Zehra Abid-Wood to lead Lasell Village as new president
From holding leadership roles in both the institutional as well as the corporate industries, new Lasell Village President Zehra Abid-Wood is ready to take on her new role in the Lasell community.
Abid-Wood graduated with computer science and English majors from Williams College while also studying abroad at Oxford University for a year. After graduating, Abid-Wood gained decades of experience in senior leadership positions for various different fields including the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Transformation at AlerisLife as well as the Director of Project and Portfolio Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“My Role, first and foremost, is really helping support the staff that then support our residents,” Abid-Wood said. “But it’s also important for me to be that presence for the residents.”
Abid-Wood said that she likes to set aside at least a couple of hours a day walking around and getting to know some of the villagers. In addition to this, Abid-Wood plans to continue to keep open office hours for residents who wish to speak with her on a regular basis and will also meet with 18 different committees consisting of villagers regularly to establish a connection with the community.
While establishing a strong connection within the village is important to Abid-Wood, she also said she hopes to continue to collaborate with the university.
“I think Lasell is really an inflection point, it has so much going for it in terms of I think the size, location, the student body, and the faculty,” Abid-Wood said. “There’s a lot of people that really want to be here and I do think the village is a great asset.”
Abid-Wood said she hopes to continue to evolve the intergenerational relationship between the university and the village, and that both communities can help share resources with one another.
One way in which Abid-Wood hopes to do this is by collaborating with students, meeting with SGA to discuss her vision for the village, leadership style, and learn more about the village environment before making changes, according to SGA President Elect Arielle Hornbaker.
“I had the privilege of meeting with the Student Government Association last week and was really sort of fueled by their energy...” Abid-Wood said. “I think there are a lot of intergenerational connections that happen, it’s not just academic. “
“Student Government is always looking for collaboration opportunities with the Village,” Hornbaker said. “In the future, Student Government hopes to collaborate more with the Village and establish additional friendship and mentorships between Villagers and students.” SGA already collaborates with the village on events including the talent show and career panel.
Hornbaker believes Abid-Wood will thrive in her new role as she “thrives in periods of adjustment and is passionate about her relationships with people.”
In addition to collaborating with residents and students, Abid-Wood said she’ll prioritize collaboration with senior management members of the university in order to continue the connection between both communities, including incoming President and current Provost Eric Turner.
Although Abid-Wood was nervous coming into her new position not knowing who the new president would be, she is confident that her and Turner will work well together in their new roles.
“He’s thoughtful and he has deep institutional knowledge, not just of the [university] but also of the village,” Abid-Wood said. “...I think with Eric given that there is continuity in terms of his relationship with both institutions and given his personality and his demeanor, I don’t envision any issues.”
Turner also said that he believes him and Abid-Wood will work well together as new presidents, and that he believes she will do great in her new position.
“....Zehra was a wonderful selection for the village,” Turner said. “...She’s really in a good position to do great things at Lasell Village, and she’s got a real nice personality and she’s already been interacting with residents down there and my understanding is that the early impressions of her are very good and very, very high.”
Turner also said continuing to establish the intergenerational connection between communities is important, and that he believes Abid-Wood will help in that.
In addition to her devotion to creating a strong connection between the village and university, Turner said Abid-Wood is “thoughtful, smart, and analytical” which will allow her to both deal with change and be a good planner in her new role.
“She will be very successful,” Turner said. “I think she’s a good person and is very well qualifies for this, and I think we’re all expecting great things from her.”