Laura Harding McCann ’79 always has had a love for music. This passion is what initially drew her to attend Shenandoah University and it has deeply influenced the doors that have opened for her professionally.
A native of Hughesville, Pa., McCann received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Shenandoah in 1979. While attending college, McCann did a Music Therapy internship with Stockley Center in Georgetown, Del. This facility serves as a nursing home, assisted living center, skilled nursing facility and residential care facility. After graduation, it was difficult to find positions in either Music Education or Music Therapy, so McCann took an opportunity to grow in another direction while still using music in some of the behavioral plans that she developed for clients at the Stockley Center. As she progressed through the center, she became interested in Human Resources and decided to complete her Masters in Human Resource Management in 1988 through Wilmington University.
“This degree helped to open doors into my Human Resources career that has provided me with a wealth of experiences and challenges,” McCann commented.
After her 14-year tenure at Stockley Center in such roles as Activity Therapist to Developmental Disabilities Program Administrator, McCann began working for Delaware Technical & Community College where she was a teacher and consultant. Here, she worked with businesses to design custom training programs in leadership development, customer service, team building and communications. Through her connections at the college, McCann was approached by Grotto Pizza, where she was the Director of Human Resources from 1998-2011. McCann currently is the Director of Team Member Relations for Burris Logistics in Milford, Del. She works with the management teams to implement their High Performance Work Place Initiative.
“In each of the positions that I have held, I have been very fortunate to learn new things and try out different ways of doing things,” McCann said. “I always have been an advocate of lifelong learning, and through this philosophy I have been able to have experiences that I would not have imagined coming out of college.”
Looking back, McCann is excited that she is ready and able to be a member of the Alumni Board of Directors. She values her education from Shenandoah and attributes much of her success from her time spent in Winchester.
“Shenandoah provided me with the skills to critically think through issues and to work collaboratively with others,” McCann mentioned. “I see too many people who limit themselves to one field when there are so many rich opportunities for us to grow in knowledge and experience. I had the distinct benefit of working with Dr. Charlotte Collins in the Conservatory Office – everything I learned about Human Resources and leadership, I learned through her example.”
McCann has many great memories of her time at SU. One of her fondest was performing with the Clarinet Choir at the Kennedy Center. She also worked with Maida Jones on the costume crew for a few shows, which was very educational.
“I love the lifelong friends that I have made through Shenandoah,” McCann added. “I am grateful to Facebook for reconnecting me with so many wonderful people.”
McCann returned to campus three years ago for Homecoming Weekend. She fell back in love.
“I have been awe-struck by the growth of the campus and the innovative programs that are in place,” McCann said. “Being in business, it is important to lend my perspective on ways to help students come out of college and prepare for their careers.”
Besides joining the Alumni Board of Directors in 2012, McCann completed her Doctorate Degree from Wilmington University. She successfully defended her dissertation, “Implementing a High Performance Work Place in the Distribution and Logistics Industry.” She has one son, Steven Smith, who is employed as a Behavioral Specialist at the Benedictine School in Ridgely, Md.
McCann still finds time for the passion that led her to Shenandoah and down her successful career path—music. She attends concerts, learns new instruments (electric bass and the ukulele), sings in the Praise Team and rings handbells.