Jennifer O'Flannery Anderson, VP/community relations, Nova Southeastern

Jennifer O┬┐Flannery Anderson, Ph.D. Vice President, Community Engagement Executive Director, FAU Foundation, Inc. Florida Atlantic University

Last week: What a week for news! IBM eliminating medical benefits for retirees as they will now be eligible for the health care exchanges sounded the bell that health care reforms are starting to be implemented and the effects are coming in ways people hadn't thought.

Looking ahead: Preventing child abuse. This not just the Department of Children and Family’s responsibility, we all share a piece of this. My heart breaks every day when I read in the paper about another horrific tragedy for one of our own children in this community. How can we help stop this? What will it take?

Sept. 8

Last week: Go Diana Nyad Go!!! She is an inspiration to us all with her perseverance, teamwork, focus, strength, and courage. She chased a dream for decades that we all shared. She gives us hope that we can summon that perseverance in our every day lives for the dreams that we have too!

Looking ahead: We need to be talking about ensuring our economic recovery remains strong and stable. Housing prices continue to rise, auto sales are positive and hiring/employment numbers are starting to grow. But the situation is still tenuous and requires our attention especially for a healthy recovery here in South Florida.

Sept. 1

Last week: In this last week we recognized and remembered the anniversaries of two devastating hurricanes, Andrew and Katrina. Both completely changed the way we prepare for, respond to and ultimately rebuild from disasters both as individuals and communities. Entering the most volatile storm period of the year, we are reminded to make sure we are prepared and ready!

Looking ahead: This week I am in Peru visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in the region of Cusco. I had the privilege of meeting the President of the region of Cusco, Peru and am struck by the challenges he is managing. This amazing place is clearly focusing on preserving the rich culture and heritage of its people along with the historical significance of the Inca ruins while meeting the demands of visitors worldwide to experience this place and economic pressures to provide more work and opportunities to its people.

Aug. 25

Last week: I am in awe of the elementary school clerk whose courage and strength talked down an armed gunman and protected hundreds of children from harm.  I think we all wish and hope that we might be able to muster that if put in a situation. Antoinette Tuff did it and reminded us that we have the power and ability to fight and protect what is important.  Thank you, Ms. Tuff.

Next week: President Obama embarked on a bus tour this week and part of the trip focuses on higher education. He is proposing a rating system for colleges based on various outcomes and linking financial aid to those ratings. Higher education is critical to our state's economic growth and to the success of hundreds of thousands of Floridians. We need to watch these proposals and evaluate their effect on our public and private institutions as well as the needs of our students.

Aug. 11

Last week: Shark Week!!! This has become an international phenomenon! Sharks are an integral piece of the oceans’ ecosystem. Helping to study and understand them helps us do a better job protecting sharks, as well as their habitats and environment both locally and on a global basis.

Looking ahead: Back to school! In the next couple of weeks our young people will be starting and returning to school. This is such an exciting time for parents and children, too. Our teachers and educators bear a tremendous responsibility by taking on the care and development of our kids. We need to be talking about and understanding how our education systems grow and develop to meet the

Aug. 4

Last week: In recent weeks we have seen several frightening and tragic accidents occur with the modes of transportation on which we depend - planes, trains and buses.  In many ways we take the ease of travel for granted.  We need be vigilent that the equipment is well maintained, those individuals operating the equipment are extremely well trained, that the latest technologies are utilized, and that there are adequate oversight systems in place to ensure the highest degree of safety. 

Looking ahead: I think the economic recovery is something that we have to keep our eyes laser focused on.  We are seeing a steady increase in home prices and some recovery in the job market.  Also our region's economic development organizations are having success attracting new companies to the region.  This weekend parents will be shopping for school supplies and school clothes, so hopefully we will see spending boosts locally as well.  But we are not out of the woods and we need to discuss what we can do to help with the recovery and what the government should be doing.

July 21

Last week: This week, I am attending an institute for higher education administrators at Harvard. One of the hot topics was the New York Times article on the increase in cyber attacks on the computer systems at research universities. These attacks are coming primarily from China and number in the millions each week. Florida is home to several research universities and these attacks require tremendous protection and investments in technological infrastructure.

Looking ahead: Seeing the smoke stacks come down at the FP&L Plant in Port Everglades is very exciting for our community. It will be interesting to learn more about the new technology that will power Fort Lauderdale.