For 40 years, the Black Student Union has been a part of campus life at Huntingdon College. This October, the College community will dedicate a new BSU meeting and event space in honor of trustee Wanda A. Howard ’81, who helped to found the BSU and who has mentored countless Huntingdon students and student-athletes and served as a guiding light on the board of trustees for 11 years.
When did you find out about the Naming?
I was informed during a Friday night meeting with President Cameron West in early September. He stated that a space had been identified to house the new BSU Center. I was extremely pleased to hear it. Thereafter, he asked if it could be named after me, which caught me absolutely off guard. I ultimately agreed after picking myself up off the floor.
What does it mean to me to receive this honor?
It gives me a greater urgency to continue my commitment, responsibility, and accountability to collaboratively effectuate transformational change for racial equality, justice, and inclusion at Huntingdon, The University of Alabama, and our country in general.
As CEO/Principal Consultant for B.O.L.D. Endeavors, LLC, (BOLDnDev), Howard is currently expanding business activities beyond operational consulting and real estate restoration. She is establishing an enterprise that emboldens (inspires, prepares, and equips) this Generation with Truth, godly wisdom, knowledge, life skills, and diverse opportunities to be courageous and daring leaders spiritually, naturally, and financially as they live the abundant life in Christ Jesus.
BOLDnDev comes after a successful career in diverse healthcare arenas from pharmaceutical sales in Brooklyn, NY to business office management in acute care and physician office settings in Alabama and twenty years of high-performance healthcare project management experience, which included directing the software implementation team at a Fortune 15 company; leading complex, enterprise IT projects in the fifth-largest US healthcare system and orchestrating the UAT for the largest US home health and hospice company’s interstate, data center migration of 100+ applications.
What advice would you give to fellow EMBA alumni in serving on a board and paying it forward?
I encourage them to be servant leaders of unwavering integrity who can lead from the front by valuing all people, having a selfless purpose and a deep desire to tangibly improve the lives/conditions of the people they are serving and to equip them to also live a high impact life that pays it forward for generations to come.
For more information on how The University of Alabama EMBAs are making an impact in their companies and communities, visit the UAEMBA website or contact Samantha Vasey at 205.348.0954 or email@example.com.
Mark Sullivan, an alumnus of UA’s Executive MBA Class of 1994, has been named Executive Vice President at Bryant Bank.
After retiring from Synovus at the end of March, he knew he would not stay retired for long. According to Sullivan, “I still have a lot of energy, and hopefully, a little knowledge to help an organization move forward toward its goals.” The new role at Bryant Bank will “allow me to expand my focus beyond just the local market while remaining very active and engaged in the Tuscaloosa community.”
“This job will allow me to continue to draw on the overall strategic knowledge and training I received in the EMBA program, but in an even broader way.”
To learn more about Mark Sullivan and his new role as Executive Vice President at Bryant Bank, click on the article below.
This month we are spotlighting EMBA Class of 2020 alumna Julie Mathis, Human Resource Business Partner at Pilot Company. Julie shares with us how The University of Alabama EMBA Program prepared her to move into an executive position.
Tell us a bit more about your company, Pilot, and your new role in the company today?
Pilot is a growth company focusing on innovative solutions across our retail, energy, and logistic operations. Our vast network of more than 900 retail and fueling locations provide travelers with convenient stops offering an incredible variety of amenities and products to make road travel easier.
The Pilot Flying J travel center network includes locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces with more than 630 restaurants and 35 Truck Care service centers. Our One9 Fuel Network connects smaller fleets and professional drivers to the services they need at a variety of fueling locations. We supply more than 11 billion gallons of fuel per year with the third largest tanker fleet in North America. Our sourcing infrastructure, strong market presence, and expertise in energy and logistics optimize the distribution of fuel, DEF, bio, and renewables.
Our fleet also provides critical hauling and disposal services of our nation’s busiest basins. As an HR Business Partner for the Sales Division, I work with the leadership team to drive company initiatives and business strategies. Essentially my role is to make sure we have the right people in the right places.
You began your EMBA Program in the fall of 2018, what was that journey like for you?
At first, terrifying. But I quickly learned that there was nothing in my classes that was “over my head.” The challenge was not in understanding new theories and concepts, rather the volume of work and time management. This is a skill you MUST have in corporate America. There were times where things would get dumped on us last minute and when you think about it—that’s the real world.
