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MC hosts ‘Design Your Future’ conference

Barry McNamara
Photo: Joanna Davison Triebel ’99 presents the keynote address. (George Hartmann)

When students spend four years at colleges like Monmouth, they are essentially designing their future in terms of the majors they select, the courses they take and the organizations in which they are involved.

A group of 70 Monmouth College students received a little more insight into the process at the second annual Scots Connection leadership conference on Feb. 20.

Sponsored by MC’s Wackerle Career and Leadership Center, in cooperation with the Office of Alumni Programs, the four-hour conference was held in the college’s Stockdale Center.

“This year’s title, ‘Design Your Future,’ reminds us that we each are the architects of our own lives,” said assistant dean of students Michelle Merritt, one of the organizers of the conference. “Our students explored tools which they can use to build the best lives for themselves and the people with whom they share the world.”

Part of the ongoing series of Scots Connection events, which bring MC alumni and students together, the event was attended by 15 Monmouth graduates, including keynote speaker Joanna Davison Triebel ’99 (above), a district sales manager for GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals.

Triebel explored the five practices set forth in “The Leadership Challenge,” a book by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. Those practices include challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way and encouraging the heart.

Triebel used examples from her professional career to drive those points home. She also shared with them that she was very involved in campus activities as a student.

In the spring of her freshman year, she decided to run for Student Association president. She won the election, serving as president for her sophomore year. A highlight, Triebel said, was organizing a “Speak Up or Shut Up” event for students to voice their concerns about various campus issues. For her final two years, she was president of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and she also participated in the dance team, the campus radio station and theatre.

“I learned so much during my time at Monmouth and implemented so much from my organizational activities,” said Triebel, who now leads a team of 14 sales representatives and is responsible for sales growth and holding reps accountable for their performance.

In the question-and-answer portion of her talk, Triebel told the students that when she conducts interviews, she is looking for individuals who know what they want and are confident and well-prepared. She also said that she did internships each summer and “highly recommends” them for today’s college students.

Other alumni participants at the conference included:

George Gaulrapp ’81, mayor of Freeport;

Robin Jarvis ’84, senior manager of leadership development for H-E-B Grocery Co.;

Craig Nash ’84, assistant manager for the Chicago Public School’s Department of College and Career Preparation;

Tom Sargent ’85, associate professor of educational studies at Monmouth College;

Gary Selof ’86, chaplain for the Iowa National Guard;

Devon Monroe Kelly ’90, occupational injury prevention project manager for OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria;

Christy Ogilvie McCreary ’90, self-employed singer and voice teacher;

Kate Francis ’92, president for the Knox County Civic Center Authority/Orpheum Theatre;

Bill Turner ’93, director of development for the College of Law at the University of Illinois;

Jessica Bunch Butcher ’94, assistant to the vice president for student services at Western Illinois University;

Angela Charsha-Harney ’98, assistant director for the Department of Recreational Sports at the University of Iowa;

Chris Triebel ’99, math teacher at Joliet West Township High School;

Emily O’Daniel-Huston ’01, counselor for the Monmouth-Roseville School District; and

Jessica DeVore Johnston ’04, undercover operations analyst for Caterpillar, Inc.

“The conference was a smashing success,” said Lucy Thompson, director of alumni programs, who also helped organize the event. “The positive energy throughout the second annual conference was contagious, and we are already looking forward to our third annual event.”