Angela Joyner, PhD – plug the leaky buckets

Last week was a whirlwind at school – with a ton of fantastic opportunities to have small-group chats with inspirational leaders.

Don’t believe me?

  • Monday – lunch with Melisa Miller, President of Alliance Data (and my future boss!) with a small group from my Advanced Leadership Class
  • Tuesday – Super Bowl Ad Review with AMP and a few marketing professors
  • Wednesday – lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets – data analytics meets marketing
  • Thursday – lunch with Dr. Angela Joyner, Vice President/General Manager at ConAgra Foods, Inc., courtesy of the Black MBA Association

Told you. Whirlwind.

On Thursday, a few females were asked to join Dr. Joyner for a lunch before her afternoon session to talk about women in the business world and leadership positions. I was so honored to be part of this event and have the chance to ask some questions to Dr. Joyner in a more personal setting. It was a very open dialogue and we discussed female leadership, tricks for approaching conflict and then general work-life balance concerns.

joyner 1

Then Dr. Joyner spoke to a larger group later that afternoon. I filled several pages of notes during her session, but I summarized some of my favorite take-aways below.

These are great tips for business school, the workplace and life in general ūüôā

  • Prioritize
  • Plug the leaky buckets – allow yourself more time to be effective — set guidelines and rules
  • Get the facts at work – Dr. Joyner said this beautifully; find out what good, better and a rock-star looks like at your company
  • Identify your gifts & be an expert in something
  • Create a powerful brand
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Find your entourage and create raving fans
  • Authentically promote yourself
  • Reflect, revise and renew – celebrate all of your accomplishments and look at your life with open eyes


Fisher is constantly bringing in inspiring and note-worthy guests that speak to so many topics.

As you can see from the list at the beginning of the post – one week was full of diverse speakers from a wide range of organizations. The meeting with Dr. Joyner inspired me — but so did the lunch on Monday with Melisa Miller. She got me so excited about returning to Alliance Data and working every day to make an impact. However, my Wednesday lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets was extremely informative.

Just another great week here at Fisher!



If you’re interested, check out Angela on Twitter and her blog from The Wonder Loft‘s page.


P&G Marketing Case Competition

This week I had the opportunity to participate in the first big case competition of the year on campus, which was sponsored by Proctor & Gamble (a consumer brand goods company based in Cincinnati, OH). ¬†The case was marketing based, using a real P&G brand, and interacting with members of the brand management team that actually works on the product’s marketing strategy. ¬†About 6 hours of time were devoted on Thursday for the teams of 4 to come up with a brand marketing strategy and develop a presentation, and then 5 hours on Friday were used to give each of the 10 teams involved a chance to present their ideas to marketing professors and professionals. ¬†So, all in all, if you include the social events associated with the competition, it was about a 12 hour commitment.

Now, in case I haven’t mentioned this before, I do not intend to major in marketing for my MBA degree, so, some people might wonder why I wanted to dedicate that much time to a competition in a field that isn’t my primary interest. ¬†The answer to that is really quite simple, and that is because there is much more to a competition than just the main functional area. ¬†Case competitions give MBA candidates, like myself, the opportunity to work on things like time management, team skills, leadership skills, creating presentations, innovation, and presentation/communication skills. ¬†All of those, to me, sound like skills that are crucial in order to be successful in the business world. ¬†A case competition gives students the opportunity to work on all of those skills in a controlled environment, it really is a practical application training exercise.

In the military, we didn’t just go into a high risk activity without a degree of training in advance. ¬†Before we went overseas, we would spend months or years training, refining our knowledge and skills, so that we would be more successful when we went downrange. ¬†Training is never perfect, because all elements of real world scenarios can’t be included for a number of reasons, but training is still an important part of preparing for real world application. ¬†Most of my colleagues and myself are getting MBA degrees in order to move into management, or leadership type roles after graduation. ¬†And while the risks for an infantryman overseas and business executive clearly have some differences, both roles have inherent risks. ¬†So it makes sense to work on the skills required to be successful at either in a training environment, which is something that case competitions provide. ¬†Because people revert to their previous training and experiences in a high stress situation, I don’t want the first time I have to do something stressful, like need to sell an idea I have to a board of executives to be during my internship, or in my new career.

So, that is my rather long-winded answer, as to why I thought it made perfect sense for someone who wants to major in operations & logistics to be in a marketing case competition, and why I plan to be in several more competitions in various fields.


Here is my awesome team (from the left: Me, Lindsey, Jeff, and John) from the competition. In case anyone is wondering, we won.

Thanks to Team 7

A good team makes working on projects and assignments easier.

A great team helps you keep calm when you have seven interviews in one week, two homework assignments due and a midterm within days.

Luckily, I fall into the second category! I wanted to take a quick second and thank my incredible team members: Pat, Davin, Arjun and Tracy for everything this past month.

Not only did February bring snow and cold (also some 60 degree days Рthanks Ohio), but lots of interviews, projects and and team assignments.

