Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of The Friends 2021 Vol. 1 | Page 8

Building Mount Auburn through its People

By Regina Harrison Sales Manager

O ver eleven years ago , I saw a job posting for the position of Executive Assistant at Mount Auburn Cemetery . I knew Mount Auburn as a beautiful place , full of birds , but somehow it had never occurred to me that people actually worked there , let alone that I could be one of them . I applied for the job and was soon scheduled to meet with the Cemetery ’ s president , David Barnett .

The stereotype of a cemetery president might be a somber , solemn person in a dark suit with a sepulchral demeanor , but as anyone who knew Dave could have told me , that stereotype could not have been further from reality in this case . Dave ’ s friendliness , enthusiasm , and dedication to Mount Auburn and all of its aspects , from trees to headstones , were contagious . By the end of that interview , I knew that not only would Mount Auburn Cemetery be a beautiful place to work , but also that it would be a place where people truly loved their jobs . I was hooked .
I know that many others in this issue of Sweet Auburn will comment on the qualities that have made Dave such a tremendous leader during his tenure here . One quality of his that may not be so readily apparent beyond our gates is his eagerness to support and encourage staff members to grow beyond their job descriptions , following their strengths and skills into new positions even if those positions had to be developed for them . In many institutions and under many bosses , job titles can become permanent boxes , a rigid way of thinking that misses out on the full potential of the rich human resource of a dedicated staff . Dave has always seen the individual rather than the role , recognizing what a staff member is capable of beyond what they are currently assigned to do . And usually , what that staff member is capable of is just what Mount Auburn needs , even if nobody but Dave foresaw that need . By allowing individuals to grow , Dave has built a stronger Mount Auburn .
I know this from firsthand experience . When I showed an interest in sales a few years back , Dave encouraged me to join the sales team , even when it meant loss of administrative support for the President ’ s office , which was a definite inconvenience for him . As the sales team evolved over the past two years , I ultimately became the fulltime Sales Manager , positioned at the right time in the right place to help families and contribute to Mount Auburn ’ s financial support , and most importantly , fully embracing Mount Auburn ’ s mission of comforting the bereaved in a landscape of exceptional beauty . I know many other co-workers could tell similar stories about Dave ’ s faith and trust in their abilities , because I have seen them alongside me growing and developing in their roles as well . Dave has not only played a major role in making Mount Auburn what it is today : he has also played a major role in making the people of Mount Auburn who they are today . With gratitude , we thank him , and promise to carry on his vision and above all his compassion for all of those who make up the community of Mount Auburn .