Dr. Pedro Santana. Photo courtesy of Pedro Santana.

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

GALLOWAY — Many know Dr. Pedro Santana as an award-winning and inspirational administrator at Stockton University, but he is now putting his energies into his own consulting organization helping governments and businesses chart a path into the future.

Deal With It Management, LLC is a full-service management and consulting firm dedicated to providing top quality solutions and services to government clients, business, K-12 and higher education leaders.

“We aim to help organizations adapt to the shifting needs of the marketplace by providing innovative solutions for a chaotic world,” said Santana, who had served more than two decades in the academic arena. “We pride ourselves in being industry experts and we want to help you assess your needs and craft custom solutions that will aid in your organizational growth and development.

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“Our commitment is towards helping you become a high-achieving learning organization that strives to meet and exceed your key performance indicators regardless of your respective field. We are committed towards being cutting edge in all that you do. We want to help you plan, organize and lead your organization into future success.

Dr. Pedro Santana speaking at an event at Atlantic Cape Community College. Photo courtesy of Pedro Santana.

“We pay careful attention to ensuring that you are meeting the ever-growing and present needs within your respective market as you adapt to the marketplace of ideas and the shifting demographics within the communities that surround your organization’s distinctive environment,” Santana said.

Developing Young People

During his years in the educational field, Santana was most recently assistant vice president for student affairs at Stockton. He said he remembers those days fondly and with gratitude.

“The experience at Stockton is one that I would not trade for anything in the world,” Santana said. “It allowed me the opportunity to pay forward a gift that had been given to me long ago. That gift gave an inner city kid an opportunity to transform his life for the better and I dedicated my career to pay the blessing forward by helping develop and grow both students and staff at the university. Stockton was an amazing place and had a very supportive community of which I was an integral part for nearly two decades, I will be always grateful for the opportunity to serve others.”

Dr. Pedro Santana speaks at Atlantic City Hometown Heroes event. Photo courtesy of Dr. Pedro Santana.

Today, Deal With It helps government agencies, corporate boards, presidents and CEOs of companies, non-profit executives, superintendents, principals, directors of human resource departments, executive level vice presidents, vice principals and other leaders from organizations ranging from 5 to 5,000 employees who would like to increase Return on Investment while increasing worker productivity and lowering overhead costs.

“We leverage the best in class talent optimization tools to help you chart a path to your success,” he said.

Award-Winning Educator, Leader

Santana, the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, said he particularly enjoys working with the local Latin American community. He was the founder and first president of the UNIDOS Faculty Staff Organization at Stockton University in 2018.

Santana was the first recipient of The John Arthur Thomas Greatest Generation Award at Stockton University in honor of a great African American World War II Veteran.

Dr. Pedro Santana at Friday Is Tie Day event. Photo courtesy of Pedro Santana.

He has been recognized with numerous awards throughout the years including Friday is Tie Day Role Model Award; New Leadership Council, New Jersey Change Maker Award in 2018; Latin Music Festival Godfather Award in 2018; Hispanic of the Year in 2018; South Jersey Journal 2018 Hispanic Leaders in New Jersey; Atlantic City Hometown Hero 2018; and Past Honorary Commander for the Joint Base 2017.

“Working with the Latino community in South Jersey has been a blessing,” Santana said. “We still have lots of work to do to ensure that the future is brighter than the past. Our Latino community continues to grow and presently encompasses 30% to 40% of the communities throughout South Jersey yet, as a community we are significantly underrepresented within the legislature, corporate leadership within the region, health care, academia, K-12, law enforcement and many other arenas.

“Many organizations posit a commitment towards diversity, equity and inclusion however they never move past the initial commentary and yet the future of the local economy and U.S. economy will fall in greater part to how well the United States can integrate its Latino citizenry into our great democracy,” he continued.

He was also awarded the La Unidad Latina Award presented by La Unidad Latina National Fraternal Service Organization in 2017; the New Jersey Order of the Purple Heart coin recognition for work done at Stockton University for its veterans program 2017; the Puerto Rican Action Committee of Southern New Jersey Lifetime Achievement Award on October 24, 2014; and the Stockton University Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Engagement Award.

Bright Future for Latino Community

He said the Latino community continues to raise their profile locally and is continuing to be a force in South Jersey.

Dr. Pedro Santana in the classroom. Photo courtesy of Dr. Pedro Santana.

“Latinos needs to continue to run for political office and demand that the school systems and respective administrations reflect the community,” Santana said. “Additionally, these same issues are reflected within the classrooms in the K-12 and the NJ higher education system. The Latino community needs to continue to demand representation on the many Corporate boards within the area and continue to develop and attract new business investments into the area.”

