Degree(s), Graduation Year(s): B.A. Media & Journalism, Strategic Communication, 2018; M.B.A, 2020
Occupation: Manager, Member Development
Company: The Conference Board
Location: New York, NY
Describe your current professional or educational pursuits. (What does your position entail? What skills do you use in your current role? What are you hoping to accomplish with your education? etc.)
In my current role of Manager, Member Development, at The Conference Board, I lead a team of business development representatives, who focus on finding qualified prospects and scheduling introductory calls for the sales team. In addition to managing direct reports, I do some lead generation myself and complete other projects for the team as needed. One ongoing project I am in charge of is the Key Performance Indicators report for the broader US membership development team. After completely revamping the report to make it more streamlined and efficient, I now run it weekly to determine the metrics of the sales team: the number of calls for each of the sellers, the number of calls scheduled by each of the business development representatives, the progress towards individual and team goals, etc. I send this report to members of the executive committee and finance department to be used for forecasting and planning, and I present this information to the team during weekly meetings. I also am an integral part of the interview committee and training team for the department, which hired 18 people in 2022 and 7 this year.
As I have quickly learned, being in management requires using many different skill sets on a daily and weekly basis. Most important is the ability to lead people. Finding different ways to motivate and inspire the members of my team, being a resource for their support and development, and ensuring they are taking the necessary steps to achieve their goals are all skills I rely on constantly. Given my keen attention to detail and trusted ability to provide accurate data, I am often tasked with pulling various reports for the team, analyzing them, and presenting the results in a digestible way. The ability to think critically and strategically is extremely helpful here. Generally speaking, organization and time management play a huge role in achieving success in my role as well as motivation and determination to reach and exceed goals.
How did USD influence your personal and professional experiences following graduation?
In addition to attending USD as a student, I was also afforded the opportunity to work on-campus in the undergraduate Admissions Office and for the Foundation following graduation. I credit these two positions for many of the transferable skills I possess today as well as developing my understanding of the professional world and the etiquette that exists within it. In both roles, I had the opportunity to share my passion, excitement, and love for USD, which came very easily for me. I enjoyed connecting with prospective students, sharing details about my incredible college experience, and helping them decide to become the future of the University. On the other hand, it was also rewarding to meet and foster relationships with alumni, hear stories about their time in Vermillion, and help them find ways to invest in the students and campus based on their passions and experiences. While the goal of these positions was vastly different, both required genuine joy and affection for USD and were instrumental in my development as a professional.
Perhaps the biggest influence USD has had on my life is facilitating my move to New York. A classmate that I met in the Al Neuharth Media Center during my freshman year of college was the one who initially reached out to me about an open position at her company and asked if I had any interest in relocating. I had always dreamed of living in a city, so I pursued the opportunity, and now I am about to celebrate my 2-year-anniversary of living in New York. Without that class at All Neuharth or staying connected with my classmates, who knows what direction my career and life might have taken?
I routinely think of lessons that I learned both inside and outside of the classroom at USD. The best example of this is when I was transitioning to a formal management position for the first time. As I made this transition, teachings from classes like Leadership Development and experiences from leading student organizations helped ease the transition and influence my style as a manager.
How have you demonstrated success and influence in your profession and community?
After working at my current company for a year, I was promoted to a managerial position. This promotion was fueled by the success that I had as a business development representative and the leadership potential that my superiors saw in me. In this new role, success can be defined in a multitude of ways. Being in a sales-related department, there is still a quantitative component to success, and my team has exceeded its goal during each of the first two quarters of 2023. In addition, one of my direct reports was promoted last spring and two of my direct reports were hired right out of college, so I find success in seeing my team members grow, develop, and achieve their goals. One of the most rewarding parts about being a manager is watching your team members have success and feeling like your influence was a small part of it.
As I mentioned earlier, I lead many of the onboarding sessions for new hires. I teach them about the tools we use and the processes we follow and try to help them build a solid foundation for them to have success in the role. In this aspect, I directly influence the development of our new hires, and it is validating to know my superiors trust me to do this.
On a personal note, I find success in building a life in New York City and continuing to thrive in this environment. At times, it can be a tough place to live, and I credit the resiliency and determination that I learned at USD to push me through when needed. I am so thankful for this experience and opportunity - it is something that I have dreamed of my entire life - so to finally achieve that dream and to be living it makes me feel incredibly proud and successful.