How has the EMBA Program at UA helped you in your job roles thus far?
My MBA has made me a more well-rounded professional. I chose the MBA program over an HR Masters program because I wanted to understand the whole business. In doing so, I am not just HR, I am a thought partner to Senior Leaders of the organization and help drive company strategy.
Describe a UA EMBA project, assignment, or a particular class takeaway that you considered invaluable to you and your company.
Simply stated, this is what I learned from Dr. Ron Dulek that I will remember for the rest of my life: Humility will take you a hell of a lot farther than book smarts. Humility is a life journey. Projects will come and go. It’s about how you change the lives of others that really matter most. That, in itself, is a legacy.
Also, Dr. Larry Baldwin’s negotiation class offered me the most practical knowledge that I use every day. We would work through everyday scenarios and learn how to negotiate the desired outcome. This type of knowledge is something that every professional can put to use right away.
What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business professional?
The investment in yourself now is truly an investment in your future self. You’re worth it. The advice is the same as I give my kids: stop whining and be the change you want to see in the world.
What advice do you have for others wanting to start an Executive MBA degree program?
I think this is best given as an analogy. It’s like when you were a kid and you would go to the very back of the diving board and then take a running leap into the pool. You’re a little scared, a little excited, and when you get completely submerged into the water you realize, it wasn’t so bad and totally worth it.
For more information on The University of Alabama Executive MBA Program, visit the UAEMBA website or contact Samantha Vasey at 205.348.0954 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Ron Dulek’s newest book, Sitting with Elephants: Lessons in Humility from the African Bush, has just been released. The book shares lessons Ron and his wife, Sally, learned while spending fifteen summers living in an African bush house. As we would expect from Ron, the story tugs at both your heart and your funny bone. The book’s content includes significant content from Ron’s opening day lecture to EMBA’s in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa.
Proceeds from the sale of Sitting with Elephants will be directed toward an educational trust fund for African students desiring to attend the University of Alabama.
Dr. Dulek is the John R. Miller Professor of Management in the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama. Dulek teaches management communications in the EMBA Program. He is a devoted teacher and has received numerous awards and honors by his students, the college, and the university.
The Executive MBA Program offered by The University of Alabama’s Manderson Graduate School of Business announces new features to its format to better accommodate the schedules of busy working professionals.
“When considering adjustments to how we deliver the EMBA Program, we had a strong desire to preserve the valuable in-person classroom experience our programs offer. We recognized a need to make the required in-class session schedule more manageable for our students who have busy careers, plus active family and social commitments,” said Donna Blackburn, Director of Manderson Executive MBA programs.
What is new about the EMBA program is significant. Now professionals who choose the Tuscaloosa location will attend class sessions on Friday from 12:00 to 8:00 PM, and Saturday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM one weekend each month during the 17-month program. EMBA students were previously required to be on campus two weekends per month.
Each course provides online instruction and content to support monthly in-person class meetings. This blended-instruction model aims to allow students more control over their busy lives while growing their business acumen through a meaningful and academically rigorous degree experience.
The Huntsville EMBA location adopted the one weekend per month, blended-instruction format in 2015. As a result, enrollment for that program has steadily grown, and students appreciate the flexibility the blended format offers.
About the blended format EMBA format in Huntsville, Lakota Holder, current EMBA student, and Regional Service Sales Director for The Bailey Company, said, “I can’t image earning my MBA any other way. The class sessions in Huntsville provide the face-to-face engagement with my classmates and faculty I wanted, and because it’s just one weekend each month, my performance and travel schedule for work doesn’t suffer.”
Additionally, students in the EMBA Huntsville location can now earn their MBA in four semesters rather than five. The program previously spanned 21 months but will now cover 17 months, or four semesters, like the Tuscaloosa location. In both programs, students work through 16, three-hour courses to earn an MBA.
Furthermore, the immersive international study trip is now optional to allow students to save on their EMBA experience. Previous study trips have taken EMBA students to South Africa, Peru, Ecuador, and other locations to meet with and learn from local entrepreneurs and executives and to gain an understanding of business as it applies to international settings.
UA EMBA enrolls twice each year. Huntsville location students start the program in August and graduate in December 2021. Tuscaloosa location students begin in December and graduate in May 2022. Application deadlines are July 6 for Huntsville and October 19 for Tuscaloosa.
