“I find myself thrilled to go to work,” says Gorman, who joined the NESA leadership team in 2009. After two years as COO and executive dean at the Newton, Mass.-based nonprofit, she was named interim president in late 2011. “I talk to, coach, direct and motivate people all day long.”
The former Marketing major is poised to lead NESA through its next phase of growth, as acupuncture gains wider acceptance as a treatment for numerous ills.
“People are tired of getting a prescription for another pill, tired of being in pain, tired of waiting to see their primary care doctor,” observes Gorman. “We offer another option.”
Even the Western medical establishment is coming around to the ancient practice. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults used acupuncture in the previous year. Conversely, when NESA was founded in 1975, administrators had to pitch hospitals to host an acupuncture clinic staffed by students and supervised by a faculty member.
“In recent months, I’ve been approached by very important medical facilities in the Boston area and asked to provide student interns for on-site clinics,” Gorman reports. “As what we do becomes more recognized, the demand for our graduates will only grow.”
Gorman’s goals for the school include growing the student body, which hovers around 200, and possibly diversifying programs beyond acupuncture. To those ends, she has hired consultants to help with enrollment strategies. Another resource is Bentley’s Corporate Immersion program, which puts current students to work on real projects in the professional world. A group of MBA students will create a new branding campaign for NESA.
“When people think of acupuncture, they think of needles – which makes them think it must hurt,” she explains. “We’ve got to change that perception.”
In citing the benefits of acupuncture, Gorman speaks from experience. NESA encourages all employees to schedule sessions, offering reduced rates and a culture that respects taking time out of the workday. At first reluctant to book appointments, Gorman is now a convert.
“I used to be a nose-to-the-grindstone person who reached for over-the-counter medication for a headache or to help me sleep,” recalls the alumna, who had struggled through a divorce and layoff before joining NESA. She credits two years of treatments for quelling insomnia and workaholic tendencies.
Whatever the source of her newfound peace, Gorman is energized by the challenges ahead. “Although I still can’t believe it when I pull into the parking lot, I love coming to work every day.”