Let’s Talk with Anthology Chief Product Officer JD White

Name: John “J.D.” White

Alma Mater: University of Tennessee at Knoxville, with a Masters and PhD in Student Affairs Administration from University of Georgia

What is your role at Anthology? Chief Product Officer

What brought you to where you are now? Prior to joining Anthology, I was VP of Product Management at Campus Labs, where we focused on the creation of superior, more effective solutions to solve the typical data challenges that most institutions face. I came into the tech aspects of our business directly from the world of higher education, having worked in student affairs for a number of years. During that time, I studied student success and retention, and was really drawn to the use of analytics and technology to support institutional effectiveness. I decided to pursue that further, wanting to have a hand in creating the solutions that solved the challenges I had faced on campus, as well as solving new problems campuses face today.

How are you helping to revolutionize higher education? Through creativity and innovation, and problem solving! I want our solutions to bring new growth opportunities to higher education, and most of all, help students be successful. So, I channel my passion into building products and services that can achieve that goal.

In a recent article, you discussed putting data to use to guide students. Isn’t that something all institutions should be doing? They should be, but many are not equipped to do it in a way that considers every aspect of a student’s journey. Student information is captured from many different sources in a variety of ways—from a student’s choice of major, to a detailed financial aid package, to a swipe of an ID card as they enter a building. Just because the data exists and is stored somewhere on campus, does not mean it is being shared and leveraged to help that student succeed. A system needs to be in place that ties all that data together in a meaningful way. That’s what I consider with each and every one of our products—how can this be used to harness that on-campus data for students and administration alike?

So, you aren’t interested in adding new data points, but rather, collecting and analyzing what is already there? Exactly. We develop products by leveraging the work that is already being done on campus and using it to create new analytic and product experiences that empower institutional and student success. We realize there are a lot of different departments with their own very specific needs and they are all important to the operational success of the institution as a whole. That’s why we have a CRM for Enrollment & Retention, Anthology Reach (formerly CampusNexus Engage), that is entirely different from our CRM for Advancement, Anthology Raise. They are different departments, trying to achieve different things. They should have solutions that are specifically geared toward them. But, that doesn’t mean the data should be kept separate, because it’s still a part of the same story. That’s the great thing about having a product family that integrates through data; we can give each department the exact tool it needs to operate efficiently, but also connect the data for the good of the entire institution. With that level of connectivity and insight all things are possible.

Which of Anthology’s missions & values resonates the most for you? And why? That is a tough, but I am going to say Be Curious. We serve institutions and students who are facing some of the most complex and challenging times in higher education. This value reminds me that we must think about how work to solve some of the challenges that they face.  From recruiting students or helping students compete in job market, these are some of the most competitive and challenging times. If we don’t push ourselves to learn about the challenges that students and institutions face or thing about how we can evolve our work, then we aren’t doing all we can to support their success. 

Do you have a favorite quote or personal mantra? “Attitude is a choice. Think positive thoughts daily. Believe in yourself.” — Pat Summitt

Read JD’s recent article for University Business.

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