January 2016: Ann Howard

A good ambassador is an expert host, with insider knowledge of an institution’s nuances, ensuring that any visitor gets exactly what is needed to successfully navigate its paths. In that sense, Ann Howard is one of the best ambassadors the Department of Internal Medicine could want.

As Faculty Recruitment Coordinator, Ms. Howard is one of the first and final faces any candidate encounters, regularly preparing him or her for any changes in the process. “I love interacting with people outside of the institution and welcoming them to Iowa,” she says. Her attention to detail and courtesy can be one of the most important, but subtle, elements in a candidate’s decision to join our Department.

Ms. Howard has spent her career honing these skills and familiarizing herself with all the eccentricities of our University. After finishing her BA at Coe College in 1994, Ms. Howard temped at the VA, working as secretary to three different physicians alongside Alma Vernon. Her talent was recognized quickly with a permanent position, which she held for two years before moving to Internal Medicine to work with Mark Hingtgen.

In 2005, Ms. Howard began working in faculty recruitment with Laura Lenz. “Laura showed me the ropes.” Ms. Howard also worked closely with Randy Jordison in those first years, overseeing his calendar. “Randy needed little help,” she says, “but taught me a tremendous amount.” For his part, Mr. Jordison cites her “great professional work ethic.” He calls Ms. Howard a “great work citizen,” values her willingness “to do more than her fair share,” and says she does “an outstanding job of interacting with new employees.”

Since taking her current role, Ms. Howard reports that the recruitment process has only gotten more complex, from “a rather seasonal effort to a year-round, very busy job.” But through all the challenges—including aiding the divisions’ exercise of greater freedom and responsibility in recruitment—she strives to keep “open communication with faculty recruits.” She helps them understand what a lengthy process it can be and keeps them engaged and aware of each new development as it occurs. Ms. Howard’s empathy and anticipation of any potential confusion can only increase a candidate’s sense that our Department is interested in him or her. One of those new faculty members, Dr. Laurie Lyckholm, had the following to say about Ms. Howard: “Ann Howard was one of the first people I met last year when I returned to Iowa after 20 years. Many things had changed, and I was a little lost, literally and figuratively. Ann was so patient and kind, and helped me find my way around all the paperwork and the medical center as well. Her kindness was beyond measure. . . . She is so positive and energetic, and makes everyone feel comfortable and welcome. She is also a great troubleshooter because she is intelligent and understands the workings of the Department. Her warm welcome was one of my best memories of joining the University of Iowa!”

Outside of work, Ms. Howard puts her organizational skills to the test helping her husband, Wes, manage his business as well as their three teenagers’ busy schedules. Callie, 17, volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club after school. Britta, 16, is active in multiple high school clubs including the cheer squad. Cameron, 13, enjoys soccer and video games—“a typical 7th-grade boy.” But this year in particular promises to bring a lot of excitement for Ms. Howard’s family. A spring break trip to the Dominican Republic and a July family reunion in Minnesota are on the calendar. The big event, though, is Callie’s spring graduation and fall entrance into college. “We are excited and nervous for that!”

Please join us in offering our gratitude and appreciation to Ann Howard for all she does for the Department!

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