Q&A with Rockefeller deputy director Sadhana Hall

by Julian Nathan | 9/12/17 2:00am

As the deputy director of the Rockefeller Center, Sadhana Hall has developed initiatives for fostering student leaders such as the Management and Leadership Development Program and the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program. Prior to coming Dartmouth in 2004, Hall spent 20 years working on health, agriculture and water resources around the world in places like Tuvalu, Bhutan and the Caucasus. Domestically, she has worked on expanding healthcare services to underprivileged communities in New Hampshire.

What made you decide to work at Dartmouth?

SH: It was a combination of things. When I came to my interview, I was very, very impressed and sensed that working here would be an extremely enriching experience for me. I don’t come from an academic background — I came in from an international non-profit. The experience of talking to the students and the staff of the Rockefeller Center is an absolutely delightful experience and continues to be that way.

What is the biggest change that you have noticed during your time at Dartmouth?

SH: Good question. I think that the campus is starting to support more and more co-curricular offerings and more intentional efforts to collaborate across different organizations and departments. I also think that faculty and staff have also tried to make students’ four years on campus as rich of an experience as possible.

What made you decide to work in government and public policy?

SH: Well, I have a master’s in public health and a background in community development. I have worked nationally and internationally and on public policy issues. I think it is about how you can address need on a community level, on an institutional level and on an organizational level.

Did you notice any increase in student interest in government and public policy in response to the 2016 election?

SH: Well, yes and no. We have always had a large cohort of students interested in politics and participating in organizations like the Dartmouth College Democrats and the Dartmouth College Republicans. A lot of other students work on campaigns and things like that on their off terms. So, students who were engaged continue to be engaged. I’d also say that we have seen more and more students becoming involved recently just as a result of their observation about what’s going on in the country.

What are you most excited about at the Rockefeller Center this year?

SH: I’m really honored to work at the center with people who really understand the mission of the Rockefeller Center and work very hard to develop the best classes and programs. I’m also co-authoring a book on teaching leadership. And I’m excited to see the culmination of that, hopefully by next year. We’ve also scheduled new speakers this term, and our programming at Rocky changes all the time depending on availability, so that is always interesting to see too.

What is your favorite part about working at Dartmouth?

SH: I love working with students, and I also love working with the Rockefeller Center team. I believe that an innovative and exciting workplace environment brings out the best in people, and I think that Rockefeller Center directors and faculty really do that for me.

And what advice do you give to your students most often?

SH: If you asked my students, they would probably tell you that I talk a lot about being authentic and keeping your integrity. I think that’s so important because something like integrity might seem like a nebulous concept, but if you don’t keep your word, then people won’t trust you and you lose credibility. Authentic people can recognize an inauthentic person. For me, I consider authenticity and integrity building blocks for leadership. I also talk a lot about why it’s important to be introspective and comfortable with the work that you do, constantly evaluating how it affects others in the process.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Correction Appended (Sept. 12, 2017): This article was updated to clarify Hall's background.