Executive-in-residence Combines the Theoretical with the Practical

Stephen F. Meyer ’80 brings real-world insights and experiences to enhance the development of Alma College students.

After recently completing a more than 30-year career in corporate leadership, Stephen F. Meyer has some sage words of advice for college students contemplating their business careers.

“First, find a mentor,” he says. “Find someone who has been where you want to go, someone you can trust and ask questions.

“Secondly, plan and love to work hard,” he says. “When you are passionate about what you are doing, the hours fly by. Passion combined with hard work is an unstoppable combination, and it improves the likelihood of success.

“Finally, understand how incredibly challenging a career in business can be. There will be times when you face amazing opportunities and difficult problems to solve. For me, the creative thinking, problem solving and leadership tools I gained at Alma College were critical to helping me advance at times when others found it difficult to move forward.”

Meyer, a 1980 Alma College graduate and the recent past president and CEO of Welch Allyn, a global producer of medical diagnostic products, will return to his alma mater this fall as Alma College’s first Executive-in-Residence.

Bringing the World to Alma College

The Executive-in-Residence Program was established to bring seasoned leaders to engage in the day-to-day life of the campus, teach classes and advise students on both academic and professional perspectives as they consider career choices. A hallmark of the EIR will be one-on-one counseling sessions in collaboration with the Center for Student Opportunity.

“We have successful alumni all over the world who have amazing experiences to share with our students,” says President Jeff Abernathy. “With the EIR program, we are bringing the world to Alma College. As the inaugural EIR, Steve Meyer will teach, reach out to students, speak to families, collaborate with faculty and network with alumni.

<em>Stephen Meyer: "Passion combined with hard work is an unstoppable combination, and it improves the likelihood of success."<br><br></em>Stephen Meyer: "Passion combined with hard work is an unstoppable combination, and it improves the likelihood of success."

“In his role as EIR, Steve will help other alumni see the importance of providing internship opportunities for our students,” says Abernathy. “He will be a resource for our students — someone who can give guidance and advice.”

Steve’s involvement with Alma in some ways carries on the legacy of his father, Stephen Meyer Jr., who was Alma College’s vice president for finance and management from 1967 to 1982. With his father working in the Reid-Knox Administration Building, Steve literally grew up in the campus community.

“My family has been involved with Alma well over 50 years,” says Steve. “I take pride that I’m able to continue to remain engaged, as the college and Alma community have had an important impact on my life.

“I love the fact I’m a small-town kid, who left Alma with my degree and followed my dream,” he says. “I came to Alma with an interest in science and the thought of a medical career. I took what I learned, eventually got an MBA, and leveraged my major in biology into a career focused on the medical device business.”

Sharing Practical Knowledge for Career Success

His career at Welch Allyn began in sales and led to a series of leadership positions, including chief global business officer, president and chief executive officer. He continues to serve on multiple corporate boards and oversees his own limited liability company, River Marsh Capital, whose focus is on placing investments in technologies to improve healthcare. He has been a member of the Alma College Board of Trustees since 2006, serving a three-year term as board chair.

Meyer, who provided counsel in the development of the EIR program, hopes the program will be sustainable to allow the college to engage other business alumni to come back on a volunteer basis and share practical knowledge about how they achieved career success. Individuals who fill the role of Executive-in-Residence are classified as administrators (non-faculty) who report to the Provost.

In addition to mentoring activities and teaching during the Fall 2016 term, Meyer will co-teach the “Plaid Returns” Spring Term course, in which alumni in the business world return to campus to share their career paths with students, in May 2017.

Story published on March 31, 2016