Augostini and Mendola discuss change and integrated financial planning at LITS Town Hall

LITS employees at the Town Hall.

In his first address to LITS, Executive Vice President Chris Augostini expressed delight in the number of LITS employees who attended the event at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Over 300 LITSers came out in perfect fall weather and were treated to a program that also included a positive report from CIO Rich Mendola, as well as a stirring performance from the student a capella group Aural Pleasure.

The event was the third packed house in a row for the PATH Committee, which added new members in its second year. Shoba Mallik, PATH Chair for 2019-20, emceed the event along with co-chair Keith Covert.

Augostini thanked LITS employees for their service to Emory’s academic mission and asked them to stay the course while Emory undertakes the difficult task of simultaneously replacing its president and provost. “Change is something that we all must be prepared for,” said Augostini. “There’s no group in the university that knows more about that than this group. Stay committed to your core function, continue to do the outstanding work that you do, and most importantly, enjoy the privilege of being part of such a great university.”

Chris Augostini.

The topic of integrated financial planning dominated most of Augostini’s presentation. He said that this plan improves the management of Emory’s resources, increases efficiency and transparency, and allows the Board of Trustees to see and understand all resources upon which they make decisions.

Mendola discussed LITS’ stewardship in a sea of change at Emory. He highlighted the strengths of the division with stable leadership, engaged employees, contemporary systems, and high marks from customers and patrons. “We plan to stay committed to the strategic pillars,” said Mendola. “They are good guideposts to keep us pointed in the right direction.”

“Recruiting and maintaining a diverse workforce is something we can never take our eyes off of,” said Mendola about stewardship of the division. “It is the root of our success.” He also discussed the challenges of staying innovative, engaging the structural challenges in higher ed, supporting integrated financial planning, and fully leveraging the benefits of cloud technology.

Rich Mendola and Chris Augostini await questions from Keith Covert and Shoba Mallik.

After Mendola’s presentation, the two leaders took questions that were submitted to the PATH committee and read by Mallik and Covert. One question that particularly excited Chris Augostini was regarding the value of LITS’ efficiencies of work being realized in other parts of Emory. The hope from the questioner was that LITS would receive future funding to help create future efficiencies across the enterprise. Said Augostini, “That question frames perfectly what we are trying to get at with integrated financial planning.”

Employees were treated to a prize raffle, meal vouchers for the Dobbs Common Table in the new Emory Student Center, and live music from the student group Aural Pleasure, which included a medley of Beatles songs. Augostini shared a funny anecdote about a time that he was at a dinner sitting next to Paul McCartney and how star-struck the experience made him.

Rob Renner concluded the event by discussing plans for improving awards, including the Significant Contribution Award, in LITS. He invited anyone wishing to serve on the awards planning committee to contact him at rrenner [at] emory [dot] edu.

Aural Pleasure.

The PATH Committee this year is made up of the following employees: Cecilia Bolich, Maya Cody, Keith Covert (Co-Chair), Maria FlowersBrooks, Dawn FrancisChewning, Susan Henschen, Solomon Hilliard, Shoba Mallik (Chair), Sharon Mason, Wade Moricle, Kim Powell, Rob Renner (Advisor), Linda Robertson, Beverly Turner, and Leslie Wingate (Advisor).

PATH invites you to provide feedback about the event, whether you attended or not, by taking this survey. You can also use the survey to ask additional questions for Rich which will be answered in a video interview at a later date.

You can watch the program at

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