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Recent Human Resources Management graduate looks forward to new career path
The journey has been difficult for 59-year-old Judy Burton-Williams, who recently received her second college degree from Roosevelt University – a master’s in Human Resources Management from the Heller College of Business.
In fact, for Burton-Williams of Lake in the Hills, Ill., who arrived in the United States from Trinidad in 1979, the dream of getting an advanced college degree long proved elusive.
However, she knew she couldn’t give up even when her dream of becoming a lawyer didn’t materialize.
Burton-Williams, who received a bachelor’s degree in Professional Studies as an honors student from Roosevelt University in 2007, was accepted into law school in Michigan in 2009. However, she dropped out after a year because she couldn’t sleep, affecting her health and ability to grasp fully what she was trying to study.
“I finally realized I had to choose another discipline, but I knew I couldn’t give up the fight,” said Burton-Williams. “I figured I had to finish the college journey and could use my year in law school as a springboard to another degree and career that would be less costly and easier on my health,” added Burton-Williams who had spent two decades before as a flight attendant on international routes to Europe and Latin America for American Airlines.
Since Burton-Williams had leadership training with the airlines, she decided Human Resources might be a better path for an advanced degree.
As a graduate student in Roosevelt’s Heller College of Business, Burton-Williams proved herself to be a natural leader, serving as a Heller graduate assistant and as president of Roosevelt’s chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management club.
According to Donald Wlodarski, adjunct professor in marketing, management and human resources who had Burton-Williams in an employee benefits class, it was a perfect fit for his student.
“She’s an intense leader – dedicated, organized and concise in everything that she does,” said Wlodarski, who was most impressed with the graduate student’s perseverance, particularly at a time when many people her age wouldn’t dream of starting a new educational path and career.
“Judy Burton-Williams is an example for all people who say ‘You can’t do this’ and she’s a prime example of what Roosevelt provides – and that is an opportunity for all qualified students regardless of things like race, religion, gender or age to not only succeed, but also to excel in accomplishing that success,” said Wlodarski.
“I’m a senior citizen now, and I do want to start a new career,” added Burton-Williams, who walked across the stage of the Auditorium Theatre to receive her advanced business degree in December 2012.
“I couldn’t be prouder to have a second degree from Roosevelt, which has prepared me well for a leadership role in the human resources field,” she said. “Being a senior, I know there’s another difficult journey ahead,” she added. “But I am armed with new knowledge, a lot of working experience and my maturity and I’m ready for the fight that will take me onward to new horizons.”
Heller graduate takes Lakeview business to new heights
In September 2010, Heller College of Business graduate Christopher Currier (on the right) became the co-owner of a full-service action sports specialty shop in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood called Windward Boardshop. The shop specializes in snowboards, skateboards, longboards, and stand up paddle boards.
“I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to do my own thing instead of working for a big corporation,” Currier said, explaining why he purchased Windward. “I had really good finance and marketing professors at Roosevelt who further inspired me to go in that direction.”
While attending Roosevelt, Currier was working as an investment associate at Citigroup, a multinational financial services corporation. After earning his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2006, he remained at Citigroup for about a year before becoming a managing partner at the Meridian Investment Group. Three years later, Currier and two business partners purchased the almost 30-year-old Windward Boardshop and transformed it into a popular sports equipment, apparel and accessories firm.
Currier encourages aspiring entrepreneurs at Roosevelt University’s Heller College of Business not to be afraid of trying something on their own. “A lot of people worry about whether it’s the right time to start a business,” he said. “If you wait too long you could miss a great opportunity.”
Master of Science in Accounting student Shane Massel(right) and his three childhood buddies are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their Cure it on the Court Foundation which seeks to promote and support medical research by raising funds and awareness through community sponsored sporting events to help cure childhood cancer. Click here for the full Chicago Sun Times article.