You thought finding time for coffee with a friend was hard Рtry finding time on  5 calendars to meet for 2 hours. A nearly impossible task.

But, you make it work. You talk to your team and projects are suddenly divided up through emails and Google docs. You have meetings through¬†Skype, speakerphone and more. Everyone supports one another and with some open and honest communication (and coffee if you’re me), everything is somehow perfected and turned-in before the due date.

THAT, my friends, is some FCOB teamwork magic. And I know magic, I worked for the mouse himself.

Business school is more than learning the material, it’s adapting to crazy situations and knowing how to be a leader — and a ¬†team player. You learn how to ask, and accept, help from team-members.

So thank you to the incredible and supportive individuals of Team 7, we almost made it through another crazy term!


Treat it like it’s your job

I’m an outlier. The average age of the 2012-13 class of SMF students is around 23 years; I’m 33. The average work experience of the group is about 1.5 years; I’ve been out in “the real world” for 10 years. So maybe it’s just that I don’t know any other way to approach this SMF thing than this: I plan to treat it like it’s my job.

Some of you reading this post may not have ever had a real job before (you know, the kind that pays you well enough to support yourself, independent of your parents, and, in exchange, requires you to dedicate a significant portion of your time, brain power and effort). Here are just a few tips for treating something like it’s your job…

Be on time. By this I mean to include both showing up on time and completing your work on time (sounds simple, but most people have a hard time dealing with the planning fallacy)

Check email regularly. So much information gets shared through email. If you’re not checking yours regularly, what are you missing?

Calendar everything. When I was 23, I truly believed I could remember every appointment I had just because I was so darn smart. Ten years later I’ve learned that relying on your ability to remember everything isn’t so smart the first time you miss a meeting with someone you might have wanted to impress (client, boss, love interest). Forget gold; time is the most precious commodity on earth. For that reason, time management is really, really important. Check out this book if you want some guidance on the topic. (Side note: I got a new boss in March 2010. About a month later, I approached him to ask about his early thoughts on how I could improve¬†my performance at work. All he said back was, “I don’t know how you organize your time.” Then he handed me a copy of Getting Things Done, the book I link to above.)

Dress for work. Sad but true: people will judge you based on how you look. Personally, I’d rather be pre-judged as competent and well-groomed than have to exert extra effort trying to change people’s first impressions to the contrary. Wear shorts and flip flops if you want… just don’t be surprised when people treat you like a person who wears shorts and flip flops.

Step up and lead. There are opportunities to lead all around us. And the beautiful thing is that we each get to choose our own level of involvement. So the next time a leadership opportunity presents itself, why not take it? Afraid of failure? Guess what, so is everyone else. To quote Mark Twain: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

To wrap my very first blog post up, and to show you, kind reader, that I am not just the miserly old man in the classroom, I will share with you a picture of something I love…

My dog, Captain, who turns 1 on Monday, August 27th



MAcc Student Orgs and Leadership Opportunities

Sarah recently asked about student organizations in the MAcc program, and about any corresponding leadership opportunities. ¬†I did some research, so I’ll be sharing what I found – as well as an interview with Fiona Pan, President of the MAcc Council.

Just looking at the Fisher Graduate Student Organizations list, I counted 28 different student orgs. ¬†YEAH – that’s a lot of student orgs. ¬†And the coolest thing is it is so easy to create a new group if somehow the group you’re interested in doesn’t exist! ¬†This is in addition to the hundreds of other student organizations that are not Fisher specific, but that you are more than welcome to join. ¬†I, for instance, have been actively involved with Team Buckeye, a group related to Pelotonia all year.

Having so many Fisher-specific orgs in combination with the general student orgs is great, because it really lets you mix business with pleasure. ¬†You’ll have a great time in any org you choose, but the Fisher orgs tend to cater slightly more to your professional development. ¬†On the other hand, the general student orgs tend to allow you to really pursue your passions!

Holding leadership positions is a little bit more difficult in the MAcc program, as typically you’ll want to be in the organization for a period of time before taking on leadership. ¬†That’s not to say it can’t happen though! ¬†Don’t go into it assuming you won’t get to hold a position simply because you’re a MAccer!

Of course, the MAcc Council, which is made up of just MAcc students, is a great way to hold a leadership position.  The MAcc council puts on a variety of community service, social, and professional events (such as the speaker series) for students.  Further, the MAcc council represents MAcc students on the Fisher Graduate Student Association Board, which serves as a link between students and administration.  The MAcc council holds elections early in the fall for its president, treasurer, and various vice president positions (such as VP of of Social Events, VP of Professional Events, etc).

Here’s what Fiona Pan, our current MAcc council president, has to say on her experiences this year!

First of all, I really enjoy it a lot. We have really good team, and I guess one of the benefits of taking a leadership role is to know and work with your fellow classmates and faculties outside of class. Everyone in the council team is very creative and responsible in terms of event/social planning and following up. The support from the faculty members is tremendous. They are the ones who pass on the legacy every year and we really appreciate that.

