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Alumni Give Advice on Leveraging a Liberal Arts Major

Alumni Give Advice on Leveraging a Liberal Arts Major

For many students, settling on a major is a choice that causes anxiety and quite a bit of hand wringing. Will I learn enough to succeed after graduation? Will I gain the skills I need to get a job?

At a recent panel hosted by the Office of Personal Career Development entitled “You Majored in What?” a group of UD alumni explained to anxious students how the comprehensive liberal arts education they received at UD opened doors and led to opportunities that they would never have thought possible. Below are their responses to questions posed by students, faculty and staff.

Yvonne Freeman
Bob Hyde
Steven Harrell

Matt Victorine
Shannon Doherty

How did your background in liberal arts help you in your career?

Yvonne Freeman (BA Mathematics, 1989), VP of Total Rewards, Michaels: I think people underestimate how effectively liberal arts majors can block and tackle and process problems. There were a lot of things I could’ve done–and my liberal arts degree opened up a lot of possibilities for me. I, personally, would rather hire a liberal arts major because they are better prepared to tackle the unknown.

Bob Hyde (BA Secondary Education, 1975), Senior VP, Bank of Texas: They used to say that BA stood for “didn’t buy anything,” but I disagree. One of my first assignments was to take a 6 page letter that my boss wrote, make it better and reduce it to one page. People with liberal arts degrees focus on the view from 10,00 feet instead of the microscopic view.

Steven Harrell (BA English, 2009), Communications/PR Specialist, Jackson Spaulding: Marketing and communications is really just storytelling. With a liberal arts degree and especially with an English major, you’re really trained to tell stories and to synthesize large swaths of information from an intelligent point of view.

How do you balance the pursuit of education with the pursuit of a specifically liberal education?

Shannon Doherty (BA Psychology, 2013), Business Development Analyst, GM Financial: I had no technical skills when I graduated. But it I had 90 days to get a job or I would be living in my parents’ basement. You have to find a way to gain some hard skills. Chip away at them through summer jobs and internships. That’s one thing I wish I would have done differently.

Matt Victorine (BA History, 1991), VP and Regional Manager, Fidelity Investments: When you apply to a company, learn about all the jobs that they have to offer and figure out what skills you need to get into the job you want. You want to apply to a company that teaches how to do their jobs. I’ve done hundreds of interviews and these days, if you can half-way speak well, you’re advancing to the next round.

Hyde: Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not expected to have a full skill set when you graduate. And macroeconomics are in your favor–there’s a shrinking work force right now. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. If an opportunity doesn’t work out, chalk it up to experience. Don’t get caught in analysis paralysis.

Victorine: There’s no better job market in the country right now than Dallas/Fort Worth. It’s a fascinating time if you’re looking to explore different companies. If you’re flexible and nimble, there’s a lot of jobs out there.

Harrell: I wandered in the desert for a good long mile. But I did a lot of freelancing while still at UD and I learned to say “yes” to just about everything as long as it was ethical. Even though I might not be an expert in a particular subject, I at least had some familiarity and could move forward with a little training.

Freeman: We have a saying at Michaels that we hire for attitude and train for skills. If someone can at least carry themselves well, that’s half the battle. As a hiring manager, I know I’m not getting someone with a lot of prior experience, but I know that I can train the right person for the job.

The University of Dallas does not seem to have a high brand recognition, even in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. How have you explained UD to potential employers?

Victorine: It’s important to know your story. Explain to people that UD is a great, small university and tell them why you came here.

Harrell: The lack of recognition can be a negative but it can also be a real positive. You can tell your own story: “Here’s the kind of person I am because I went to UD,” instead of, “Oh, you went to Baylor, I know what you’re all about.”

Doherty: There are a lot of Ivy League grads in the The GE Capital Leadership program that I’m in. But because UD grads have proven themselves so well, there are more and more UD people in the program. UD people want to help UD people.

How did you gain the additional skills you needed to be successful in the job market?

Victorine: Take the first opportunity you can to get in the door of a good company, and then they will train you to do the job they want you to do. Big companies will teach you how to do the job.

Hyde: Think about what you would like to do, and then getting paid is the frosting on the cake. Look for companies that have a future and who are doing something good in the community.

Do you use your major in your job?