May 4, 2012 Franklin Honor Society Induction Ceremony of Roosevelt University. Agnes Podbial, 2012 BSBA, Major in Accounting graduate was selected to be the student speaker to deliver the induction speech. Agnes has been chosen to be a 2012-13 Graduate Assistant in the Heller College of Business and will attain her CPA certificate and Master's degree in May of 2013.
Shavon N. Taylor, an MBA student at Roosevelt University, can’t say enough great things about the education she is receiving at in the Heller College of Business.
“I appreciate the hard-core methodology and approach to teaching that I am receiving in Professor Joseph Ament’s accounting course,” she said. “Professor Ament not only offers practical ways of managing financial statements, but he gives real-world scenarios about what management should and should not do.”
“Because I manage funds for two major city entities, the MBA I am pursuing is highly valuable for my career,” she said. “Professor Ament’s course has already given me an edge in my department.”
In addition to Ament, Shavon points to professors Gordon Patzer, Tom Head and Tsun Chow as instructors she is enjoying. “I want everyone to know that Roosevelt works,” she said proudly.
Channing Harris, a senior human resource undergraduate student in the Heller College of Business at Roosevelt University, has been accepted as a delegate to the 64th Japan-America student conference in the summer of 2012. The five week conference allows Japanese, U.S., and Korean student delegates to discuss relevant global business topics.
Delegates are competitively selected from universities and the application process is long and strenuous. “The day I looked at the application, it was due the very same day,” said Harris. “I spent most of the day writing the application.”
Being invited to this prestigious conference is a triumph for Roosevelt and Harris. The conference opens networking opportunities between delegates and students from all over the world.
In 2011, Harris and a classmate he met in a Statistics class at Roosevelt started a business, Socks to your Door, a clothing company for men. Harris is also working on a documentary that captures the hardships and dilemmas of a business college student in today’s economy. He is also the founder of a business and entrepreneur club at Roosevelt’s Chicago Campus. Harris graduates in December 2012 and wants to continue his education at Roosevelt.
Growing up in the North Lawndale community, he finds the Roosevelt community and faculty to be inviting and informative. "Roosevelt is a really friendly university and that's probably because it's generally a small community," said Harris. "There's so much that is not even tied into academics at Roosevelt."
International students, an important part of Roosevelt University’s student body, frequently advance to high-level positions with corporations and organizations throughout the world after they graduate.
Students from China are a good example. During the past several years, Roosevelt alumni have demonstrated their business expertise and social commitment by working on the Beijing Olympics, organizing urban planning and land management operations in one of China’s largest cities and managing the manufacture of emission control devices for an international company.
“To be honest, my success came from a good education at Roosevelt University,” said Wenchang Zhu, who was a member of a yearlong executive MBA program at Roosevelt. “I need to say that Roosevelt changed my mind and also changed my career.”
“Roosevelt helped prepare me for my current job by providing basic training for leadership and management and by broadening my views and thoughts,” said Songming Xu, who holds a major position with the city of Shenzhen.
Tan Guoxin was one of several Roosevelt alumni to work on China’s highly regarded 2008 Olympics. As the strategic partnership manager of General Electric in China, he helped the
GE team win $700 million in construction projects. Under his watch, GE provided the indoor lighting, power distribution, rain water reuse and the tap water system for the Olympic stadium, nicknamed the “Bird House.”
“The GE success on the Beijing Olympics produced rich experiences for me and it paved the way for future opportunities for the company on other Olympic projects, including the London and Rio de Janeiro Olympics,” said Guoxin who currently is director of government programs for GE China.
Guoxin liked the fact that his Roosevelt education emphasized problem solving through what he referred to as “searching, discussions, communications and field trips.” “Education in China is keen on examination scores and learning from books,” he said.
Zhu also worked on the Olympics as an employee of Carrier Inc., a business unit of United Technologies. Carrier was awarded nearly 70 per cent of all heating, ventilating and air-conditioning contracts for the various venues. “Under my leadership with the theme ‘Big goal, big result,’ we won the Carrier President’s award in 2008 for our Olympic work,” he proudly said.