Successful applicants generally have a minimum of five years of professional work experience and must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. We typically do not require a GMAT, GRE, or Executive Assessment entrance exam score for applicants meeting or exceeding our work experience minimum. EMBA prefers a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average but does offer conditional admission for some candidates with a strong professional profile.
To become a part of our upcoming programs, contact Samantha Vasey at email@example.com or 205-348-0954 to request more information and attend a virtual information session.
Although The University of Alabama Executive MBA Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremony, scheduled for May 2, is postponed until August contingent on how the summer health outlook progresses, we celebrate their achievement today as they finish their final semester.
We will also celebrate again in August so that they receive the recognition they so richly deserve. We look forward to honoring our EMBA graduates along with their families, faculty, and staff at the EMBA Ceremony. The ceremony will honor the achievement of our graduates who have earned their degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world, during one of the most challenging times in recent history.
I wanted to share with everyone the power of The University of Alabama Executive MBA network and what it has done for North Alabama to save lives. I am the Business Manager of Surgery for Decatur Morgan Hospital in Decatur, Alabama.
At the beginning of April, I reached out to my HEMBA 2020 cohort asking for donations consisting of personal protective gear to use in my hospital. I asked the cohort to check within their network to find those who would be willing to donate supplies.
By taking advantage of the vast UA HEMBA network I was connected to Destin Sandlin, a local engineer that offered to print face shields for us through the use of a 3D printer. Much to my surprise, Destin has a YouTube channel with nearly 8 million followers. He made a video calling for everyone in North Alabama with a 3D printer to join us in our efforts to facilitate the fantastic work that our healthcare professionals are performing day in and day out.
Destin acquired local warehousing space and set up operations for the mask bands to be received from the community, sterilized, and then sent to Huntsville Hospital Logistics as a donation. We are expecting to receive thousands of these in the coming weeks which will surely save lives. To be honest, when I reached out and asked for donations, I was expecting a few hundred masks or gloves, certainly not thousands!
Throughout this process, Destin has been meeting with our supply chain team and the Chamber of Commerce. He is now looking to see if he is able to engineer and print culturettes for our lab and protective gear for our anesthesia team. Thanks to the connections within our cohort, our medical staff on the front lines will have proper protective gear. It’s so great to see our community come together to help!
Additionally, our cohort is working to raise money to buy meals for hospital staff at Huntsville Hospital, Madison Hospital, Athens Hospital, and Decatur Morgan. The idea is to help our local restaurants by purchasing the food from them and then to treat healthcare professionals to a warm meal. We are still working on the vast logistics of such an operation and then we will move into a funding phase generously provided by the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. We are also planning on raising funds for our friends in South Korea at Teach North Koreans Refugees (TNKR) once we are through the COVID crisis. Our EMBA class visited companies in Cambodia and South Korea, including TNKR during our EMBA international trip as part of our global business course.
We want to start off this blog post by wishing everyone well and hoping that you and your families are staying safe during this trying time. The EMBA staff at UA knows that life has changed unexpectedly with events that have transpired over the last month and a half with the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite this adversity, there is a lot to be said about turning our eyes to the future in expectations of a better tomorrow.
To assist with helping you stay at home and not going completely stir crazy, we recently interviewed Tuscaloosa EMBA Class of 2018 alumnus Chris Overstreet, Vice President and Director of Client Services for Doster Construction in Birmingham. A strong supporter of the EMBA program, Chris found solace in the rigorous environment at UA. Chris delves into the nuances of the program that enabled him to break out of his shell and emerge with unparalleled business acumen.
Can you provide a general overview of your career path thus far?
I have worked with Doster Construction Company, Inc., a general contractor headquartered in Birmingham, since 2003. We build healthcare, institutional work, higher education, commercial, industrial, and multi-family projects. I am currently the Vice President Director of Client Services for Dostor’s Multifamily Group which concentrates on building apartments, student living, and senior living developments. More specifically, I head up preconstruction which means budgeting and pricing for owners and clients.
What was happening with your career prior to EMBA?
I started in the 2016 EMBA program (TEMBA 33 class). My title at that time was the Director of Preconstruction Services for Doster Construction. I managed six to eight individuals and was in charge of budgeting and pricing multifamily projects. A friend of mine enrolled in another graduate program in 2015 and shared with me some of his experiences and how it was an eye-opener for him. An M.B.A. has always been something that had interested me. I knew that I didn’t have the business background that I needed. While I was knowledgeable about construction, I was less comfortable when it came to business topics (revenues, profit/loss, etc.), and it started to feel past due. Up to that point, I had very much enjoyed staying within my comfort zone but my friend’s energy was infectious.
