When Nancy Earley moved home after college to take a job as a contract computer programmer at Corning Glass Works, little did she know that this decision would lead to a nearly 40-year career centered around glass in the Corning valley. On August 31, Nancy will retire as CMoG’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer after 23 years at the Museum, preceded by 14 in corporate accounting at Corning Inc.
There are many who work tirelessly behind the scenes to enable the enormous strides in innovation that have taken place here in America’s Crystal City. These people are often the unsung heroes, but they’re the glue that holds institutions together. Nancy has spent her career making sure that everything stays on track.
Nancy has created an incredible legacy of leadership at The Corning Museum of Glass. She has led numerous strategic projects that have affected all aspects of this organization. During her tenure, she has operated rationally and logically with a solitary focus in mind: What’s best for the Museum? Maybe most importantly, Nancy has created many of the principles and policies that became the foundation for the Museum’s future success. Under her guidance, the Museum has grown substantially, sustainably, and with clear vision and purpose. – Alan Eusden, chief operating officer
When she took the computer programming job at then Corning Glass Works in 1979, it was during the days when you punched cards for computer programs and data. She had just received her business administration degree from SUNY Fredonia, and worked with her first mainframe computer terminal. Shortly thereafter, she advanced to a personal computer to more efficiently manage programs and data. New technology was exciting, she said. “Data analysis and computer logic were my early forte and working within a financial group also fed my love for accounting.”
Nancy has the highest integrity and always put CMoG first! Nancy is one of the people at CMoG who always offered sage advice and helped me to navigate tough waters. Nancy made my job easier and CMoG better for her talents and her skills. Congratulations on her well-deserved retirement from a wonderful career at CMoG. – Marie McKee, former president of CMoG
At Corning, Nancy was responsible for “an odd set of accounting functions,” she said, each with their own system needs. In 1994, Nancy was approached to bring her financial system skills to The Corning Museum of Glass. Her move was a big shift, going from managing a few accounts on a corporate general ledger to having oversight and responsibility for all of the Museum’s “books” and working with a diverse group of “passionate employees, focused clearly on the mission of the Museum”—something Nancy found exceptionally exciting.
Her technical skills soon led her to manage the Museum’s IT team, then the HR staff, and as the Museum continued to grow, she also began overseeing the facilities on the Museum campus.
I have always admired Nancy’s role as mentor and protector. She invests a lot of time in her team and the Museum to exceed our guests’ expectations. I will miss the glow that she has when she speaks of family. That trumps everything else to me. – Randy Vargason, Information Technology Manager
“What Corning Incorporated and The Corning Museum of Glass both offered was challenging assignments and growth in responsibilities,” said Nancy.
Nancy has enjoyed many memorable moments during her time at the Museum, but a few stand out.
“The grand opening of the Contemporary Art + Design Wing was the most eventful, exciting opportunity I had at the Museum,” she said. “The project was huge from beginning to end, and I was engaged in forecasting project costs and evaluating strategies to build a safe, maintainable, yet beautiful building.”
Nancy also enjoyed helping to organize Glass Art Society conferences in Corning, and co-chaired the event in 2009. “I always love when the Glass Art Society comes to town,” she said. “I love every phase of the project, from the planning and funding to the entertaining aspects.”
Nancy has a mind-boggling ability to quickly look at a situation from a dozen different angles and think about the one thing that nobody else thought about. She will be missed, but I am excited for her to enjoy her retirement. – Dave Togni, director of finance
But more than anything else, for Nancy, it has always been the people that make the Museum an amazing place to work.
“The staff at each phase of the Museum’s life has been terrific, and a great team to work with,” Nancy said. “They’re the reason I’ve enjoyed my years at CMoG.”
Nancy has witnessed the growth and expansion of the institution—really the years when the museum has matured into an internationally recognized and respected institution. During her tenure, Nancy served as a member of the leadership group that has shaped and guided the institution. Both highly professional and warm and engaging, Nancy has been a terrific colleague and partner for me, and I will miss her greatly. – Karol Wight, president and executive director of CMoG
Nancy has also worked closely with the Museum’s Board of Trustees, adding “it is the combination of Corning executives, Museum professionals, glass artists, community partners, and other business leaders and fundraising professionals that have made the board successful and a real pleasure to work with.”
I admired Nancy for a number of qualities. Just to name two: her ability to handle a wide range of CMoG responsibilities—she covered so much more than finance—and also her dedication—she would take on many unusual tasks and chase down all the necessary facts. I enjoyed working with Nancy because of her incredible devotion to CMoG. We shared the love of the institution. – Jim Flaws, former CMoG board chairman
In retirement, Nancy has plans to travel with her husband Ron. They became RV enthusiasts in 2011, and are looking forward to “extended trips traveling across the country, experiencing the beauty and uniqueness of so many cities and states.” She has also spent a great deal of time volunteering with youth organizations in the Corning area, and plans to continue that meaningful work. “I am passionate about wanting to add value to this community,” said Nancy. “To have an impact on how children develop and to garner their respect is so rewarding. I hope in retirement I can continue to impact local kids’ lives and the future leaders of the Museum and Corning Incorporated.”
Congratulations to Nancy on many successful years here at The Corning Museum of Glass, and we wish her all the best in her retirement!