China’s pollution problem was on the mind of Xu, the first director of the Pingsham Urban Planning and Land Management Bureau, when he introduced a low-carbon initiative to the new master plan for the city of Shenzhen.
Xu, who has 160 people working for him, invited consultants from Chicago, London, Paris and Singapore to Shenzen in 2010 to help create the city’s development strategy and central business district conceptual planning.
Another Roosevelt alumnus who holds an important job in China is Hengdi Li, general manager of Wema Environmental Technologies, a Norwegian company, with a major plant in Shanghai, which makes sensors to reduce auto emissions.
“At Roosevelt I gained cultural and business know-how about Western-style companies,” he said. “It was really important for me to work in an English-speaking environment.”
“These stories are just a few examples of the many successes of our international students,” said Rubee Fuller, director of International Programs. Our hands-on faculty, location in downtown Chicago and welcoming culture makes Roosevelt the ideal place for many students from around the world.”
Many folks these days are feeling lucky just to have a job, given the layoffs, salary cuts and general restructuring going on.
But Naperville resident Derrick Jackson, 25, is a young man looking out for more than just himself. And if things go well, the efforts of Jackson and others like him might make a difference in the lives of people half his age.
A former resident of Carol Stream, Jackson attended Wheaton Academy before moving on to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., where he majored in finance. Currently pursuing his MBA at Roosevelt University, Jackson lives and works in Naperville as a Chase Real Estate agent.
Despite the sluggish housing market, Jackson said his business as a Realtor "is beginning to take off as I have made multiple deals in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone." And now he would like to invest some of his income from those deals in human resources.
"I have started as a Realtor because I have a strong passion for helping others -- homebuyers and investors alike. The economic challenges we are presently facing began with the housing industry and I believe my efforts are directly contributing to the recovery of the market," Jackson said.
He says he wouldn't be where he is without help. "But as I was growing up, there are people who helped and directed me, and I want to give something to those who are following me," he said.
Jackson's father, Derrick Sr., launched a mentoring program in East Aurora this fall known as the Gadal Mentoring Program and it is the younger Jackson's intent to donate 10 percent of his Realtor's commission to helping fund the program. With just a few weeks under his belt, the program has already received about $2,000.
"The reason this group was started is that there are a lot of young men and women in need of direction and it seems that there aren't a lot of people who want to work in some of the rough or poorer areas," Jackson said. "The disparity between the rich and the poor is getting wider, it seems, every year, and I think a lot of that has to do with education."
Jackson said the mentoring program will be looking for people from many walks of life, including professionals like lawyers, doctors, executives in the working world as well as individuals from faith-based organizations.
"Hopefully these will all be people who have something to offer in terms of life skills," he said. "At this point, we're planning to target high school-age kids and eventually move into the grade schools."
Jackson said he is already forging plans for the year ahead and would like to lend a hand in 2010 to the Habitat for Humanity group in addition to continuing to help fund the mentoring program. He said helping others is simply a matter of returning to people the things he received as a youngster and still continues to receive today.
"I have a strong belief in giving back to the community, and so I am giving 10 percent of my profit back to a local nonprofit organization aimed at providing after-school care and mentoring to young children," Jackson said. "In the computer age where everything consistently changes, education and mentorship are the keys to success. I strongly believe that age is just a number and that if you believe in something and put your all into it, you can succeed.
"What some people did for me really made an impact, and it doesn't always have to be a monetary thing to make life better. Like they say -- you reap what you sow."
By DAVID SHAROS For Sun-Times Media January 3, 2010
Roosevelt Graduate Heads Diversity Program At International Law Firm: Chiymelle Proby Nunn, the recipient of a master's degree in human resources management from Roosevelt University and a diversity management certificate from Cornell University, has been appointed as the first diversity manager at Winston & Strawn LLP, an international commercial law firm with 15 offices in North America, Asia and Europe. She will help expand its cutting-edge recruitment and career advancement programs.
