Meg VanderLaan named outstanding woman in business

Everyone always says, “With that degree you can go so far.” For most students, it’s hard to imagine the future and the possibilities.
Former Gannon University student Meg VanderLaan was recently recognized as an “Outstanding Woman in Business” by Denver Business Journal for the media, public relations and communications category.
Back in the fall of 1985, she was starting her freshman year here at Gannon. She always knew that communications was the field for her. When she graduated in May of 1989, she had a Bachelor of Arts in Communication-Arts with a proficiency certificate in German.
Her major required her to be involved in the theater, radio station and television. Therefore, she was a DJ on WERG, participated in Schuster Theatre shows as part of the cast and crew, and also was a co-host of a cable news magazine show called “Sidestreets.”
Don’t be discouraged over all your general elective classes that everyone has to take. Today the classes that reflect most on VanderLaan’s daily life are ethics, philosophy and reasoning.
She can still hear the quotes and lessons that her professors had taught.
“So many times I’ve been tested,” she said, “and I hear the echoes of statements and questions: ‘The end does not justify the means’ and ‘Who is responsible to whom for what?’”
Now she is chief communications officer for MWH Global Inc. in Colorado, and is responsible for creating the messages that improve the company’s brand and reputation.
VanderLaan explained this in more detail as, “For me that means having a passion for storytelling- taking complex subjects and effectively communicating them in a way that is relatable, accessible and easily understood in communities around the world.”
When she graduated school she had no idea where she would end up, as many students don’t.
Her first “real” job was working as a sales promotion associate for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It was not until she moved to Colorado with her husband that she began to work for MWH Global Inc.
Her friendships from her time at Gannon have been long lasting. She believes going to a Catholic university gives the ability to weave value in life. The value she carries around most is the ability to care.
“The bonds that I formed with friends at Gannon remain strong” she said. “I call them my Gannon family.”
Her advice for students is, “Fair and balanced beats first and exclusive any day. Be responsible. Be honest. Be persistent and work hard. The rest will take care of itself.”
VanderLaan offered one small piece of knowledge to the students at Gannon.
“I’ve learned that the best part of life is showing up. That means being involved and contributing to your community, whether that is your school, neighborhood, company or church.”
This successful Gannon alumna was not just a student who went to classes. She was involved on campus, made friendships that she still has today and learned life lessons.

KAT SHINDLEDECKER
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