:
Editor: Mark Wood
Phone: (909) 621-8158
Fax: (909) 621-8203

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Email: alumni@pomona.edu
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New Faces / Karen Sisson '79
How to Become Treasurer of Pomona College

By Mark Kendall

1. Learn the value of money. Grow up in the working-class L.A. suburb of Baldwin Park. Watch your single mom struggle to make ends meet while helping to support her ailing parents. Work hard in high school. Choose Pomona in part because the college offers the best financial aid package.

2. See the world. Decide to major in international relations. Study abroad in Mainz. Learn German. Take your first job with Chemical Bank in international banking. Travel frequently throughout Europe and Asia. Discover the large role government plays even in private development and corporate projects.

3. Find your focus.
Realize local government is where you can best “touch people’s lives.” Attend the University of Chicago for your master’s. Pursue an M.B.A., not an M.P.A., because government types keep telling you those skills are most needed in municipal finance. Work at Chicago City Hall while in school.

4. Come home and take off. After time in N.Y., choose to return to SoCal for its less hierarchical, more open culture. Work for the city of Pasadena, L.A.’s redevelopment agency and a consulting firm before landing your first big-time gig as CFO for Los Angeles International Airport. Manage a staff of more than 100 and a budget of nearly $1 billion.

5. Rise to meet a crisis. After 9/11, scramble to respond to rising security costs and falling revenues. Craft a plan to keep airport finances on track, and see the airport stay in the black as airlines suffer huge losses. Celebrate as LAX earns an AA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s—a first for that type of airport bond financing.

6. Heed the call from City Hall. Take a job as finance czar for the mayor of L.A. Earn good press for your straightforward style. Help craft a budget that puts more cops on the streets and watch it pass unanimously. Get promoted to the city’s top nonelected position, city administrative officer. Oversee a $7 billion budget and work 15-hour days.

7. Jump at a new challenge. Get a call from a recruiter after Pomona Vice President and Treasurer Carlene Miller announces plans to retire. Impress the search committee. Make the final cut. Meet with faculty, students and staff. Feel at home back on campus. Realize you really want the job. Get an offer. Take a deep breath. Accept it on the spot.

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by Pomona College
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