How did you discover your passion for what you do, and what opportunities have helped shape your career?

As a junior in college, I was uncertain of what I wanted to do when I graduated. My advisor talked to me about what I liked doing and what was important to me – helping people, focusing on diversity, interacting with people from backgrounds different than my own. She then recommended a summer internship opportunity that I applied for and was accepted. It was a life changing experience and through that internship, I found my profession. Three key opportunities have shaped my career – working at Muskingum University where I learned invaluable skills, working at Saint Mary’s College (an all-women’s institution) where I realized how important women’s empowerment and mentorship is, and have since emphasized this in my life, and working with my mentor Jennifer McCary at Bowling Green State University.


Who has been an invaluable mentor for your professional career? What did you learn from them?

Jennifer McCary, Chief Diversity and Belonging Officer at Bowling Green State University, has been an invaluable mentor. I could list so many things Jennifer has taught me, but to name a few – how to have difficult conversations with people you work with and supervise; the poise, grace and strength necessary to carry yourself as a woman in high-level leadership; and that no career is more important than your loved ones.


How do you make sure you stay connected with your professional network?

I utilize social media, and I am involved in professional organizations in my field which help me stay connected. When someone is helpful to me, I send either a snail mail thank you card or an email. I think this is the right thing to do, and it has the added benefit of helping to leave a positive impression. I also do a lot of informational interviews.


How have friendships helped you professionally? Is there a friend (or Delta Zeta sister) that has been behind you every step of the way on your career journey?

Multiple women have been friends and professional allies – I had a professor who involved me in research and publishing opportunities as well as introduced me to renowned scholars that she knew. Two other women/friends have nominated me for multiple opportunities. A previous supervisor, who was a woman and friend, pointed out to me that a man would apply for the job I was hesitating to apply for because men apply for positions with less of the percentage of qualifications than women. In a field where the leadership is still largely male, their friendships have been so important.

Two Delta Zeta sisters have also been cheerleaders for my life and career – Ashley Scullion Ehlinger (my big) and Ashlee Ammons. When I was going through chemo, they both reached out with support, friendship and encouragement. At various times in my career, they have celebrated my accomplishments as well.