Issue16_Features_Alum

AlumKnights: No ‘what ifs’

Feb 7 • AlumKnights, Features • 758

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As I reflect on my education and work accomplishments, the one message that I can offer others is to “Go big or Go home.”
Similar statements can be applied to sports, where “you miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”
As an industrial management graduate from Gannon University, class of 1994, I started out in a male-dominated field. Sure, I could have switched to a less rigorous major and had an easy college career, but I did not. I wanted to prove that I could challenge myself and succeed.
I took low-paying jobs, worked long hours and took hard classes, but you know what? I did it! I graduated with a 3.5 overall GPA and went on to get my MBA.
I took classes at night, several nights per week, until I completed the MBA program. Again, that coursework was not required, but I wanted to stretch my comfort zone and challenge myself to best the best I could be.
In my career, I have accepted the hard tasks that no one wanted to do, the late night projects, extended hours — you name it, I did it. But guess what, I did them successfully.
I worked my way “up through the ranks” at three different companies over my career — starting as an intern at two of them — and was able, through hard work, to achieve senior-level status at those companies: Johnson Controls automotive division, where I was fortunate enough to become a program manager for Delphi Automotive (General Motors), and currently as inside sales manager for SPXFLOW (the Copes Vulcan brand), a control valve manufacturer for the nuclear power generation industry.
At the end of my career in life, I do not want to wonder, “what if?” I want to reflect on my life and say, “Yes I did it! I challenged myself to be the best student, employee, spouse and mother, and I did it.”
You can, too. Trust me, it isn’t easy. Many days it feels fruitless, but once the challenge is completed, it feels really, really good. Now I challenge each and every one of you to “go BIG or go home.”

JULIA BURTON
alum001@gannon.edu

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