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Emily Packard Durbin, class of '65
When her work as a nurse's aide in high school confirmed her love of the scientific, laboratory side of medicine, a family friend and physician suggested that Emily consider medical laboratory technology as a career. His assessment of Alfred State College's Medical Laboratory Technology program as "one of the best in the state" made her college decision easier. People like Prof. Art Gaisser, "my favorite teacher," and friends at ABX sorority, Emily's home during her second year, helped make her Alfred experience a success. The knowledge that "a good job was guaranteed upon completion" of the well-respected program gave Emily extra confidence in her choice of Alfred State.
Her Alfred confidence continued after graduation when she took a job in Rochester as a bench technician at Genesee Hospital's Hematology Lab. She had a pleasant surprise reunion when Professor Gaisser helped the lab set up and calibrate its first automated cell counters. Emily's interest in the new technology soon led to her involvement in training others to use the newly-acquired equipment. This same initiative on her part was rewarded as she was promoted through a series of supervisory positions at Genesee. In addition to her increasingly demanding duties at the hospital, Emily made time to earn a BS in Health Care Management (SUNY Empire State College), an MS in Instructional Technology (RIT), and her A.S.C.P. certification. Emily recalls Medical Laboratory Technology as "a great career," but by 1980, after 15 years at Genesee Hospital, she was "wondering what else was out there for me?" She found the answer in new challenges facing her when she left Genesee and took a position at Kodak that year.
Emily joined Kodak as a technical writer/training designer just as the Rochester company was developing a line of of Technical Communications for Business Imaging Equipment. The decade of the 1980s was a period of astonishing technical advances, both in medical laboratory equipment and in business imaging equipment. In her time with the Rochester company, Emily literally ‘wrote the book' on many of the technological advances developed in these areas. But by 1990, she was ready for another change.
As the new decade began, Emily "made the big move and relocated to Boston," joining Putnam Investments as a manager of technical training. Today Emily is vice president of Training and Development at the 6,000-employee company. Her duties creating training programs for Putnam "are so varied there are really no typical youth group requests and then provides assistance and guidance to the funded groups. Specifically, Emily is liaison to Kids and Careers, which provides seventh and eighth graders with mentors and exposure to a variety of careers and work environments. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Family Services, Inc. and has co-chaired Putnam's corporate United Way Campaign for Massachusetts Bay. Under Putnam's sponsorship, Emily has done management training for Youth Build Boston. Reflecting on her decision to enroll in MLT at Alfred, Emily recalls the confidence she had "knowing I could go out and get days; every day is different."
The '90s were the decade in which the ‘small investor' discovered IRAs, mutual funds, and Wall Street. As the person charged with overseeing training and development at one of America's largest money-managing companies, Emily faces enormous challenges. Putnam's clients expect excellent service at all levels of contact with the company. In addition to the orientation and training programs one would find at any company employing 6,000 people, Emily has made the slightly surprising discovery that many of Putnam's bright, young, necessarily aggressive hires also benefit from exposure to the business etiquette of the corporate world.
In business and in social settings alike, Emily stresses, "seemingly small actions can make a real difference, giving one person a competitive advantage of the next person."
Despite the demands her career places on her, Emily still finds time for community involvement. She is a member of Putnam's Youth Partners program, which funds youth group requests and then provides assistance and guidance to the funded groups. Specifically, Emily is liaison to Kids and Careers, which provides seventh and eighth graders with mentors and exposure to a variety of careers and work environments. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Family Services, Inc. and has co-chaired Putnam's corporate United Way Campaign for Massachusetts Bay. Under Putnam's sponsorship, Emily has done management training for Youth Build Boston.
Reflecting on her decision to enroll in MLT at Alfred, Emily recalls the confidence she had "knowing I could go out and geta job immediately. And I'd have the skills and knowledge to do the job successfully."
Emily's path from nurse's aide to MLT student to supervisor at Genesee Hospital and Kodak to vice president at one of America's largest financial institutions demonstrates perfectly her ability to gain and use her ‘competitive edge' to best advantage. blood-analyzing equipment. Her duties at Kodak drew perfectly on her Alfred technical background, her additional studies, and years of experience at Genesee. Demonstrating the same competence at Kodak that she had shown at Genesee, Emily was promoted first to supervisor of Publications Support Services and, by 1990, to supervisor.