D. Jean Hester

Senior Client Strategist & Business Development Lead

Jean is a strategic thinker and problem solver who devises multiple potential paths to a solution before proposing the one she believes will be most effective. 

She can see a solution’s many pieces interacting and how each could impact the ecosystem of a project.  It’s just the way her brain is wired – seeing the connections between now and down the road, and the options of the many ways to get from here to there, is second nature.  She loves helping people figure out how to get from a point of chaos, uncertainty, or plain old stasis to a state of stability, improvement, or growth.

With over sixteen years on college campuses as Vice President for Enrollment Management, Director of Admissions, and faculty member, Jean brings an eclectic mix of background and experience to her Client Strategy and Business Development role at NewCity. She’s worked at many types of higher ed institutions – private and public, large and small, 2-year to graduate, liberal arts to art-and-design-focused.  She understands, and has empathy for, the incredibly complex challenges college administrators, faculty, college students (and those hoping to be college students), face every day.  

Often a bridge between the people who understand technologies and the people who need to use them, her analytical skills and thinking help sharpen broad conversations and lend them precision. Anytime she works on big-picture projects, such as long-term strategy, she’s instinctively also thinking about optimizing processes, tools, and data configuration —while keeping concepts down to earth and relatable for all.  This facility for technology makes sense because earlier in her career, Jean was a developer, leading teams of front-end developers on major website projects for Fortune 500 companies and NASA labs. 

Jean is always reading 3 or 4 books at the same time (she walks to her local library at least once a week). She’s a constant learner, diving deep into multiple books on a topic, spending hours happily researching online to add yet more arcane and geeky tidbits to her brain. Classical music, from the baroque to the contemporary, brings her great joy and is something she can’t live without. She brings her strategic thinking to the traveling she loves to do (she can’t help it), finding the most interesting museums, food, and experiences to create an itinerary, then tracking it all in a spreadsheet (really).

I know that while there is no silver bullet, no quick fix, I do strongly believe that solutions can be crafted to help higher education institutions and their communities thrive (not just survive.)

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Oliver Burkeman

Partita for 8 Voices

Roomful of Teeth/Caroline Shaw