Freeman: Math at a liberal arts school is different from math at another college. I feel like I use my ability to think logically every day. I like having problems to solve. I would get bored otherwise.

Hyde: You’ll be surprised–you’ll use your major in unusual ways.

To make an appointment to talk about choosing a major or career field, click here.

 

 

 

 

John Posey: Member of
UD Alumni Advisory Panel
(Launching Soon)

John Posey: Member of
UD Alumni Advisory Panel
(Launching Soon)

The Office of Personal Career development is working with the Office of Alumni Relations to bring the expertise and advice of UD’s outstanding alumni network directly to students. When the panel goes live, UD students will be able to peruse the background of participating panelists and pose questions to alumni from a variety of career fields. Here’s one of our panel members.

John Posey

BA Politics, 1987
Career Sector: Public Service
Graduate Degrees: Master of Arts, Politics, Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Master of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Current Job Title: Analyst IV
Current Employer: Legislative Budget Board

What career path led to your current position?

I studied public affairs at the LBJ school of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. I have been analyzing criminal justice data in one way or another since 1994 .

What kind of credentials, education, training, prior experience are needed to pursue this path?

A Master’s degree in politics or public affairs or statistics helps a lot. A person needs experiencing analyzing quantitative data.

How was your major and/or your degree from UD related to your current work?

My education at the University of Dallas taught me how to think, how to read, and how to write. Those three things go along way in any field, including this one.

Victoria Williamson: Member of UD Alumni Advisory Panel (Launching Soon)

Victoria Williamson: Member of UD Alumni Advisory Panel (Launching Soon)

Victoria Williamson

BA Psychology, 2013

Career Sectors: Healthcare, Technology

Graduate Degree: Master of Arts, Psychology
Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Current Job Title: Program Manager

Current Employer: Catalyst Health Network

What career path led to your current position?

I interned for a technology recruiting and professional services company during my final year of grad school. The VP of Professional Services was interested in my background in psychology. Once I completed my masters, he hired me to work with our technology teams. I became involved in our organizational training and client services programs. After two years, I joined a healthcare start up as their technology and program manager specialist. I’m currently working for this organization. I specialize in designing technology products and managing new product offerings.

What kind of credentials, education, training, prior experience are needed to pursue this path?

A bachelor’s degree is absolutely required. A master’s degree is strongly preferred, but could be acquired later. More than anything, you need a strong work ethic and a drive to solve any problem.

How was your major and/or your degree from UD related to your current work?

My background in psychology has proved invaluable. My employers specifically hired me for the psychological insights I bring to the table.  

Dean Crawford: Member of UD Alumni Advisory Panel (Launching Soon)

Dean Crawford: Member of UD Alumni Advisory Panel (Launching Soon)

The Office of Personal Career development is working with the Office of Alumni Relations to bring the expertise and advice of UD’s outstanding alumni network directly to students. When the panel goes live, UD students will be able to peruse the background of participating panelists and pose questions to alumni from a variety of career fields. Here’s one of our panel members.

Dean Crawford

BA Mathematics, 1994

Career Sector: Consulting

Graduate Degree: MS, Mathematical Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas

Current Job Title: Senior Consulting Actuary

Employer: Willis Towers Watson

What career path led to your current position?

I was a high school math teacher for five years after UD and graduate school and then decided to pursue a career which combined my communication skills from a liberal arts university with my love for mathematics.

What kind of credentials, education, training, prior experience are needed to pursue this path?

Successful progress toward the completion of actuarial exams are ultimately needed in this career. Credentials are earned through the Society of Actuaries and the IRS Enrolled Actuary programs. Typically, full certification takes 6-10 years as you work as an analyst in the field.

How was your major and/or your degree from UD related to your current work?

UD encourages communication skills as a measure of true intellectual success. My clients appreciate an ability to share complex ideas in an applicable manner to drive change in their organizations. A math degree from UD demonstrates a student’s ability to think outside the box and master concepts across the mathematical spectrum. Narrow minds do not succeed at UD or in the consulting world.

 

Becoming an Entrepreneur: Risks and Rewards

Becoming an Entrepreneur: Risks and Rewards

Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream for many, albeit a risky one. Those who’ve taken the leap and started their own business will tell you it’s scary and rewarding all at the same time. 

