There are not enough words to share with you the bond that has existed over the years between Charlene H.D. Mazer ’67 and Bay Path. Since the day I arrived on campus as president, Charlene has been a trusted friend and advisor. More important, she has been a thread to the past who has helped me appreciate the finely woven connections among alumni, faculty, and staff. And I am proud to say we have made history together. In 2004, she became the first woman Chair of Bay Path’s Board of Trustees and the first alumna. From Stanpak, the successful company she ran with her husband, to her wonderful family, Charlene has pursued life with spirit and zest. For all her endeavors, I was pleased to bestow on Charlene the Service Award in 1996, and most recently the Bold Woman Award at Reunion 2017. Truly, she epitomizes our University’s motto—Carpe Diem—Seize the Day!
Could you share a bit about your life journey and career?
My life’s journey is intensely intertwined with Bay Path; I suspect my DNA has an extra BPU gene. In many ways, there is a kaleidoscope in my life’s memory bank of images and feelings of Bay Path that have focused and shaped me into the woman I am today. Bay Path gave me the opportunity to grow and learn as a young person. It is where I began to appreciate my intellectual and leadership capacity, which I didn’t know I had, and the responsibility that leadership requires.
As my kaleidoscope kept moving onward with time and growing with experiences and images, the focus of Bay Path kept moving forward as well. The memories of mentoring by our beloved Dean Marcia Conrad are always there, too, holding a special place for me. I was asked to join the Board of Trustees in 1995, and the resulting opportunity to work with Dr. Carol Leary was a huge honor. I was in awe of the brilliance of Dr. Leary’s vision to recreate Bay Path into the institution it is today. I must admit, with great humility, I am most proud of the fact that I was asked to serve as the Chair of the Board of Trustees at Bay Path College. This distinction was, and always will be, a profound moment in my life. Though a deeply personal honor, I felt it also honored all the women of Bay Path who came before me and will continue to follow into the future. As an alumni member and Chair of the Board, it was also a statement of the seriousness of purpose Bay Path women have made to their communities and to their professional fields. Please note, I am aware that men are now integral members of the graduate programs of Bay Path, and are honored alumni as well.
What are you most proud of in your career?
My professional career was always a balance of family (whom I treasure), and hard work. My husband—whom I met my VERY FIRST weekend at Bay Path—and I worked together during my entire professional career. We had our own business, and 12-to- 14-hour days were normal. We were creating new ideas, and leveraging new technologies to find solutions relevant to the distribution industry. Our company was in the vanguard of software developers to offer operational solutions to the industry. The company grew quickly, and we served clients from London, England, to Guam. Although I did not write software programs, with my background in biostatistics I helped create the use of forecasting and modeling never before applied in the distribution industry. It had a significant impact for our clients’ profitability.
What is one regret that you have in your career?
Not having the opportunity to get a PhD. I have two master’s degrees—the most intensive one in biostatistics—from the University of Massachusetts. I would have loved to pursue a PhD in the biostatistics field at UMass, but it was not available at that time. The only opportunity would have been to head to Boston or California, and this was not an option for me with two small kids and family responsibilities.
What advice would you give to students at Bay Path who are setting out on their own life journey?
Be flexible. Be willing to challenge life’s adventures. And be kind. Whether you are young or old, always learn and grow with experiences—even those that you can’t even begin to imagine! You cannot grow…you cannot achieve, unless you chart a course and adjust your sails with the wind(s).