Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Name: Kathy Koval
Position: Assistant Dean, Director of Business and Public Management Programs
Name: Cindy Cheyney
Position: Assistant Dean
Name: Laurie Christie
Position: Administrative Assistant to the Dean
Name: Danah Allen
Position: Communications and Impact Coordinator
Name: Paige Carey
Why did you choose WCU and/or CBPM?
"I majored in accounting for my undergraduate and got into finance management after I graduated from college. I then realized that leadership and management skills were necessary for me to move on to the next level of influence in the corporate world. I actually started my MBA at Villanova. I was a working mother of two living in West Chester, so it was difficult for me to commute two nights a week to Villanova. At that time, West Chester had just started their MBA program. So, I decided to join, and I was one of the inaugural classes of that program."
How has the quality of education you received from WCU prepared you for life after graduation?
"Like any pursuit of education, you get out what you put in. When I went to WCU, I was already in the business world for several years and could recognize and relate to what most of the professors were teaching. Remember, those were the early days of WCU's MBA program, so we were suffering some growing pains. But, I think the first group of students and the program helped each other become better.
I think getting my MBA while working full-time helped in showing my tenacity and demonstrated my commitment to better myself. The education that I received at West Chester University as an MBA student was solid and facilitated my continuing growth as a professional. People who did not know West Chester University back in 1989 do not know the kind of progress that it has made as an educational institution. That gives me so much pride in being associated with this organization."
Tell me about the new business you have started.
"I have started a coaching and HR consulting business. I retired from the corporate world four years ago. I was lucky enough to hold several executive level positions later in my career. For over thirty years, I made a difference in the corporate world. I felt it was time for me to make a difference in the community and the world on a one-on-one basis. I decided that the best way for me to positively influence someone is by becoming a coach and a consultant. The goal is to help others achieve their professional and personal goals. I am in the early stage of establishing my business. I'm receiving formal training to become a licensed coach. I intend to consult entrepreneurial businesses with 50 to 500 employees on strategic human resources management. I will be helping these businesses to use their employees as a strategic advantage in the early stage of their corporate life cycle. Companies like Starbucks, Amazon, and Netflix all started with only a few people. But, they grew very quickly. The strength of their employees is the key to their long-term success."
What is a typical day like for you?
"It is important to nourish the whole person. I always start my morning with exercise and meditation. That's to ground me for the day. Then, I move on to working on various activities associated with my new business. It means a lot of meetings with people who are already in the field who can validate my concept and give me feedback. I also take a lot of training classes to gain skills and knowledge necessary to be successful. I basically spend most of my day trying to better myself physically, intellectually, and mentally."
What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
"If you enter a business related field, I encourage you to pay attention to formal and informal leadership very early in your career. Everyone has the potential to become a strong leader, but it takes practice. Most students may have this impression that since they are individual contributors, they don't have to lead. I can tell you that you don't need someone to give you formal authority to lead. You can influence your peers and even your managers. In today's business world, you have to be demonstrating some leadership potential before an organization is willing to select you as a formal leader. You also need to focus on ethics. If you want to maintain long-term success, the only way to do so is by being an ethical leader. With strong leadership skills and ethical standards, you can go into any position in any field and achieve success."
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
"It's simple. Work hard, be nice to people, and make a difference."
What makes our college standout to you?
"West Chester started out as a teaching college, so it's amazing how CBPM has grown over the past twenty or thirty years. We started out with a very strong reputation in accounting. When Dr. Fiorentino became the dean, he wanted the college to improve its quality and reputation. He put us on a path of continued growth. He increased the size of the faculty, made a lot of investments in growing the business programs, and getting us through the first accreditation. Dean Patrick continued that vision. It is now the second largest college at WCU. Our students are being sought out by the top three accounting firms and lots of businesses are coming to WCU to hire our graduates!"
When you were a student at WCU, did you do an internship and/or study abroad? If so, describe those experiences.
"I did not since I was already working professionally. But, I highly recommend studying or travelling abroad. We're living in a world that is completely globalized. For you to be able to understand the complexities of globalization, I believe you need to have exposure to people who are outside of this country. I am amazed how few students showing any interest in studying and working abroad."
What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or in our college?
"My favorite memory comes from Dr. James Milne. He was my Human Resources Management professor. It was the last course for me to take before graduation. I had to drop out the first time because I was responsible for a system conversion and sometimes working seventy to eighty hours a week, and I just didn't have the time. About a year and half, I received a letter from Dr. Nagar stating I would exceed the time limit to complete the MBA courses. I came back to his class after just having had an operation on my leg. I walked into the classroom and he looked at my leg and said, ‘What have you done to yourself this time?' This was years ago and I still remember that. He was, by far, the professor who has had the biggest impact on my life because he taught me about leadership. He taught me that, to achieve business success, I need to understand that I can't accomplish it without taking care of my employees first. It's the lessons from that class that allowed me to be recognized as a strong manager and leader and be able to meet and surpass my career goals."
What's the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn't learn from your resume alone?
"I believe strongly in giving back. My motto is, "If not I, then who?" That's how I live my life. I'm involved in many non-profit organizations for that reason. I view myself as an activist who is passionate about making the world a better place!"