MCC President Burt-Nanna to keynote Women’s Leadership Summit 2022

MCC President Burt-Nanna to keynote Women’s Leadership Summit 2022


A relative newcomer to the area, Monroe Community College President DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna has quickly made her mark on the Rochester community.

In addition to steering the institution through the coronavirus pandemic, Burt-Nanna serves on the board of a multitude of organizations, including United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and was appointed by the governor to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s Executive Committee.

Burt-Nanna, who is the keynote speaker at the eighth annual RBJ Women’s Leadership Summit, became the sixth president of MCC in May 2021. The theme to this year’s event, which will be held Sept. 29, is “The Power of Change: How to embrace the unexpected and new opportunities to grow your career and life forward.”

Embracing the unexpected and a new opportunity is something Burt-Nanna did in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic when she decided to take the helm at MCC, uprooting from the Midwest to the Northeast. Not only was Burt-Nanna moving halfway across the country, but the interview process and search for a new home were both done virtually.

Ultimately, the leap of faith is paying dividends personally and professionally. Just a year into her tenure at MCC, Burt-Nanna has several major accomplishments under her belt and said the innovation and cultural and technological richness of the region is stimulating.

During the virtual interview process, Burt-Nanna was not just looking for a place where she fit in, but somewhere she belonged and could make a positive impact.

“I wanted to belong in this community and at this nationally-recognized college,” she said.

Much like her own search for belongingness, Burt-Nanna believes diversity, equity and belongingness are “the linchpin” of MCC’s mission to work for students and the community. Belongingness “takes inclusion a step further,” Burt-Nanna said, and under her leadership the college last year created a division of Diversity, Equity and Belonging, something she championed and MCC employees endorsed.

MCC will become a majority-minority-serving institution in the next five years, Burt-Nanna said, and the school’s new five-year strategic plan, known as Vision2027, reflects the deliberate and purposeful evolution of the college to correspond with changing community demographics.

“As the community’s college, we exist for the community,” Burt-Nanna said, noting MCC is “a reflection of the community” it proudly serves.

Burt-Nanna said the MCC of 2022 is already different from 2021, citing the Vision2027 plan as one of her early accomplishments at MCC. Vision2027 was informed by more than 200 unique community voices and perspectives from over 60 listening sessions, and the plan charts five strategic priorities, or directions, for the college, including one titled “Together as One,” which Burt-Nanna said encapsulates how she and her colleagues look to the future success of MCC.

Asked about the importance of female leadership and what kind of leader she strives to be, Burt-Nanna said her focus is on identifying, adopting, refining and modeling the best qualities, attributes and practices of great leaders.

“At the top of the list for me is emotional intelligence — a knowing of how to discern, process and utilize information related to one’s own emotions and those of another,” said Burt-Nanna.

Burt-Nanna said with emotional intelligence, intellectual know-how and resilience, women leaders are “highly effective and unstoppable.” She hopes women who attend RBJ’s Women’s Leadership Summit “will leave the event ready to lead resiliently, transform boldly and elevate themselves and others purposefully.”

“I want women to leave the event feeling unleashed and unafraid to be the best versions of themselves from whatever roles they lead — among family and friends, in their workplaces and communities,” Burt-Nanna said, adding she’s authentic when she speaks and engages with audiences, and will strive to make that evident as she shares lessons from her own leadership journey.

Burt-Nanna said she was “incredibly humbled” to receive the invitation to be the keynote speaker at the event and expects to learn as much from others as she gives at the Women’s Leadership Summit.

Matthew Reitz is Rochester-area freelancer writer.