Kevin Bailey is a jack of all trades and a master of a few too. Not only is he the current assistant dean of marketing and communications and chief information officer at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, but he also oversees facilities. In addition, Bailey serves as the Central New York Pride marketing chair, is Treasurer for the Technology in Business Schools Roundtable, worked for Yale Law School, hosts monthly gay pop-up bars and occasionally jet sets the world.
Bailey wouldn’t have imagined this life in 1995 when he began his undergraduate degrees in psychology and religious studies at Campbellsville University, a small school in the middle of Kentucky. He continued his education at Yale in a master’s program for religion.
Bailey had been dabbling in IT as a student worker throughout all of his college career. At one point while working for the Yale Divinity School, a secretary said to him, “Kevin, you are so good with computers, do you know you can get a job as an IT worker and get paid twice as much?”
Bailey shares how she sat down with him and helped him to apply for one of the IT jobs at the Yale Law School IT services help desk. He secured the job and began work that summer, which turned into a full-time job offer upon his graduation from Yale.
When Bailey knew that the missionary track was not his objective, he used his electives to take courses with the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale, which is a world-renowned institute that studies religious music and art. His passion for art is something that follows him today as he travels.
Bailey and his husband travel extensively around Europe. His husband, Ludger Viefhues-Bailey, is originally from Germany and they return every year for Christmas. His husband has also impacted Bailey’s move to Syracuse, New York, as Viefhues-Bailey was offered a position as a philosophy professor at Le Moyne College.
The duo enjoys the Syracuse area and Bailey doesn’t regret the career path he took to get to where he is today. He enjoys his job and sees the role of IT at Whitman as a department that can optimize learning. Bailey states, “When there is a problem in a classroom, we drop everything and focus on fixing that problem.” This is done to ensure that students and faculty are able to use their time as effectively as possible.
Bailey goes on to explain, “We don’t want technology to get in the way of the transmission of knowledge or the receipt of it.” When asked to describe specifically why he enjoys working at a university he explains, “I like the value proposition of higher education. We are the seekers after and creators of knowledge. That’s a noble pursuit.”
If you get a chance to visit Bailey’s office, one of the first things you will notice is his poster of Banksy’s graffiti art of Steve Jobs. “Steve Jobs has influenced me in terms of his boldness as a creator and leader.” Bailey interprets the depiction of Steve Jobs as a refugee because Job’s father immigrated to the United States after fleeing political unrest in Syria.
The artwork and Steve Jobs resonates with Bailey because he sees him as a person who lived the American Dream. Bailey is a first-generation college student who is also trying to make strides in a world that doesn’t always feel like it’s accepting of his identity.
Bailey is also a boss who is passionate about people and desires to maintain human connection. He states, “human beings are not machines and there are all sorts of things outside of work that impact us and our ability to do work.” Being sensitive to that is important to him. With his Whitman colleagues, he plans a monthly breakfast to promote fellowship, celebrate everybody and show his gratitude for the team.
Outside of work, Bailey continues to see the need for human connectedness and fellowship. Alongside his friend, Tanner Efinger, Baily co-created the Syracuse Guerrilla Gay Bar. Bailey explains, “It came down to community and seeing how fragmented the queer community was in Syracuse.”
The Guerrilla Gay Bar operates as a pop-up bar for queer individuals who want to promote visibility and networking. On the day of the event, Bailey, Efinger and their co-organizer Ariel Servadio, reveal the location of a bar in Syracuse that attendees can prepare to go to later that day. The location at which they host the event gets a one-week forewarning. Another event that Bailey was recently involved in was CNY Pride Night with the Syracuse Crunch.
Overall Bailey believes, “People are hungry for community. They are hungry for connection.”
Bailey has filled his time with countless initiatives and projects since joining Whitman. The newest of his projects is a Salesforce club for students. When coworkers are asked about him, they grin and have a positive experience or story to share.
With success comes wisdom and Bailey’s piece of advice to students is, “Take advantage of all the opportunities you’re presented with. If something scares you to consider doing, do it. Stretch yourself. We are capable of so much more than we think we’re capable. Especially at a place like Syracuse University, there are untold opportunities.”
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