Why was The University of Alabama EMBA program a fit for you?
Cheryl Altemara, Assistant Director of EMBA, made it seem that much more welcoming. She was patient and helped talk me through the process. I was also able to sit in on two Saturdays in the Bryant Conference Center. One of the classes I attended was Professor Lonnie Strickland’s strategy course. It really intrigued me! I spoke with other schools and was even accepted at another university as well. The major difference for me was the in-class element. I did not want to enroll in a program and sit behind a screen and not develop a rapport with the other classmates and professors. It was a huge deal to have to be present in class. I am a natural introvert but the preparation for the classes and in-class presentations helped me gain confidence. Plus working on projects and studying with classmates who work in different industries added to my experience while I was in the program. I feel as though I was able to learn a little bit from everyone, regardless of their work discipline, and maybe use that knowledge in my own life.
Can you describe a UA EMBA project or assignment or a particular class that you considered pivotal to changing your professional readiness?
My classes had more of an impact on how I think. There are some examples that come to mind. Definitely statistics with Dr. Gray. His class helped me look at data more objectively. Also, the accounting class with Dr. Taylor gave me a lot more confidence regarding the basics of accounting and the fundamentals of financial statements. I can now look at a potential business partner and see how prepared they are to do business with me. Finally, there was Dr. Dulek’s communication class. We learned how to effectively communicate with people which is just as important as the technical skills we learned in some of the other classes.
What’s it like after graduation? As an alumnus of UA EMBA, what opportunities keep you connected to the program, college, classmates and alumni network?
I still try to stay in touch on social media and with Cheryl Altemara. I attend recruiting events because I believe in the program, degree, and what UA is doing. I have also been to our EMBA Alumni Network events: A-Day, annual tailgate, the socials, and the Family Day Barons game. I stay in touch with people from class with texts, phone calls, dinners, etc. Some of my classmates have moved on to other cities, but we still stay in touch. There is a great network of people from both a business and a personal perspective.
What advice would you give others who are considering whether or not pursuing a graduate degree is the right decision?
Don’t be afraid to do it. To be honest it is not an easy program especially for those with both families and full-time jobs. You have to view it as an investment and the decision to enroll needs to consider both family and work obligations. However, I guarantee it will dramatically alter one’s perspective on life. You will do things you didn’t think were possible time-management wise. I still don’t know how I did it with all the class deadlines, full-time job, work travel, family, etc. I would recommend it to anyone. Don’t be afraid to try it and don’t be afraid if you’re someone who’s older. I started the program at the age of 43 and one of the biggest adjustments for me was going back after being out of school for 19 years. Yet, I was able to get into it very quickly and there were people that helped me including my fantastic team members.
There is no time like the present! It can often be difficult to choose between continuing one’s higher education and working as an industry professional. Fortunately, in this case, all or nothing is not in the EMBA’s vocabulary. We hope to provide an experience that is both inclusive and flexible for all of our students.
This week we are spotlighting an alumnus who has traveled far and wide after her EMBA experience. Beginning with performances at the happiest place on Earth and culminating in her present position as a Workday software consultant with Collaborative Solutions, Hayley Ray Hallmark (TEMBA 2017) has certainly turned balancing responsibilities into a lifestyle. Let’s wave our wands and explore how Hayley has met with so much success in her time after pursuing an MBA.
Can you give a brief overview of your work experience so far?
Sure – I will say it has been interesting! After I graduated, I became a parade/show performer and trainer for Walt Disney World. I am still a seasonal performer there now! Then I became a recruiter in different capacities for The University of Alabama (including EMBA!) for five years, while I was enrolled in the Tuscaloosa EMBA cohort. I am now a Workday software consultant with Collaborative Solutions, and I absolutely love it.
You worked in higher education and have recently transitioned to an IT company. What was that transition like?
Although the recruiter’s life was fast-paced, being a lead on a software implementation project is entirely different. I had to pass a couple of Workday certifications which were definitely difficult before I could get started on a project. With the quantitative and methodical thinking that I had developed while in the program and a lot of hard work, I aced the exams. I create branded presentations, configure the Workday software, lead workstream meetings, and present a lot. Coming from an extremely unique background (an imaginative and engaging software consultant) I see things in a different light than most, but I have found that that’s what makes me offer distinctive solutions to problems.
