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Winning Voices: Anna Furlow, Self-Employed, Human Resources Consultant

Winning Voices: Anna Furlow, Self-Employed, Human Resources Consultant

Anna Furlow
Human Resources Consultant
Self-Employed
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA Human Resources Concentration

PLEASE SHARE MORE ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL ROLE AND RESPONSIBLITIES.:

I am an HR Leader with 12+ years of experience in public corporations, private companies, and the non-profit sector, with employee counts of 12 to 100,000+. Through the course of my career, I have obtained practical expertise in servant people leadership, establishing centralized HR service centers, defining operations, maintaining compliance, lean process improvement, and change management.

WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?:

I knew that obtaining my MBA was in my future, it just never felt like the right time, as I always had a reason why I was “too busy.” As 2020 arrived and we were all adapting to a slower life with few places to go, I knew the timing was now. I discussed this with my family and began the enrollment process the next day. I did not look back!

HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?

As I’ve progressed through the last three years of this program and at work, I have received two promotions. My first promotion was project-based and I was asked to lead the HRIS system implementation to select, design, pilot, and train upon a new HR system. My area of focus on this system implementation was to design the recruiting, onboarding, and core HR portions of this system. Once this project concluded, I was promoted to Senior HR Operations manager, which was designed as a new role for the HR team. In this role, I was responsible for managing HR projects to align with the business plan, outline project plans, and raise any project risks where deadlines or budgets may not be met.

DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.:

As my MBA journey progressed, there were many parallels between what was occurring in my career. As I attended Lead Change by Putting People First, I was entering into a new people leadership role and was able to lead my team by supporting them with tactics I was learning in my course. As I took the course Strategic Partnership with the C-Suite, our organization hired a new CHRO. Through this course, I was able to learn how to strengthen my relationship with the C-Suite, by preparing and presenting the right level of information and communications to ensure the C-Suite had the information they needed to help make major decisions for our company. Finally, as I was promoted to the position of Senior Manager of HR Operations role, I was attending the Operational Excellence course. Through this course, I was able to introduce operational excellence practices, including lean process improvements during my day job.

LOOKING BACK AT WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT AN ONLINE PROGRAM WHEN YOU FIRST EMBARKED, WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION NOW? DID IT MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS VIA DQ BOARDS, EOP VIDEOS, FACULTY ETC?:

When you think about an online program your mind probably goes to a sub-par education that will be easy to fly through. The Jack Welch Management Institute is designed for working adults so you can learn today and truly apply tomorrow. The coursework is engaging and challenging, through course discussion questions, project assignments, knowledge quizzes, and regular check-ins with the course instructor.

HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?:

To remain successful in this program, I relied on time-blocking to control my schedule. I made sure to add assignment due dates to my calendar and also working time for reading the course materials, writing and submitting your weekly discussion questions, and adequate time to complete major projects. To maintain time with my family, we ensured we still had time for family dinner and moments for meaningful conversations and also check-ins when and if the family needed more attention. I am not sure I would be so successful without being mindful of my time scheduling.

IN JUST A FEW WORDS, DESCRIBE WHAT “LEADERSHIP” MEANS TO YOU.:

Leadership is not a job title. Leadership is a set of daily actions and interactions with the people around you. Leadership is when you show your authentic self and the people around you lean into it and want to follow your guidance and want to be engaged. I believe “leader” is a title that others bestow on you, because they want to follow where you are leading.

PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.:

The advice I would give to incoming JWMI students is to take control of your calendar. When I created time to manage my calendar, instead of my calendar managing me, I was able to allocate enough time to complete the weekly reading, lectures, and discussion question projects. I noticed that when I did not manage my time, I often fell behind and had to rush to complete papers each Wednesday, and the weekends’ major projects were due.

The other advice I would give to incoming JWMI students is to build your network. It has been a blessing to be learning with so many strong leaders throughout my program. My professors and peers come from across the world and business entities and create an eclectic group of people all cheering you on through completion and beyond.


Connect with Anna Furlow on LinkedIn

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