Nathan Hatch: A History Professors Journey from the classroom to the President of Wake Forest University – Part 1

“At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategy.” -Dr. Nathan Hatch

Our guest today is Dr. Nathan Hatch, President Emeritus of Wake Forest University. 

When one interviews Dr. Hatch, we could go in a number of directions. We could discuss his background as a historian and his seminal book, The Democratization of American Christianity. We could discuss his pension for innovation as evidenced by his understanding of the significance to put the school of professional studies in Charlotte because of the big market demand there. 

On a lighter note, we could even discuss how a couple of student leaders conned him and the provost at that time to participate in a rap-for-charity event.

But we’ll let these discussions wait because today I want to talk broadly with Dr. Hatch about his overall leadership in higher ed administration and some of the similarities and differences between the office of provost and office of president—both of which he has served honorably and effectively.

Thanks again for joining us today on the Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership With Tommy Thomas podcast. 

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I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Nathan Hatch! 

“I think getting multiple insights into someone’s personality and character is critical.” -Dr. Nathan Hatch

Show Notes

[2:32] – An introduction to our guest, Dr. Nathan Hatch.

[3:40] – We hear about a couple of Nathan’s formative experiences.

[6:04] – Nathan discusses the time he wrote his book, The Democratization of American Christianity.

[7:43] – Did Nathan know if his book was “going to be a hit”?

[10:45] – This is the point in Nathan’s career when he realized he had to trust those under his leadership.

[12:51] – Nathan shares the qualities he looks for when hiring a cabinet person.

[15:23] – Nathan believes he can learn more about a person over dinner than over a table in an office. Here’s why.

[17:21] – Did Nathan have any trouble convincing his faculty that the former CEO of PepsiCo could move into academic leadership?

[18:59] – These are some of the words and phrases Nathan would use describing the best team he ever led.

[21:09] – We hear what Nathan believes his cabinet members would say are the toughest things about working for him.

[22:34] – Tommy wraps up the conversation.

“The key thing is that you have to build trust [when building great teams].” -Dr. Nathan Hatch

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters – Website

Book – The Democratization of American Christianity


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