With an undergraduate degree not in business, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Oh man – it was tough! I had never taken accounting or finance, and the one statistics class that I took in college was one of those where I never wanted to see or discuss standard deviations again. It was also difficult to have a full-time job where I traveled often and be a full-time student every other weekend. Something I really appreciated was that my team members (Shout out to the Five Forces!) and really any of my classmates would take time to work with me when I was struggling. When a professor would be explaining something and I just could not get what they were saying, I remember Doug from our class would say to me, “Hayley, think of it like this…” and he would present it in an alternate way. All of our minds work differently and sometimes all it takes is to look at it from a different perspective. As a class, we all pitched in where we could with our strengths. Presenting is my jam – so I helped others with their presentation style.
My team had a weekly meeting where we would discuss who was doing what for our team projects. We also would talk about what was due for the upcoming week and what we needed to start working on now for the future. After class on Friday, several of us would get together to go over material for the next class. Teamwork makes the dream work!
How has the EMBA program at UA helped you in your job roles thus far?
EMBA has “rewired” my brain to think in an entirely different way. With Statistics and our OM (Excel) class, I’m able to use data to support my decision-making process. When I was an EMBA student, I was able to convince my boss to allow me to overhaul our grant-awarding system of $430,000 in order to fund 20 more students. Now when I write emails or briefs, I think of Dr. Dulek’s strategic communications class. How should I deliver this news? It also made me more aware of the way that I connect with others – and that at times I need to change my delivery. Dr. King’s Leadership & Ethics class broke my perception of what motivates others and our discussions on identifying and analyzing our audiences have aided me so much when it comes to software consulting.
Do you have any tips or advice for prospective students looking at EMBA programs?
There is never going to be the perfect or ideal time to do an EMBA program. Work, family, health, and life, in general, can all be worthy excuses to not enroll, but those 17 or 21 months are going to blaze by. My family, friends, and coworkers were hesitant about me doing the program – especially because I had to have ACL surgery in the first semester. But if you ever wanted to advance to that next level, or change industries, or just go on a completely different path than the one you’re on, I’d recommend an EMBA. It didn’t apply to me at the time I was a student, but it has assisted me in finding a flexible job as a military spouse. You get out of it what you put into it – but for me, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
Any other thoughts or comments?
I’m so thankful for all of the fascinating people that I have met through the EMBA program- while I was a student, a recruiter, and now as an alumna. From racing down the streets on the back of motorbikes in Vietnam as a student on our international trip, or doing a safari as an EMBA alumna in South Africa, to cheering at Alabama football games, to celebrating my friends reaching the goals that they told me about when they joined the program, the EMBA has added so much color to my life. I miss everyone so much, but I know that they are only one phone call or alumni event away. You should do an EMBA program for the experience and knowledge that you get out of it. However, it’s with my EMBA family that although we move often (every year with the army recently!), I feel like I always have a home.
The University of Alabama Class of 2020 EMBAs have arrived in Seoul to begin their international trip. The eight-day trip will take them from Seoul, South Korea to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The international experience is part of the global business course taught in the final term of the program. Students are immersed in business and cross-cultural experiences.
Considered transformative by our students, the trip includes visits, tours, presentations by senior executives of local and global companies, exposing them to how business is conducted in those countries and the region. Also, our students will be consulting with Friends International, applying their expertise and business knowledge to work on critical issues in growing their opportunities in international markets.
Ranking 12th among the world’s largest economic powers and 4th in Asia, South Korea is famous for its spectacular rise from one of the poorest countries in the world to a developed, high-income country in just one generation. During the global financial crisis, the country maintained a stable economy and even experienced economic growth during the peak of the crisis.
Cambodia is among a few economies in the East Asia and Pacific region that continues to perform well. The economy is projected to remain robust, although the average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth decelerated to 7.0 percent in 2019 it continues to be driven primarily by the expansion of exports, investment, and internal demand.
Following the trip, students may elect to do an optional post-trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat. Students return after the trip to complete their spring term classes before graduation in May.
For more information on The University of Alabama Executive MBA international trip and how to apply for the program, visit the UAEMBA website or contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.