Mark Shrayber

Three local entrepreneurs, Mark Shrayber, President and co-founder of muv, a Dallas-based events and transportation company; Sonia Kirkpatrick, founder and CEO of PediaPlex, an all-inclusive pediatric diagnostic and therapeutic clinic; and Jake Thompson, founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Compete Every Day, a global lifestyle brand, spoke to Dr. Laura Munoz’s Global Entrepreneurship class at the University of Dallas about what it takes to start and grow a successful business.

The panelists began by answering a question about networking. Shrayber, who started his business at fresh out of college at age 22, said that a big part of networking is hustle. “I’ve worked since I was 13 so I know how to hustle,” he said. “So I talked to anyone who would listen. In order to build

Sonia Kirkpatrick

your network, always have your radar on. But don’t network just for the purpose of networking. Learn to care about other people.”

Thompson agreed. “Networking is not speed dating,” he said. “The key to networking is giving more than you get. Ask other people questions like ‘What are you working on? How can I help you?’”

Kirkpatrick, already successful in business by the time she started PediPlex, relied on her contacts to help her grow her network. “I started my business as a capstone project during my MBA at the University of Dallas. Plus, I won a Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarship and I got insights from some of the top business leaders in the state,” she said.  “They all agreed that you should always surround yourself with people who know more than you do.”

Jake Thompson

Although having a strong network of contacts can help entrepreneurs navigate tricky situations early in the startup process, all three panelists agreed that a little ignorance can be advantage. “At age 22, I think I was too dumb to know any better,” said Shrayber. “I tried to do everything. I was operating a limo company but I hated the headache of running the cars and drivers. Sometimes you have to decide what you are going to be great at. I realized I would be great at solving bigger problems for my clients.” Schrayber added that eventually, an entrepreneur’s confidence grows as they gain success over time. “But confidence is not the same thing as arrogance. Confidence is something you gain over time,” he said.

The panelists also discussed how to overcome the fear of failure that goes hand in hand with starting a business. Kirkpatrick said that quitting a great job was definitely scary: “About two years in, I said to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, what have I done?’ I had a lot to lose at the time.” Although starting a business comes with risk, Thompson recommended running head-on into failure: “So what if you fail? The world’s not going to explode. Nobody really cares. The people you really care about will help you pick yourself back up and keep going,” he said.

Doubts often accompany the fear of failure during the early days of their businesses. Thompson said that sometimes he questioned if he actually had what it would take to make it work. “I would ask myself, ‘Can I really do this?’” But a friend pointed out to him that since his brand focuses on inspiring people to greatness, he really had no choice. “He said, ‘You gotta keep going, no matter how hard it gets. It’s who you are.’” Kirkpatrick said although she had doubts, one person kept her going—her husband. “He wouldn’t let me give up,” she said. Shrayber added that many entrepreneurs succumb to their doubts and give up too early instead of adapting their plans to meet the needs of their market. “Sometimes it’s just luck, he said. “But you can make your own luck by keeping your radar on and staying humble. Always be a student and willing to learn from others and from your mistakes.”

 The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information click here.

 

2017 Grad Named Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Germany

2017 Grad Named Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Germany

Emily Collins, a 2017 graduate of the University of Dallas, has been named a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Andernach, Germany. Her ten-month assignment begins in September.

Emily Collins

An English and Economics double major, Collins lived in Germany as a child, an experience which helped her decide to concentrate in German at UD. As part of her concentration, she worked as a marketing and communications intern at the Dallas Goethe Center, where she interacted with other staff members in German.

Collins gained classroom experience while at UD by teaching German to third graders at Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic school. “I created my own lesson plans centered around the German version of “Little Red Riding Hood” (“Rotkaeppchen”),” she said. “Each week I taught them different vocabulary pertaining to the story–first food vocabulary, then parts of the body, family members, clothing, furniture, etc. I then reinforced the vocabulary with songs and activities.”

Collins believes this combination of experience made her Fulbright application competitive. “Having been exposed to a non-profit and teaching the class was a plus,” she said. Collins said that the application process consisted of two essays and an on-campus interview. Her application was then sanctioned by the university and submitted for the award.

During her time in Germany, Collins is looking forward to becoming part of the Andernach community. “One of the most important aspects of the program is community involvement,” she said. “One of the application questions asks what you would do to become part of the community.”

