Valerie A. Jones ’94
Executive Director of Alumnae Relations
I’m a proud Bennie from the class of 1994, a time of flannel shirts, hair scrunchies and grunge music. I double majored in French and philosophy and bought my first pair of Birkenstocks in honor of my senior year at Saint Ben’s. I’m proud to say that my liberal arts degrees gave me the skills and opportunities that allow me to say I’ve never been unemployed and have always held jobs that I’ve loved. In addition to my BA degree from Saint Ben’s I also have a master’s degree in women’s studies and wrote my thesis on Catholic women who prepared and served funeral dinners as a form of faith and volunteer expression.
I enjoyed a 20-year career in the nonprofit sector before coming back to Saint Ben’s to work in Alumnae Relations. I love being on campus and still get a thrill out of meetings that take place in the turret of the Main Building … and the smell of the lobby in Main. It’s like coming home every time I walk in the doors. I clearly take a liberal arts approach to my hobbies and culinary tastes, since I enjoy crafts, live music, football (Go Pack!), gardening, reading and foods from every corner of the planet. My husband, dog, family and friends keep me grounded and give me inspiration.
I am obsessed with the Hidden Brain podcast and get a kick out of personality traits and inventories. I am an INFJ, Green, Visionary and Imaginative, depending on the inventory tool. My StrengthsFinder strengths are connectedness, input, learner, intellection and strategic. I have some expertise in volunteer management, strategic planning and group facilitation. I think my colleagues would say that I am a good listener, always know how to ask a good question and am pretty chill most of the time.
I work at Saint Ben’s because education for women is critical in order to solve the wicked problems that persist locally, nationally and globally. I think Bennies in particular are well equipped and well positioned to be the leaders at all levels who will solve these problems. Bennies know how to think critically, lead courageously and advocate passionately. It’s my great privilege to serve Bennies wherever they are in the world.
Anne Sumangil ’99
Director, Alumnae Relations and Coach, Dance Team
I was born and raised in the Twin Cities to immigrant parents. I graduated from Saint Ben’s with a degree in management and minors in Spanish and accounting. While in college, I received theater, piano and academic scholarships. I was on the CSB Dance Team, involved with the Asian Students Association and performed in a couple of Theater Department productions. After Saint Ben’s, I went on to receive a master of education degree in human resource development from the University of Minnesota.
I work at CSB to pay it forward. When I toured Saint Ben’s as a high school student, I had that moment that everyone describes when “I just knew I was home.” After many years working in alumni relations at other schools, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to work for CSB. I feel fortunate that I get to work with the best alumnae in the world. I especially love watching our alumnae support future and current Bennies by providing gifts for scholarships.
I have expertise in event planning, public speaking, mentorship/career development, networking program management and etiquette.
Outside of work, I enjoy dance – teaching it and learning it. You may occasionally see me in flash mobs or performing hip hop with my studio dance class. I’m a licensed Zumba instructor and teach a class on campus. I practice yoga, as well. I also run a small business as an etiquette instructor. And, when I can, I enjoy traveling.
My colleagues would say that I am a bedazzled Tasmanian devil. Translation: I’m a high achiever who also likes to have fun while I work and I don’t shy away from rhinestones and sequins. I’m a very social person and enjoy meeting people and learning about them.
StrengthsFinder strengths: communication, woo, achiever, activator, harmony | |
MBTI: ESFJ (extraversion, sensing, feeling, judging)
Inventories: yellow, red, green, blue (Insights)
Assistant Director, Alumnae Relations
I grew up mostly in the White Bear Lake area and graduated from Winona State in 2009 with a degree in English Literature. I spent my last semester of college studying abroad in Australia, which inspired my love for travel. When I returned, I went on to earn my master's degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at MSU-Mankato. I have worked in higher education for over 7 years in many different positions and can especially appreciate how important each department's role is in providing an amazing educational experience.
There are many reasons why I chose to work for CSB and even more reasons why I love being a part of the Bennie community. After meeting with the amazing Alumnae Relations staff, I knew St. Ben's was not only where I wanted to be, but where I needed to be. The value St. Ben's places on women in leadership, the liberal arts, faith and the community is like nothing I have experienced before. The students, alums, faculty and staff inspire me daily and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have found my home on the alumnae relations team.
My family and friends know me to be a little bit of a "crazy" dog mom, but there is nothing better than spending a rainy day at home with my Red Lab, Nova. I am also food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, and book obsessive.
My StrengthsFinder strengths are Harmony, Futuristic, Arranger, Responsibility, and Positivity.
Alumnae Relations Associate
Raised on a dairy farm in Sauk Centre, MN, I always knew that farming was NOT for me and thought I was bound for something bigger. The College of Saint Benedict was not on my radar when considering higher education, as it was way too close to home. I wanted and needed to expand my wings as far away as possible, and that's when I landed at Mankato State University. I know...that's not too far away, but it was for me back then.
I graduated from MSU with a degree in Business Education and Speech Communication where I discovered a love for higher education when I took leadership roles in the campus Residence Hall Association (RHA). I moved on to colleges in Colorado, Michigan and Texas. I earned an M.Ed. from Texas Tech University and have taken on numerous opportunities to live and learn in residence life, student judicial services, new student orientation, academic advising, disability services, regulatory compliance, accreditation and institutional advancement.
After landing in Minneapolis, I met and married...you guessed it...a farmer from Sauk Centre. For the first two years of our marriage, we lived two hours apart while we tried selling my house in Minneapolis. Ultimately, we bought a house in St. Cloud so that we could see each other ever night, and with that came our daughter Lauren and a desire for me to work more locally. I secured a part-time position at SJU Institutional Advancement and another part-time position at the Liturgical Press. I'm blessed now to be full-time with CSB alumnae relations and am having the time of my life!!
Like so many alums, CSB/SJU is home to me! There's nowhere else I'd rather be!
StrenthsFinder: strategic, achiever, responsibility, learner, consistency
MBTI: ISTJ (introvert, sensing, thinking, judging)