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As Joanne Quinn Moffatt ’70 ends her seven-year tenure on the Alumni Association Board and four-year term as president, she looked back on the defining moments of her time at Emmanuel, her distinguished career as a human-resources professional, and her legacy as an active, engaged, and generous Alumna.

Moffatt's passion for human resources and employee relations was sparked as an undergraduate at Emmanuel, where she enrolled in a course that included a history of the labor movement. This interest led her to pursue an M.S. program at UMass — Amherst focused on labor relations. She paused her master's program to accept a job opportunity and later enrolled in MBA courses to further enhance her knowledge and effectiveness.

She began her career in the public sector, working with women with dependent children receiving public assistance. “I realized all the obstacles they had to face that I certainly didn't have to encounter when going to college and establishing a career,” she said.

After her stint in the public sector, Moffatt shifted to private industry, taking a series of positions in the manufacturing and high-tech sectors. Navigating varied corporate cultures—from family-owned enterprises to international firms, Moffatt accumulated a wealth of experience. Her roles encompassed all facets of human resources, including recruitment, employee relations, benefits and compensation, leadership development, and strategic management.

Moffatt's commitment to fostering inclusive and productive workplace environments and advocating for employee rights and organizational integrity were priorities throughout her career.

“An inclusive workplace isn't just a policy—it's the core of a thriving, ethical organization where every voice is valued and integrity guides every decision,” she said. Moffatt credits Emmanuel for imparting these values — and so many more. “Emmanuel instilled in me integrity, fortitude, resilience, and the ability to navigate different situations,” she said. “The College provided women an opportunity to develop leadership skills in a very male-dominated business environment, where you could certainly collaborate but couldn't necessarily compete quite as readily.”

“Emmanuel instilled in me integrity, fortitude, resilience, and the ability to navigate different situations. The College provided women an opportunity to develop leadership skills in a very male-dominated business environment, where you could certainly collaborate but couldn't necessarily compete quite as readily.

Joanne Moffatt '70

Moffatt’s tenure as a consultant further enriched her skill set, honing her agility and cultivating a deep understanding of diverse client needs. This phase not only sharpened her strategic acumen but also reinforced her belief in pursuing work that aligns with one's passions.

Impact at Emmanuel College

As President of the Alumni Association Board, from 2020–2024, Moffatt spearheaded innovative initiatives aimed at strengthening ties between Alumni and the College community and enhancing Alumni involvement and support. From virtual events to career-related programs, Moffatt's efforts—in collaboration with Alumni Relations and the Career Center—redefined Alumni engagement, particularly during challenging times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Joanne's leadership as president of the Alumni Association Board was nothing short of exceptional, especially given the unprecedented challenges posed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pat Tobin ‘72, an Emmanuel College trustee and former member of the AAB. “She navigated the complexities of this difficult time with grace and resilience, ensuring that the board not only continued to thrive but also expanded its reach and support. Her innovative approach and dedication have left an indelible mark on our community, and we are deeply grateful for her outstanding contributions.” 

Reflecting on her role, Moffatt emphasized the importance of Alumni contributions, both in terms of philanthropy and active engagement. "It's about creating a sense of belonging and connection," she explained. "Alumni are our greatest ambassadors, and their involvement is crucial to the College's continued success. Alumni engagement has a direct impact on their philanthropic participation." 

Moffatt's strategic approach has fostered a culture of collaboration and mutual support among Alumni, faculty, and students alike.

“Through the challenges of COVID-19, Joanne exemplified unwavering dedication, exceptional leadership, and a heartwarming commitment to our community. Her warm and friendly demeanor, tireless work ethic, and unwavering dedication have strengthened our bonds and inspired us to reach higher and achieve more,” said Jane Hanrahan ‘88, secretary of the AAB. "Joanne embodies the spirit of philanthropy, reminding us all that together, even in the toughest times, we can achieve greatness.”

Shared Experiences Span Decades

One of Moffatt's most impactful initiatives was her outreach to recent graduates, including the Class of 2020. In a heartfelt letter of encouragement co-written with Jane Candito Corr, president of the Class of 1970, Moffatt offered solidarity, solace, and inspiration to graduates whose commencement ceremonies were disrupted by the pandemic.

“What we encountered in May of 1970, 50 years ago, impacted our final days at Emmanuel, as well," the letter read. “Like you, special events and activities we were looking forward to in our final semester were altered as students across the country went on strike to protest an unpopular war and the shootings at Kent State University." (Moffatt served as the president of the Student Government Association at Emmanuel.)

Beyond her advocacy for Alumni, Moffatt has championed diversity and inclusion initiatives within the Emmanuel community. Her efforts to celebrate Alumni achievements across diverse backgrounds have enriched the College's cultural tapestry and underscored the importance of equity in education and professional development. In addition, she mentors young professionals and aspiring leaders within the Emmanuel Alumni network. She’s quick to point out that there’s still much work to do to ensure that the composition of the Alumni Board reflects the diversity of the Alumni community.

Joanne's leadership as president of the Alumni Association Board was nothing short of exceptional, especially given the unprecedented challenges posed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pat Tobin '72, an Emmanuel College trustee and former member of the AAB.

Legacy of Generosity

Moffatt's commitment to Emmanuel goes beyond her leadership and advocacy, extending into personal philanthropy, which helps secure the College's future for generations to come. Indeed, she's a member of the Heritage Society, a group of individuals who include the College in their estate planning.

As Moffatt prepares to step down as President of the Alumni Association Board (AAB), she remains committed to supporting her successor and ensuring a seamless transition. "Leadership is about empowering others," Moffatt reflected. "It's about passing on knowledge, experience, and a shared sense of purpose."

The next AAB president, Tina Ascolillo '17, is poised to inherit Moffatt's legacy of excellence and community stewardship and will benefit from her guidance and institutional knowledge. Moffatt's advice to future leaders emphasizes the importance of authenticity, resilience, and adaptability in navigating challenges and driving positive change.

“I'm pleased with the achievements and milestones reached by the Alumni Association Board during my tenure as president. Our collaborative efforts resulted in several successful initiatives that strengthened our community and enhanced the support network for both current students and Alumni,” she said. 

“It was a true pleasure to work alongside such a dedicated and passionate group of individuals who have consistently demonstrated their loyalty and commitment to Emmanuel. Their enthusiasm and hard work were instrumental in driving our success.

“And I am proud that I have an ability to relate across generations. That's one thing you do need for the Alumni Association Board. And you also need to appreciate the fact that one size doesn't fit all. Graduates of the last decade and Alums who graduated before I did do not necessarily want the same programming. The role requires a certain alacrity," Moffatt affirmed. "Our journey as Emmanuel Alumni is defined not only by our individual achievements but also by our collective contributions to the College community and beyond."

Moffatt's impact on the Emmanuel community serves as an inspiration to current and future generations of Alumni, reinforcing the College's mission of educating leaders committed to social justice and making a difference in the world.