"Winston & Strawn has long been committed to diversity and inclusion, but we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our efforts to facilitate greater inclusiveness," said Partner Amanda Groves, chair of the firm's Diversity Committee. "We believe Chiymelle is the perfect fit to help us implement diversity best practices and create new programs to advance our diversity goals." Chiymelle has been with Winston for nearly a decade, previously serving in the firm's business development group.
Among other things, Winston's recently adopted sweeping reforms to its comprehensive diversity policy, including an expansion of its domestic partner benefit program to provide a tax gross-up payment for employees in same-sex partnerships. For these and other LGBT-friendly practices, Winston has been named a "leading" law firm by Equality Illinois and is one of only a handful of Am Law 100 law firms to receive a "perfect" score in the Human Rights Campaign's most recent "Corporate Equality Index."
I attended Roosevelt University as a part of the Chicago School of Real Estate's inaugural class. I knew I had always wanted to pursue my MBA, but it wasn't until I learned of Roosevelt's new curriculum that I felt compelled to do so. Jon DeVries was of paramount importance in formulating my decision to attend. I bought in to his vision for the school and signed up straight away. The classes at Roosevelt were very helpful to me. As a real estate developer who learned the business by doing, taking a step back to learn a more practical approach to development was instrumental in my gaining a better understanding of the industry as a whole, and the economic factors which lead to smarter development choices.
I particularly enjoyed a number of the Gen-Ed classes, including statistics (much to my surprise) and Prof. Ziliak's course in Economics. The teachers at Roosevelt have varied backgrounds and their unique teaching styles made for interesting in class, and out of class, study.
It was at Roosevelt where I met my current business partner, Larry Kerner. Larry and I worked together to redevelop a vacant 114,000 square foot building in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood. Through our combined efforts, we converted the existing structure to 68 residential loft, rental apartments, 68 indoor parking spaces, and 3,600 square feet of first-floor commercial space. What separates this development from similar projects is that we were able to save an existing structure, update it to LEED standards, secure City of Chicago and National Register of Historic Places Landmark status, and maintain an affordable price point for urban renters. The building recently the City of Chicago 2010 Award for Preservation Excellence.
Without Roosevelt, this development would never have happened. I highly recommend The Chicago School of Real Estate at Roosevelt University for anyone considering a career in real estate.
Click on the photo to hear Karine's YouTube story.
CEO, Chairman of the Board – Infinity Capital Holding Corporation
With a civil engineering degree from Southern Illinois University and an honorable discharge from the Army, Roosevelt University MBA student Richard M. Killian launched his business career in 2000 at the age 26.
As South Side resident and White Sox-loyal Chicagoan (complete with a brief stint as a White Sox pitcher), Killian jumped at Roosevelt’s inaugural MBA-Real Estate degree program, the first such MBA in Chicago. He wanted the Chicago area for his corporate home, making Roosevelt ideal. While attending Roosevelt in the evenings, Killian got his real estate broker’s license, enabling him to start his own real estate business.
With his earnings, he began a demolition company and soon purchased a union demolition company. With the dotcom era booming, Killian acquired a failing small information technology company and made it profitable. By age 28, Killian had his MBA, had started two companies and acquired two more and earned his first million.
Killian credits two of his Roosevelt professors, Wayne Paprocki and Mike Firsel, as opening his mind to business strategies that included both ancillary businesses and national expansion, both of which Killian has implemented.
With the real estate market boom in the summer of 2002, Prospect Equities® CEO Killian wanted to hire agents. Killian designed a unique and irresistible fee and commission structure and offered extensive agent training. By year’s end, Prospect Equities® had 18 agents with the Killian-pioneered “Freedom Concept” of real estate brokerage in Illinois. By January, 2004, Killian had added 67 agents.
Killian consolidated his operations under Infinity Capital Holding (ICH) Corporation and became Chairman. Killian next started mortgage, insurance, and escrow servicing companies that offered discounted rates. By the end of 2004, Prospect Equities® could tout the most extensive services among brokerages plus the most affordable fees and best commissions in Illinois, for both clients and its more than 600 agents.
