photo of Vikki Pryor sitting on a chair.

Helping leaders to connect

“It’s not just about giving out grants. We’re helping individuals successfully complete their education, transition to the workplace and manage their careers. We want our Scholars to bring their values, skills, care, concern and compassion for people to whatever they do, wherever they are.”

By the time she started her leadership development company, Change Create Transform, in 2011, Vikki Pryor ’78 had done several things: worked as a government tax attorney, held senior positions in the insurance industry, served on a series of high-profile boards. She had wisdom to share about how executives can make their companies work better.

She also knew that magic happens when people engage each other. So she built her New York City-based company on a web platform that enables members to share ideas and strategic counsel from their own experience.

“People are redefining how they work, when they work, what works means to them,” Pryor says. “Our members are part of a community – they can work on their personal and professional development, network with others, and do business development. It allows Members to curate their own experience.”

“Platforms are the way people connect today. It’s a springboard. We want people to come to our community and find ways to engage with us as the world keeps evolving and changing and people keep redefining and redesigning themselves. It’s become much more fascinating than I ever expected.”

With about 50 ExpertTerre® members and more than 4,000 followers on social media platforms, Change Create Transform also provides business consulting and coaching, and sponsors leadership retreats, seminars and trainings.

“Law school is a metamorphosis. It can be challenging, difficult, intimidating, but also eye-opening and mind-expanding, and you develop a set of tools that will last for the rest of your life. I’ve used my legal skills in everything I’ve done. The reason lawyers are valued and important is that we bring an approach that can be innovative and creative.”

Leveraging Partnerships

A parallel philanthropic effort, the Create Change Transform Foundation, works with nine academic partners nationwide (including UB School of Law) to provide scholarship support and leadership training for promising students. The program now has more than 100 alumni, Promise Prize® Scholars, all of whom have committed to lifetime involvement in the foundation and its ideals of service.

“It’s not just about giving out grants,” Pryor says. “We’re helping individuals successfully complete their education, transition to the workplace and manage their careers. We want our Scholars to bring their values, skills, care, concern and compassion for people to whatever they do, wherever they are.”

It’s a major effort, including an annual summit for the Scholars. A faculty council member on each campus identifies and works with the Scholars, whose academic pursuits range from liberal arts to filmmaking to law.

A Continual Metamorphosis

Her own experience at UB School of Law, Pryor says, was quite intimidating. Classes were still taught in the traditional Socratic Method. “When we started law school, they told us that regardless of how independent or free-spirited you think you are, when you leave here, your thinking will be different.  You will not be the same person who came here; the way you think and interact with the world will be forever changed. I thought, Oh, come on. It was true. I am forever changed, for the good.”

“Law school is a metamorphosis. It can be challenging, difficult, intimidating, but also eye-opening and mind-expanding, and you develop a set of tools that will last for the rest of your life. I’ve used my legal skills in everything I’ve done. The reason lawyers are valued and important is that we bring an approach that can be innovative and creative.”

And for someone who typed her law school papers on a typewriter, she prides herself on embracing new technologies, as evidenced now by her web-based business. “I have been an early adopter of new technology,” Pryor says. “I’ve tried to integrate those changes and remain relevant. In some ways, I am always trying to reinvent myself.”