For more information on prestigious scholarships and fellowships, click here. To make an appointment with a career counselor, click here.

UD Alum Receives Fulbright Research Award

UD Alum Receives Fulbright Research Award

University of Dallas alumnus Phillip Wozniak (BA Biology ‘15) has been awarded a Fulbright Research Award to conduct medical research in Spain. He will be conducting a pre-clinical trial that focuses on finding an alternative treatment for preventing severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an infection that can be deadly to premature and immunocompromised infants. His research will focus on the use of medical nanotechnology to develop the treatment.

Phillip Wozniak

Wozniak is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the pediatric teaching hospital associated with Ohio State University. He believes his Fulbright application was particularly strong because of his relationship with a pioneer in the medical nanotechnology field, Dr. Maria Angeles Muñoz-Fernández. “Many applicants come up with a research idea and the beg around for someone to mentor them,” Wozniak said. “But I worked closely with my mentor to develop a research proposal that already had the support of a leader in the field.”

Wozniak will defer medical school for a year in order to conduct the research. And although he understands that the transition won’t be easy, he thinks his time at UD helped prepare him to live abroad. “Having the Rome experience helped me understand at least some of what I will be in store for me in Spain,” he said.

For more information on Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships like the Fulbright Award, visit the OPCD website or to make an appointment, click here.

The Road Less Traveled: UD English Majors Talk About Various Paths to Success

The Road Less Traveled: UD English Majors Talk About Various Paths to Success

University of Dallas students often hear the remark, “You can do anything with a liberal arts degree.” But what exactly does that mean? A panel of UD alumni, all English majors, spoke on Friday, February 21, to a group of students about how they translated their degrees into successful careers and graduate studies.

Panelist Michael Traylor parlayed his degree into a career as a landman, a job that CNN Money calls the third best America. “I didn’t really have a big plan when I was a senior,” Traylor said. “I kept looking around for the perfect unicorn job.” Although some of Traylor’s friends had decided on law school, he wasn’t so sure. He eventually got job researching property rights and leases for oil and gas drilling. “It’s like lawyer-lite,” Traylor said. “I read deeds all day, and businesses rely on my interpretation of them.” A job as a landman might not be on every senior’s radar, but it is an example of one of myriad positions available to not only UD English majors, but to liberal arts majors in general. “Your education prepares you to do anything,” Traylor said, “But narrowing that down can be a difficult process.”

John Corrales, Social Media Editor for the New York Times, said he was idealistic but certainly not deliberate when he was a senior English major: “I had these vaguely romantic ambitions, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.” After graduation Corrales moved back to his hometown of Odessa, Texas and got a job working for the local newspaper. After realizing this wasn’t for him, he wandered about a bit trying different jobs until he finally reached out to a friend’s cousin, who helped him land a job at the New York Times. “You really have to trust yourself,” Corrales said. “You make your own luck. You just have to want it.” And as far as the job he left Odessa, Corrales encouraged students to take a job that’s it’s in front of them, even if it’s something they don’t necessarily like. “You’ll learn something from every experience,” he said.

Seth Gonzalez, videographer and Staff Writer for The Texas Catholic newspaper, also changed jobs a few times before settling in his current position. “You have to bring something to the table,” he said. “You can’t just say that you are passionate about something without bringing some kind of skill related to it. Develop your skills on your own time if you have to.” Seth agreed with Corrales that individuals make their own luck: “Someone told me once that failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Maria Walley has taken the entrepreneurial route as the co-founder and marketing director of Kandid.ly, a fledgling digital marketplace for photographers. “It’s kind of like Etsy for amateur photographers.” Walley said that liberal arts majors can have success in just about any field because they think differently than those graduates who have more specialized skills. “Instead of just learning a process, we’re trained to think about the process from the outside,” she said.

Megan Wadle, who taught middle school before pursuing PhD work at Southern Methodist University, said that although it’s sometimes difficult to narrow down career possibilities, the naïveté of not knowing one’s limits can be a good thing. “Sometimes, you sign up for things that are really too much for you, but you learn as you go,” she said.

