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20 Questions with Veronica Aymer

Dec. 5, 2016

Name:  Veronica Aymer

Position/Institution:  Director of Operations, Temple University

Number of years in your position: 6 years in current position, approximately 2 years as Licensing Director, and a total of 11 years at Temple University

Alma Mater(s): Temple University, All The Way!

Hometown:  Rockville Centre, NY

1. Why did you become involved in ICLA?
Temple University has been a long-standing institutional member of ICLA. As a result of a portfolio transition, I inherited Temple’s “unofficial” Licensing Director position and was also fortunate enough to inherit access to ICLA. I became involved in ICLA because I see it as an opportunity to be around like-minded peers and learn from them.

2. What is your favorite part about being a member of ICLA? I truly enjoy the chance that ICLA has given me to meet and work with many other university administrators over the years. As someone who is fairly new to the licensing world, it is extremely beneficial to hear about their experiences and perspectives and use it for the betterment of my own program.

3. What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
The biggest challenge for me is transparency in policy and practice, and the constant change. For large universities, there is always an objective to improve and innovate, but also simplify somehow. However, the irony is that many things can get lost in translation as these changes occur and ultimately create the opposite effect. We strive to make sure that the “customer” is always satisfied, whether that is a student, staff or faculty member, vendor, visitor, or administrator.

4. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
I have been fortunate enough to take advantage of Temple’s tuition remission program to obtain a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and the impending completion of a doctorate degree! Free Education is my greatest accomplishment to-date!

5. What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
My interpersonal skills. I would say that I am an introvert at heart, so it’s not always the easiest for me to “put myself out there” socially and meet new people. But as I am exposed to more opportunities to engage through meetings, workshops, and conferences, my level of comfort with social settings has significantly increased; I see the change in me, and it’s a good thing!

6. Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Richard Rumer, my former boss and AVP of Business Services, is still the most influential person in my career. He gave me my first big opportunity to move up at Temple and he transitioned from a boss, to a friend, and then my mentor! Even though it’s been a year since he retired, I still call him every now and then to get advice.

7. What is one item you cannot live without?
I must have lip balm on my person at all times!

8. Who would you choose to switch places with for a day?
I would love to live the life of John Legend for a day. He’s one of my absolute favorite artists and a skilled musician.

9. What is your favorite sporting event/best sporting event you have ever attended?
The Temple vs. Penn State Football game! That win could be felt throughout the entire stadium!

10. Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate licensing?
The responsibility of the licensing program was actually handed to me as a result of a portfolio transition. The previous Director moved on to a different department, and I have been the gatekeeper of the art sheet ever since! I am thankful for the opportunity because it has helped me to stretch myself professionally and learn new skills. It has also forced me to step out of my comfort zone.

11. In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
Dale Arens (University of Iowa) is one of my mentors for the program, and he is as sharp as a tack when it comes to all things licensing! I also respect his leadership of a self-managed licensing program at Iowa, which boggles my mind every time we talk about it!

12. How has your involvement with ICLA influenced your career?
My involvement with ICLA has not only allowed me to meet some amazing people, but to also gain a true appreciation for the licensing process and understand the value that it brings to Temple and the Temple community.

13. What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career in licensing?
I believe my position as Director of Operations has best prepared me because of the various professional relationships that I have created and the need to navigate each one diplomatically for a mutually beneficial end result. I see a similar need for diplomacy in licensing as well.

14. What challenges do you face when working with students or vendors?
For students, I struggle with how to make the licensing process easier for them to understand and find value in. I am always trying to think of ways to educate them and also streamline the process as much as possible so there is no barrier to their successful involvement. For vendors, an amicable working relationship is what I strive for, but it is sometimes difficult to maintain that standard and simultaneously enforce university policy.

15. Would you please explain a professional success and how you implemented it?
I am most proud of the Temple Trademark and Licensing Policy website that I was tasked to revamp. The prior site was very cumbersome and not very user-friendly, but I have gotten great feedback about the new look and the ease of access to the information. Fortunately, the data was already there, but I worked closely with our licensing management team and Temple’s Strategic Marketing and Communications office to give it a facelift, and I think it looks great. I am in no way a web master, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. I visit it every now and then just to take a look!

16. In your opinion, where is collegiate licensing headed in the future?
There is no question that collegiate licensing can do wonders for a school’s bottom line, and I also think that people have an instant emotional connection and a certain sense of pride for their college sports teams, whether it is their alma mater or just a team that they really enjoy watching. Retailers see the connection between the two and will continue to cater to it through various retail platforms.

17. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field of collegiate licensing?
The best piece of advice I have received is to never limit myself and to always be humble. I would advise someone to expand their network as far as it will go and call on those people for guidance and assistance when necessary. There is a wealth of knowledge out there to tap into.

18. What was your biggest professional failure/mistake and how did you learn from it? 
Not being more vocal about my abilities and contributions, and sometimes taking a back seat on advancement opportunities. I realized that I must see the confidence in myself that others already see in me and use it to my advantage.

19. What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office?
Probably close to 90%, which I’m not so sure is a good thing! My official title is “Director of Operations”, which means that I also assist my AVP with the management of all university auxiliary services (bookstore, food services, vending operations, and the on-campus stadium). My days are jam-packed!

20. What are you most looking forward to at the next ICLA Convention or Winter Symposium?
Learning the most I can about licensing through the excellent workshops and the networking opportunities.