Santana, who is fluent in English and Spanish and working knowledge of Portuguese, grew up in New York City and has made it his lifetime mission and goal to help institutions maximize their potential in addressing the shifting demographics and ever-changing needs of a diverse student body.

He spent his formative years in the Washington Heights neighborhood, plagued, at the time, with gang violence, drugs, high teenage pregnancy rates, and the highest homicide rate within the five boroughs. He was a product of the New York City public school system and graduated from George Washington High School.

Santana became a first-generation college student at the age of 16 when he gained admission to the University at Buffalo through their Educational Opportunity Program. He said his EOP counselor Carlos Oliviencia had a profound impact on him.

Dr. Pedro Santana speaking at Stockton University. Photo courtesy of Dr. Pedro Santana.

He said that experience shaped his view on how mentors can have a positive impact on their mentees.

“I take my responsibility as a role model very seriously and I try to help as much as I possibly can,” Santana said. “I was taught long ago never to look down on a brother or sister unless you are ready to pick them up.

“I have practiced that throughout my lifetime. I am not perfect. However, I am committed towards continuous self-improvement and with each day that passes I have grown in my understanding of who I am and how I can help the world,” he added.

Santana touched on numerous other topics with Front Runner New Jersey/La Prensa.

FRNJ/La Prensa: Who inspires you today?

Pedro Santanta: My trust is in God. The youth inspire me today because they bring me hope for the future.

FRNJ/La Prensa: Anything else you would like to add?

Pedro Santana: I think it’s up to me and those that follow me to change the world for the better. As individuals and as a country we should always strive to do better because if we do — it will be evident and we will ensure that future generations of Americans can continue to prosper and actively contribute to the global economy in the years to come. According to statistics prior to the current census there are 60 million Hispanics/Latinos with a future growth estimate pegged at 150 million at the high-end and with that there exists the insurmountable task of backward engineering as to how we will be able to unlock the future human potential from the community which I will always call home.

Additional biography information:

In Dr. Santana’s immediate prior role of approximately 9 years, he has served as the Dean of Students at Stockton University, and had the primary responsibilities of providing leadership, vision, direction and supervision to a comprehensive student life area consisting of several Student Affairs units and institutional auxiliaries. Dr. Santana supervised the largest arm of the division of Student Affairs at the university at that time. His fiscal responsibilities included managing an overall operating budget of nearly $4 million and auxiliary budgets approaching $44 million.

The value Dr. Santana places on education is paramount as evidenced by his educational pursuits and the attainment of multiple graduate degrees in student personnel administration, organizational management and additional completed coursework in global affairs, educational leadership and higher education administration. Dr. Santana holds a Doctorate degree in Business Administration; his research examined the Middle States Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) roles and succession planning considerations within all four-year public, private and for-profit institutions accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Dr. Santana’s career-path trajectory has been primarily within Student Affairs. However, despite his administrative focus, he has always remained grounded in his respective academic discipline and training. He has held teaching roles at Stockton University’s School of Business, the Wilmington University College of Business, Buffalo State College Department of Higher Education Administration and the MBA program at Goldey-Beacom College. Dr. Santana’s experiences and training in strategic planning, succession management, assessment, institutional effectiveness, student learning outcomes and technology have allowed him to develop and contribute his expertise at the local, state and national levels.

In addition to his formal schooling, Dr. Santana has completed the Institute for Education Management at Harvard University and has received a certificate in fundraising management (CFRM) from the Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Other notable executive leadership programs that Dr. Santana has participated in have included the Leadership New Jersey Fellows program and the Executive Leadership Academy (ELA), a year-long program cosponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the American Academic Leadership Institute. These programs were designed to prepare experienced provosts and vice presidents to become successful presidents. Dr. Santana additionally has served as a Peer Evaluator for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and served on numerous visiting teams that reviewed peer institutions according to the standards outlined in the Commission’s Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education. Additionally, Dr. Santana acted as a Compliance Reviewer for the Commission and ensured that institutions assigned were in compliance with federal requirements related to Title IV as outlined in the 2008 Higher Education Accreditation Act (Distance education (student identity verification), Transfer of credit, Assignment of credit hours and Title IV cohort default rate).

Dr. Santana serves on numerous boards that are dedicated to the academic empowerment and upliftment of humanity. Dr. Santana holds numerous memberships in both professional and philanthropic organizations. Most recently, Dr. Santana became a Founder and the first elected President of the UNIDOS Faculty and Staff organization at Stockton University and led the charge for the development of many initiatives that contributed towards the University’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Dr. Santana is a Life-Member of La Unidad Latina and the Prince Hall Masonic family.

In his personal time, Dr. Santana enjoys practicing his faith, serving the community and spending time with his family.

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