Janet Ozarchuk took on the role of chief operating officer at Bard Graduate Center in July 2022. Amy Estes, BGC’s director of marketing and communications, recently sat down with Ozarchuk between meetings to learn how she is finding her new role and life at BGC. Ozarchuk laughingly admitted that she is still learning some institution-specific lingo (for example, AP refers to academic programs, not accounts payable), but when Estes visited her sunny office above BGC’s gallery, she looked right at home.

Amy Estes: What was the career trajectory that ultimately brought you to BGC?
Janet Ozarchuk: I started out as a double major in biology and economics at Fordham College. I had a job in the dean’s office and I became very interested in higher education administration. That led me to Harvard where I received my MBA. I had a Wall Street career that included mergers and acquisitions as well as public finance. Then I transitioned to working for a nonprofit, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which does extraordinary work in community development and urban revitalization. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked for many not-for-profit institutions, including the Calvert Foundation, TruFund, Capital Impact, and the Legal Aid Society. When this position came up at Bard Graduate Center, it presented an opportunity to return to my first interest in higher education. And I have never been happier.

AE: Wow, what a full circle moment! What’s the best part of the job for you, so far?
JO: I love the people at BGC and the culture of the place and working with Susan [Susan Weber, Bard Graduate Center’s founder and director]. I enjoy the variety of the work. It really keeps me on my toes. No two days are the same! One day I am looking at student scholarships and how we can free up more resources for that, the next I am visiting Bard Hall to check in on a gym remodel, and the day after that I’m meeting with curators about upcoming exhibitions. I’ve never worked at an organization where change is such a constant; every year there are new students, new classes, new events, and new exhibitions. I love the cycles and the pace of things here.

AE: What do you see on the horizon for BGC that excites you?
JO: Although I have only been here since last July, I sense the institution is in a real period of rebirth since COVID. There’s such vibrancy in our current MA class and we have another large class of students who will enter this fall. The exhibitions coming up in the gallery are very, very exciting. I feel that BGC is coming out of the pandemic stronger than ever.

AE: Is there anything more you would like to add?
JO: I genuinely feel it is a privilege to work here. I see the chief operating officer’s role as one of service to the community: to students, faculty, curators, and other members of the staff. I am truly thrilled to be in their company.