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The Accidental CFO — Diversity of Experience in Higher Ed with Vanderbilt’s Brett Sweet

Brett Sweet serves as Vice Chancellor for Finance and Chief Financial Officer for Vanderbilt University. He’s a former submariner and special projects officer with the National Security Agency, so you might understand why he refers to himself as “the accidental CFO.” This week on the show, Brett shares the winding road that led him from the military to higher ed.

Brett’s experience in higher education has led him to some of his more interesting lessons. “There’s this view that if someone didn’t grow up in higher ed… maybe they don’t have anything to contribute here,” Brett says. “We have to be careful to be more open minded. You get a greater diversity of thought, opinion and frankly experiences. We have to be more open minded in what [outsiders] can provide.”

Brett’s story is inspirational, not just as an example of the service mentality, but as a model for someone who has enthusiasm and passion for the job day to day. We hope you enjoy this conversation with Vanderbilt’s Brett Sweet.


Tadu Yimam

Vice President, Digital Engagement


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