Nate McCabe, also a graduate student at SMU said that he had to make a conscious decision to be aggressive in pursuing his goal of getting into graduate school. “I got waitlisted by SMU and was working as a barista. I decided that I had to go harder to get the door open,” he said. “I started emailing professors. I had just about given up, but as soon as I closed the door on graduate school, I got the call from SMU that I got in.” Nathan said that although he doesn’t get much choice in what he studies, he got a good piece of advice from UD’s Dr. Greg Roper that keeps him going. “You have to suffer the 90% you don’t like to get to do the 10% that you do,” he said.

In closing, the panelists each offered practical advice for soon-to-be graduates:
Corrales: Find an internship. Gain some sort of useful skill–it’ll make you unstoppable.
Gonzalez: Develop an insatiable appetite. Dig into what you’re passionate about.
Traylor: Find the person who has the job you want and find out how they got there.
Walley: Meet with people to learn about different careers. And surround yourself with people who lift you up.
Wadle: Talk to someone who’s actually in the profession you’re interested in. Nobody knows it better than they do.
McCabe: Don’t just analyze information. Learn to synthesize it.

To make an appointment to meet with an OPCD counselor, click here.

STEM Panel Encourages Lifelong Learning

STEM Panel Encourages Lifelong Learning

Although graduating with a degree in chemistry, physics or math often leads to job heavy on technical expertise or specific scientific skills, the variety of a career paths represented at a recent panel consisting of University of Dallas STEM field graduates underscores the fact that these degrees can open doors to many fulfilling careers. And according to the panelists, a liberal arts degree from UD uniquely prepares graduates to become lifelong learners–a characteristic that is crucial to success in the knowledge economy. The panel was presented as part of the Clare Booth Luce Speaker Series.

Dominic Hilario, a self-employed chemical consultant, said that his degree in chemistry from UD gave him the technical skills he needed to start his career. “But my job in the lab wasn’t that exciting,” he said. “So I decided to learn the business side of things.” Although he didn’t have a business background, Hilario believes that his liberal arts degree gave him the tools to be able to learn from others.

Joe Constantino
Joe Constantino

MacKenzie Warrens, a junior physics major and a Clare Boothe Luce scholar, said that her experience doing undergraduate research last summer highlighted the contrast between herself and other students. “Liberal arts students are able to talk about so much more than just physics,” she said. “You can have conversations with other majors as well.”

Alessandra Marchi, another CBL scholar, said that her boss specifically noted her problem solving ability. “He called me a hard worker,” she said. “And said that I could grasp concepts without having learned them previously.” According to the alumni on the panel, this ability to grasp complex situations, along with an ongoing desire to learn, is the key to success in any field.

Joe Constantino, owner and president of Einstein’s Eyes, said part of the learning process after graduation includes taking chances on a job you’re not sure if you’ll like. “Don’t resist doing something for just a year,” he said. “You’ll find out something about yourself in the process. As an employer, I don’t look down on that.”

Anne Hoeschler
Anne Hoelscher

Anne Hoelscher, senior manager of product development at BMC Software agreed. “It used to be that you would probably be in a job for the rest of your life,” she said. “Now, I see resumes where people stay at a job for a year, fifteen-months, two-years. That’s not a big deal any more. But I do want to know what you learned from each of those experiences.”

For Kara Earle, working for Fidelity Investments has allowed her to try different career paths, all while staying with the same company for sixteen years. “Fidelity really invests in its people and in their career development,” she said. “I would recommend looking for a company whose culture values its people learning and growing.”

Along with becoming a lifelong learner, Dr. Carla Tiernan, Assistant Dean, UTA College of Engineering, said that being flexible and open to opportunity is also an important part of future success. “I never wanted to be an academic,” she said. “But you never know where your career is going to end up. Be open to possibilities,” Tiernan added that internships and research experiences can also be help with discernment. “Find out what you don’t like to do is really helpful,” she said.

Kara Earle
Kara Earle

An audience member remarked that University of Dallas President Thomas Keefe often says that students are preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet. He asked how undergraduates should prepare for those job without knowing what they will entail.

Hoelscher said that adaptation is the key: “UD grads are continually learning. Because of that, when a new industry comes out, you’ll be capable of adapting your skills to meet the challenge.”

Hilario’s answer came complete with a graphs entitled “Knowledge Acquisition of Normal Humans Over Time” and “Knowledge Acquisition of Lifelong Learners Over Time.”

