Professor Charles Skuba talks the importance of constant reinvention, redefining student success, and staying true to what excites you at the Red House Dinner Series

Professor Charles Skuba talks the importance of constant reinvention, redefining student success, and staying true to what excites you at the Red House Dinner Series

October 16, 2018 News

On October 9, The Red House was delighted to host Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Executive Custom Programs Charles Skuba at the second Red House Dinner series event of the Fall 2018 semester.

The room held a mixture of students from every school and class year, and while Professor Skuba provided career advice that was applicable to all, it was most profound for the many seniors in attendance. Skuba spoke of the importance of constant reinvention: both in the life of a university and as one of its students. It was more than advice; Skuba’s comment was a reflection on a life where constant reinvention is the rule.

With a career spanning work in international development, the Department of Commerce, private marketing consultancy, higher education, and even work in a textiles factory, Skuba’s unique background spurred many questions from the student audience. Skuba answered questions ranging from the prospects of a recent merger between Michael Kors and Versace to the challenges of public-private partnerships in developing economies. Based on his work in both the public and the private sectors, he gave an often overlooked perspective of the value of  both sectors, both on their own and in terms of their mutual vitality. Throughout the dinner, Skuba offered a perspective of life that was both practical and fulfilling. While it was clear that constant reinvention is a requirement of our rapidly evolving world, the need to continually reinvent, iterate and create can also be a source of joy and energy.

Constant reinvention, to Professor Skuba, also goes hand in hand with personal authenticity. The biggest challenge of his life, he noted, was overcoming preconceived notions of success and learning how to define it for himself. His advice to students was to not understand success as a comparison, but rather as an intrinsic understanding of what drives them. He advised students to not be held captive to the path of others, but rather be constantly assessing one’s personalized skill set and abilities in order to find their own path.

In response to the last question of the evening about what it takes to be adaptive in today’s world, Professor Skuba shared the importance of finding personal sources of optimism in one’s life in order to successfully pivot from one sector to another. For Skuba, finding strength in faith and love allow him to continually find his grounding and motivation to leap into a new, and sometimes scary, enterprises. The room was left with the reminder that positivity and humanity are powerful motivators in any career.  


The next Red House Dinner Series will feature NHS Professor Blythe Shepard on Thursday, October 25th. Students can join the Red House Student Network listserv here to be the first to receive information about signups and stay up to date about all upcoming Red House events. You can also visit our Facebook page for event updates from the Red House.

If you are a faculty member who would like to share your work or join our conversations around contemporary issues in higher education, please email the Red House at

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Jamie Farrell: