Compassionate, caring, and faith-filled, Sandy Appeldorn has been an asset to Saint Ignatius since she joined the Advancement Department as the Assistant to the VP for Advancement in 2006. Now, after 15 years of working on campus, including nine as the school's first Director of Human Resources, she is retiring.
One of her first discoveries about working at Saint Ignatius was Ignatian spirituality, which she was introduced to by the late Fr. Jim Lewis, S.J. through the Spirituality Program for Adults.
“That experience encouraged me to take part in retreats and attend the Ignatian Pilgrimage,” she says. Through the influence of these programs, Appeldorn felt called to enter The Ignatian Spirituality Institute at John Carroll University, where she received formal training to become a certified Spiritual Director.
As Saint Ignatius grew and hiring for mission became a mainstay priority, the school administration saw the need to establish a formal Human Resources role with faith and spirituality at the forefront of its initiatives. Due to her unique background of management and spiritual direction, Appeldorn was a terrific fit for this new role.
“There was no better choice,” says Richard Klingshirn ’79, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “Her experience in the legal profession prior to joining us, coupled with her passion for Ignatian spirituality and her genuine care and empathy for everyone she encounters made her the perfect fit for the job.”
Human resource work is equal parts strategic and personal, dealing with the people and systems that directly impact employees. “My job is often like Switzerland," Appeldorn says. "I have to be able to listen to the employee needs and administration concerns openly. Figuring out how to delicately and sensitively communicate with all parties has been challenging. I sometimes don’t get all the puzzle pieces, but often I get enough to help decision-makers see the big picture.”
Appeldorn is the consummate professional and a terrific greeter, welcoming countless people to campus for job interviews and helping guide them along in the hiring process. “Looking at the whole person and the whole picture in the hiring process is a different way to work, but I am very happy with where it has gotten us,” she says. “It is always our hope that we are selecting the people who are following their spirit and doing what God is calling them to do.”
Klingshirn praises her work. “The dignity of the person is at the forefront with Sandy," he says. "She has done an outstanding job of making sure each and everyone of the 200-plus people and countless coaches, student workers and others have what they need to do their jobs effectively.”
As she retires, she is looking to water the seeds that were planted in her early years here, by serving others as a spiritual director. Her deep faith and abundant life experiences will no doubt make her a great listener who helps others find God in all things.
Appeldorn is grateful for the Saint Ignatius community’s influence on her throughout these past 15 years. “I’ve learned so much from so many people. I’m not the same person I was when I started here because of the wonderful relationships I’ve built. I will cherish that forever.”