Prospect Equities® has its corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, plus six branch offices covering the Chicago area. In August, 2010, Prospect Equities® was the first Illinois-based real estate brokerage to franchise nationwide.
Killian serves as President and CEO for Prospect Equities® and oversees his 22 companies, the franchising and trade name. Killian holds 33 active licenses in the areas of real estate, engineering, insurance, banking, and environmental consulting, is Chairman of the Board for ICH and its companies and is responsible for nearly one-half billion dollars in annual sales.
In 2010, Killian also founded The Hardship Home Foundation which focuses on helping families across America keep their homes.
Roosevelt University student Chanel Wilson says her career goal is to be successful…period. “Success to me,” she says, “includes a good academic record to show people that you are hard-working. It also includes taking the initiative to be responsible and a leader to show people that you are not afraid to step up to the plate, to manage harder tasks, to help others who need assistance, and to direct a firm or company in the right direction.”
Because of her leadership skills, Chanel was selected to attend the Pricewaterhouse Coopers eXpedition Conference for minority college students interested in the public accounting profession. The three-day program in Orlando, Florida unites students from all over the country who have the potential to be leaders in their field. Students learn about the many opportunities of accountancy through interactive workshops and seminars, while enjoying Disney World.
“My Roosevelt education, so far, has really been beneficial and invaluable, even after only one year,” she says. “I expect to keep my GPA (or raise it of course) throughout my college career and continue to be proactive in RU-NABA (National Association of Black Accountants, Inc.- Roosevelt University Chapter), in which I will be Vice President for the 2010-2011 school year.”
Chanel says the Walter E. Heller College of Business is a premier business school whose graduates have attracted top companies such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, one of the most well known, international accounting firms. “It is a school that is diligent in making sure that its students leave Roosevelt with an ambitious drive and it truly prepares students for the real-world. Its courses and organization promote success every day.”
Beth Towell, associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs in the College of Business at Northern Illinois University, received her MBA from Roosevelt University’s Walter E. Heller College of Business.
“My interest in business and especially in information systems grew enormously while attending Roosevelt,” she said. “The classes were challenging, conveniently located and well-taught. I have great memories from this time in my life and great pride at having earned my MBA from Roosevelt.”
At Northern Illinois University, she provides oversight for the College of Business’ curriculum, accreditation, scheduling and other all-campus programs.
Before assuming this position, Dr. Towell was vice provost at Carroll University in Wisconsin. She has published articles in the areas of data modeling, Internet standards, quality, safety and professional ethics. She also has taught a wide variety of classes ranging from graduate-level software engineering to freshman-level seminars.
Dr. Towell obtained her grounding in business while working for the semiconductor division of Texas Instruments. She holds a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Roosevelt University graduate student Michael A. Schab and a small group of friends have created a company called NeuStep and a product named WebWalk, which the firm believes will make the typical virtual tour obsolete.
According to Michael, WebWalk is a technology that not only lets people experience real places in 360 degrees, but it also gives them the ability to move around a space. He said the technology allows Internet users to experience real places online like never before, allowing for a new level of interactivity for online users. “Coupled with hot spots and Ecommerce, WebWalk promises to be a technology that will change the way many people look for information across many industries, including travel, real estate, hospitality, trade shows, and retail,” he said.
Today Michael is heading up NeuStep’s production and logistics, while also working with personal clients in sales development.
Michael is studying in the Heller College’s Chicago School of Real Estate. “The teachers have been more than open to allow me the opportunity to share my story with other students, and hopefully inspire future entrepreneurs,” he said. “Unlike many other programs that strive to connect to their student bodies, this real estate school has a unique advantage: I happen to be currently enrolled in the program.”
Ioana Ardelean, Vice-President of the NABA-Roosevelt student chapter, was selected from a group of national applicants for the Delta Mu Delta scholarship.