He explained them like this: “Normal humans are born and continually acquire knowledge until they graduate college. Then they get a job and learn just enough to keep the boss happy, completely flattening out until retirement. Lifelong learners, on the other hand, know that just keeping the boss happy isn’t enough. They have to keep learning and growing. A couple of years at this pace and they’re managers. Then maybe CEOs. And finally, if they keep learning and innovating, they might even make it out of the cave.”

hilario1
Graphics by Dominic Hilario

Graphics by Dominic Hilario

Hilario added that the real engine of the kind of growth represented on his graph is innovation. “When you keep learning, you can become a specialist in your field,” he said. “Then you can leverage your knowledge and begin to innovate.

The Henry Luce Foundation has provided a grant for one-year full-tuition scholarships for female students at the University of Dallas majoring in computer science, mathematics, physics or engineering. These scholarships are named Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Scholarships, and students receiving these scholarships are named as CBL Scholars.

In addition to the scholarships, the University has established a Clare Boothe Luce Speaker Series, Clare Boothe Luce Discussion Panels for Undecided Students, and a support organization for women in the sciences.  These initiatives are designed to attract women into physical science, engineering, and mathematical areas and to support them once there.

UD Students and Alumni Discuss Social Entrepreneurship and Responsibility

UD Students and Alumni Discuss Social Entrepreneurship and Responsibility

Although many business leaders focus solely on the bottom line, those who understand and embrace the social implications of starting and growing an ethical company often have the greatest impact on their communities while still creating jobs and realizing profits. A group of local entrepreneurs with ties to the University of Dallas participated in an Entrepreneurship and Social Responsibility panel event on October 6 to discuss these issues. The event was co-sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Society and Market Share Marketing Club and moderated by Dr. Laura Munoz.

Rachel Sullivan, President UD Entrepreneurship Society   Photo by Anthony Garnier
Rachel Sullivan, President UD Entrepreneurship Society
Photo by Anthony Garnier

In making the connection between business and social responsibility, Michael Hasson (Politics ‘08), a digital campaign strategist and executive at Red Metrics LLC, said that entrepreneurs have responsibilities to various constituent groups. “First, you owe your funders integrity and responsibility,” he said. “You also owe your customers your focus, you owe your employees your loyalty, and you owe society the value of creating jobs.”

Simone Meskelis, a student in UD’s Doctor of Business Administration program and Regional Sales Analyst at Essilor, shared a personal story from her native Brazil about the important role entrepreneurs play in the community. “My father traveled the country trying to find a city where he could start a business,” she said. “And our entire family lived and breathed that business. But in 1995 when the Brazilian economy collapsed and he lost his job, his biggest concern was having to let 50 people go. Those 50 families depended on my father’s business.”

(L to R) Michael Hasson, Simone Meskelis, Kyle Callahan Photo by Anthony Garnier
(L to R) Michael Hasson, Simone Meskelis, Kyle Callahan
Photo by Anthony Garnier

Kyle Callahan (Economics ‘10), Client Success Executive for Care Continuity, pointed out the challenging relationship between social responsibility and business profitability. “In our business, 30% of our clients are complex cases because they don’t have health insurance,” he said. “And our caseworkers sometimes spend a disproportionate amount of time coordinating their care. But they still need our help.”

Beyond the mechanics of business itself, the panelists also discussed how companies can publicly demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility. “Spending all day with your employees doing something like building a house–think about the lessons that can teach,” Hassan said. “And it can make a real difference in the company as well. You want employees to grow and you hope that they eventually outgrow you.”

Photo by Anthony Garnier
Photo by Anthony Garnier

Meskelis explained that increasing employee engagement can result in a win-win for both the company and the employee. “When employees receive meaning from what they do, it helps them connect their work to making the world a better place,” she said. “Work becomes more than just a paycheck.”

Callahan added that simply treating everyone well and with respect also makes employees feel connected to the company. “Understanding things like family emergencies is important,” he said.

The panel also discussed how a company might market or promote their commitment to social responsibility. “Unfortunately, hacks take what sounds best at the moment,” said Hassan. “But obligations to society have been around forever. Trying to just look social responsible doesn’t work.”

Meskelis agreed. “Social media is every liar’s worst nightmare,” she said. “If you’re not going to do the right thing in your core business, it will come out sooner or later. It doesn’t matter what foundation you serve or which cause you support.”

The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information click here.