Secondly, MAcc council is always trying to provide as many opportunities in professional development, community services and social networking as possible. Though we inherited some from previous classes, such as FETCH!, EY MAcc Speaker Series, VITA and MAcc Gives Back, we also want to have something of our own, creating a character for the 2012 class. By creating events, students will have a more comprehensive experience with MAcc, Fisher, OSU, Columbus, and even the U.S. Plus in the end, people will always remember the people and the good times they spent together in the program, and that is the tone we are trying to set.

Lastly, as you asked how to get involved with MAcc Council or any other student organization. It is easy, make sure you read your Council Email and sign up for whatever you feel interested in ūüôā¬† Take initiative on the projects you have passion with and enjoy your time in MAcc!

Well Sarah, there you have it – straight from the Prez! ¬†Getting involved is easy, and definitely something I would recommend. ¬†It’s possible to take a leadership role, but being in the MAcc program does make it slightly more difficult. ¬†Just approach it with determination and you will be all set!

Crossover of Two Worlds

Just an aside before I begin – when the bloggers log into the dashboard to write a new post, we can see the blogs that have been written lately, if there are any new comments, etc. Today, as I was perusing through the new comments, I realized that Fisher Grad Life Bloggers are getting spammed by sites. I find it highly entertaining that we have gone from a site only our families read because they’re our family to being spammed. Of course our blog site is really well set up and all posts and comments are screened before being published so these spam comments will never reach your eyes, but…it is still funny. Also, this is my first official blog with my name changed to Amanda Wenner – shout out to Jason Hart who helped me gain access again after the system had no idea who I was.

Now – onto what I came here to do.

Some of you know that I was a member of the OSU Marching Band for 3 years. I play clarinet, but because the OSUMB is only brass and percussion, I was on student staff. The marching band is essentially run by 14 student staff members: 2 record fund managers (they sell cds and other OSUMB paraphernalia – all of the cds you see in the stores are sold by them), 3 secretaries and 1 librarian (the names speak for themselves), 3 uniform managers and 1 seamstress (all uniforms and pieces are distributed through this office and the seamstress fixes anything that rips and hems all of the pants, etc), 2 instrument managers (distribute all of the instruments and fixes broken instruments) and 2 audio/visual managers (they film all practices and performances, record everything and at the end of the year compile it all for a dvd). Of course there are the 5 directors: 1 director, 1 assistant director, 2 graduate assistants, and 1 percussion instructor. All of this goes together to keep the band running smoothly, like a well oiled machine.

Three years of my life were dedicated to this organization and met some amazing people and had wonderful experiences. Needless to say, I still try to keep up with what’s going on in marching band world. As I was facebook stalking a day or two ago and was looking through the OSUMB’s photographer’s website and realized that the squad leaders had a day-long retreat at the Ohio Union. As a part of their retreat, they had a speaker come in to talk about effective team leadership. And the guest speaker was none other than Fisher’s Tony Rucci. I think it is so cool that my undergraduate and graduate worlds have intertwined themselves. Here’s the link to all of the pictures if you want to browse through them.

For those of you who don’t know who Tony Rucci is, he is a professor in the College of Business, but not before he was an executive with 3 Fortune 100 companies. He was also fairly instrumental in the turnaround of Sears Roebuck and Co. You can also read his FCOB profile here.I really hope I’ll be able to take a course with him before I graduate. I think I’ve planned it out pretty well so that I have room to take an extra class Spring Quarter, so we’ll see how that goes.

But that’s all for now. Here’s a wedding picture, for your enjoyment. Also, congratulations to Megan Heighton (now Mueller) who got married a few weeks ago). Weddings are in the air!

First Dance

Leader(ship) Development

For our Organizational Behavior/ Leadership Development class (MBA 860), we have a very interesting article to read for tomorrow’s class. It’s called “Leader(ship) Development.” As I was reading it, I came to a few conclusions.

  • Your growth depends on what you KNOW, what you can DO, and who you ARE (the BE component). Basically, this means that it’s not all about technical skills, or about the things you are good at; it’s about your personality, your traits and what makes you a unique individual.
  • Who we are may have a bigger impact on how we lead that what we know.
  • There is a difference between Leadership Development and Leader Development. Business schools try¬† to teach Leader Development, which develops human capital. Leadership Development is learned primarily on the job – it’s about building social capital.
  • Most MBA students regret not taking time to pause and reflect as they progress through their program.

As I read this article, I found myself nodding and agreeing with many points, which makes me feel that I have come a long way on my personal journey of knowing who I am. However, I also read several things that made me uncomfortable, which makes me realize that I still have some things to work on. I’m hoping my classmates also took the time to really digest this article, as I think it’s one of the most inspiring and engaging yet. Thanks to Dr. Inks and Dr. Rucci for assigning it!