"It would not have been possible without the education I receive at Roosevelt and the mentorship of [the dean] and Roosevelt University professors."
Lawndale News article: Roosevelt University graduate business student Octavio J. Santiago has received a prestigious Presidential Management Fellows award from the federal government. Santiago, 27, who graduated on Friday, May 15th from Roosevelt with a master’s degree in human resource management, was among 786 finalists out of more than 5,000 applicants and the only candidate chosen from Roosevelt University for the Presidential Management Fellows program.
Authorized by the President of the United States and administered by the Office of Personnel Management for the White House, the program prepares recent graduate school graduates for high-level government management positions and leadership roles. During his two-year fellowship, Santiago will apply human resources management tactics and strategies within the U.S. Department of Defense/Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, one of six federal agencies that offered fellowship opportunities to Santiago.
“I am honored to have been able to represent Roosevelt University and to be chosen for this fellowship,” said Santiago, who grew up in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.
Rajendra Shirole earned his MBA from Roosevelt University.
He says "Roosevelt University's Walter E. Heller College of Business taught me to look at the social side of business relationships. I learned that compassion is important, sometimes the most important thing in business relationships."
Raj is the MBA director at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. He has a PhD in Computing and Information Systems.
Crystal Harvey, a 2006 graduate of Roosevelt University’s Chicago School of Real Estate, has a lot to say about why Roosevelt is the place to be.
“I always found useful information, advice and assistance from the staff and professors whenever I needed it,” she says of her Roosevelt experience. “When it came to outstanding professors, Jon DeVries and Sophia Dermisi are the best any student could ask for!”
A Chicago native, Harvey attended Roosevelt’s Walter E. Heller College of Business on a scholarship. She currently works as a real estate consultant at American Invsco Realty, a full-service firm that specializes in all aspects of real estate, including commercial leasing, property management and the sale and purchase of homes.
Harvey first came to Roosevelt to expand her knowledge beyond real estate sales. She says that her Roosevelt education provided her with extensive information about the commercial real estate industry.
When asked what motives her, she says, “I have a passion for learning. I love working with others to help them achieve their life’s dreams and aspirations.” Harvey says the advise I have for students is, “…to forever hold on to your dreams by consistently pressing forward to achieve your goals”.
"The work [we] received each week and the challenges were great to prepare us for the real world and made me look deeper into life, work, and the business world as a whole. Now, that I have graduated with my MBA I have started my search for the right company to work and grow into.
"Being that I come from Bulgaria, I have my connections there, but I really want to experience something different, something memorable, something extraordinary, and maybe I might be able to make a difference in my country one day when I go back. We never know what challenges and surprises life can give us.
I do love my home land, but I do see that there are good challenges and opportunities here for someone like myself to do well. Just like anywhere in the world, if one is able to find good mentors and advisers the opportunities are endless."
Richard Similio is a graduate student in Real Estate and recent winner of the CORE scholarship. The scholarship is the CoreNet Global-Chicago Chapter Award for Academic Excellence.
"Roosevelt has given me the confidence to achieve ever increasing goals, in both my professional and personal lives."
Siraj Virani is a graduate of the Heller College of Business with an undergraduate Accounting degree and an MBA.
Click the photo to find out about his most recent success:
WASHINGTON " The National Restaurant Association has honored Siraj Virani, owner of 13 Dunkin' Donuts franchises in the Chicago area, as a recipient of its Faces of Diversity American Dream Awards.
The Faces of Diversity Awards celebrate diversity and inclusion in the restaurant-and-foodservice industry and among the industry's 13 million employees, according to the association. Four winners in two categories " the American Dream Award for individuals and the Inspiration Award for restaurant companies " are recognized for inspirational success stories and exceptional efforts to embrace diversity.
Al Fabian is a Heller College of Business graduate and recent recipient of the ACBSP (Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs) International Teaching Excellence Award.
Are you a "Success Story"? If so, let us share your story: contact the Heller College of Business to get started.
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