August 1, 1999
Meet Ann Klein, the woman with a familiar name and, until now, unfamiliar face. Klein, who, incidentally, has no connection to the fashion industry, arrived on campus last month as President Scott Cowen's chief of staff.
Like Cowen, Klein hails from Cleveland and, in fact, has been the new president's only external appointment to his administration. "It's an incredible opportunity for me because I know something about Tulane and its outstanding reputation nationally," says Klein, who has a surprising connection to the university. "I came very close to going to Newcomb, even was offered a scholarship," she says. "But life takes funny turns and I ended up at Chatham College in Pittsburgh."
Klein, who must now be experiencing one of those "funny turns" as she learns both a new job and a new city, seems eager to embrace both Tulane and New Orleans. Single with two adult sons, who live in Atlanta and Las Vegas, Klein seems genuinely interested in exploring her new city. A visit by one son during her first week in town had Klein asking where to go to get "real New Orleans food."
As for her job, Klein characterizes it as "a challenging position that is somewhat unstructured." As chief of staff and a member of the president's cabinet, she will be working with Cowen and senior administrators on internal projects, as well as on fundraising and external relations.
"I'll have the chance to deal with many different constituencies of the university, including students," she says. "That is part of what makes the job exciting."
Klein, who has been a colleague and friend of the Cowens for more than 15 years, has a diverse administrative background. In 1982, she joined the Weatherhead School of Management to implement the school's new career and planning placement office. In that capacity she reported to Cowen, who at the time was the school's associate dean.
Klein left the Weatherhead school in 1985, to take a position as assistant to the chairman of the board of Premier Industrial Corp, a New York Stock Exchange electronics and industrial distribution company. Her role in the company gave her the opportunity to tackle internal tasks such as employee relations and several human resource functions, but also had an external component that included community and foundation relations.
During her 11 years with the company she remained in professional contact with Cowen, who was a member of Premier's board of directors. When, in 1996, Premier merged with a British company and her position was terminated, Klein moved to the Jewish Family Service Association, where she served as director of community relations and development.
Her professional involvement in a non-profit agency was a natural progression for Klein, who has been involved in a variety of community service organizations in Cleveland, such as Bellefaire JCB, a residential treatment center for children and adolescents, Midtown-Cleveland, an economic development organization, and United Way Services.
Not unlike the man she followed to New Orleans, Klein seems to possess a cheerful demeanor and irrepressible enthusiasm. She also possesses an interesting insight to the new president. "I've seen Scott work in the Cleveland community," she says. "He doesn't make a commitment unless he believes in it. That he saw such potential for Tulane is exciting."
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