Can you be a working mother, devoted wife and still have time to earn a graduate degree? We asked 2014 Leadercast scholarship winner and 2016 JWMI graduate Cristy Carey to find out.
Like many who struggle with a work/life balance, Cristy thought an MBA wasn’t going to fit into her busy schedule, “my kids come first” she said. But, now she freely admits she was wrong. “It is possible.” And her student success story will motivate anyone who held her prior mindset.
When working in healthcare, there is a tendency to put everyone else first: your patients, the company and let’s not forget your support system at home, husband and for Cristy her two boys. But, Cristy’s always had the drive to succeed. With a passion for the business side of healthcare, Cristy took the courageous step to leave her labor and delivery nurse position in an Atlanta hospital to start a nurse staffing company. But like was so often the case in 2008, the recession claimed her small business. However, every failed attempt has a lesson, and Cristy knew her heart was in business, maybe just not her own.
Thankfully, she soon found a position within a large national pediatric home care company that allowed her to combine her passion for healthcare with her business aptitude. It was also around this time when Cristy happened upon Leadercast, an innovative event and digital content organization that strives to build better leaders. And as luck would have it, JWMI sponsored the annual event and offered an online MBA scholarship to one lucky, deserving recipient. As part of her application, Cristy had to answer the question: “What are the essential qualities of a great leader?”.
It hit her like lightning, the cherished words written on the sign above her desk that her grandfather had passed down to her provided the inspiration for her winning essay.
“Tell the truth, Pay your honest debts, Walk in the light”
It took Cristy a quarter to feel confident in her ability to manage her work-life-school balance, but once she did, success followed in stride. In the two years it took Cristy to complete her MBA, she earned not one promotion, but two! She received a promotion to area director over two locations upon first starting her MBA. And even more impressively earned another promotion to area vice-president over the entire state of Georgia managing 11 director-level employees upon graduating with honors.
“Graduation was my most rewarding experience.“
Throughout her JWMI journey, Cristy’s newfound self-confidence was evident, not only in the C-level conversations she was able to participate in at work but in unexpected places like church and within the healthcare community-at-large.
All of this has led Cristy to take on a courageous new project to help children with tracheostomy tubes attend overnight camp, providing the children an opportunity just to be a kid and their parents an opportunity to take a guilt-free vacation. Part of Camp Twin Lakes, Cristy used her earned confidence and learned skills to create a non-profit, staff the program with medical professionals and secure funding through sponsorships. She credits her JWMI education for the leadership to embark on this rewarding program that gives back to so many special needs children.
For more on Cristy’s story, read her testimony here.