Western International University | Alumni West Alumni Connection

Volume 1, Number 4  |  June 2011


West Graduation Contest
Caps flew in the air on May 14, 2011, as over 300 students from 25 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, graduated from Western International University at the annual commencement ceremony. Approximately 3,500 friends and family members cheered on the graduates who took the stage at the Phoenix Convention Center, with additional viewers watching the first-ever live online broadcast.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Alan Drimmer, past West President, and student speakers Kathryn Freeman (BA in Behavioral Science) and ArLena Richardson (MBA in Information Technology) delivered inspiring addresses to the Class of 2011, while alumnus and faculty member Dr. Lori Wieters was awarded this year's Distinguished Faculty Award.

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Congratulations also go out to our annual graduation contest winners. Graduating students who elected to walk at commencement were invited to submit essays finishing the sentence: "Because I went to West, I can..." Winners received a Flip Video® Camcorder to record their graduation experience. Watch for these videos coming soon on the West website, West Facebook page and YouTube®.

Below is a complete list of our graduation winners and what they can do now "Because They Went to West":

"Because I went to West, my educational foundation is solid."
- Kathy Morrow Weitzel, BA in Behavioral Science

"Because I went to West, dreams that were packed away decades ago have been removed from a concealed chest."
- ArLena Richardson, MBA

"Because I went to West, I can dare to dream big and pursue my dreams."
- Aditya Vikram Toteja, BS in Informatics

"West allowed me to be me; it allowed me to enjoy school again and love going to class.
- Cameron Keegan, BS in Information Technology

"My skills and abilities have improved in several ways and because I went to West.
 - Theresa Richardson, BA in HR Management

"Because I went to West, I can hold my head a little higher around my colleagues."
- Jacqueline Mattinen, BS in Business

"Because I went to West, I can proudly call myself a college graduate."
- Neil Bailey, BA in Behavioral Science

"I went to West because they have an excellent program that fit my needs and busy schedule."
- Maura Reyes, MPA


West Career Coaching
Great news! Our popular Career Coaching Services for students are now available to all West alumni. You can use these services to gain knowledge, insights and a competitive edge in today's job market. Start by working with a nationally certified Career Coach who can provide:

  • A one-on-one career planning and guidance session
  • Targeted career resources and strategies
  • Resume and interview skills assistance

All Career Coaching services are complimentary for West alumni as part of your West Alumni Connection benefits. To get started, login to west.edu/alumni and click on Fast Track Career Tools. While you're there, check out OptimalResumeSM, the gold standard in online resume technology, and careerbuilder.com®, where you can post your resume, search nationwide job postings, and much more.


Laura Lee
Stop by our next alumni seminar — or join us online — and hear Dr. Lori Wieters lead an insightful discussion about entrepreneurship, its unique challenges, and steps you can take to launch a successful business.

Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Time: 5:00-6:00 p.m. (MST)
Place: 9215 North Black Canyon Highway
Room 206
Phoenix, Arizona
Online: http://connectpro76738744.adobeconnect.com/r20497658
Presenter: Dr. Lori Wieters, Senior Associate at the Predictive Group; founder of Purposeful Consulting and Triumphant Women; West Alumnus; Western International University Professor and recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Faculty Award
Register Now: laura.lee@west.edu

Dr. Wieters earned her MBA in Management at West before getting her Ph.D. in Marketing. She has successfully launched multiple businesses and led leadership programs at companies like TriWest Healthcare Alliance and American Express. At our event on June 22, Dr. Wieters will share many valuable entrepreneurial tips and insights.

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How has your experience at West helped you reach your goals?
West gave me the confidence to become a consultant as well as a professor. I made the decision to teach at West to give back some of what they gave to me.

What entrepreneurial experiences have you had?
I have been an entrepreneur my whole life! Even when I was working inside an organization, I always had a side business. I am currently the owner of Triumphant Women, which works to connect Triumphant Women around the globe. I also own Purposeful Leadership Consulting, which focuses on coaching and mentoring individuals, as well as helping organizations achieve effectiveness through employee-focused initiatives.

What do you plan on covering at the June 22 event?
I want to go over some dos and don'ts of being an entrepreneur and set real expectations of small business ownership. I also want people to understand the kinds of questions they should be asking themselves, like "Can I work for myself?" and "What areas do I need to work on?" Finally, I want to help people start a plan for "making the leap" and provide them with a list of valuable resources.

What important advice do you have for an up-and-coming entrepreneur?
Start small. That way you can address challenges more easily and see if you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Starting small allows you to continue working while setting up your new business at night, on your days off, or on the weekends.


West Community Blog
Have you checked out the new West Community Blog?

It features students, faculty and alumni all contributing their ideas and addressing different topics, from current events to happenings in the classroom. You can read their perspectives, join the conversation, and help us build an online community that demonstrates why people choose to Go West!

You can find the blog from the top links of any west.edu web page, the my.west.edu home page, or by typing blog.west.edu into your browser.

If you are interested in becoming a blog contributor, contact Laura Lee, Career/Alumni Services Manager, at laura.lee@west.edu or 602-429-1110.


Robert Savard
Law Firm Administrator
Lang Baker & Klain, PLC
Scottsdale, AZ

Robert Savard enlisted in the armed forces after graduating from high school. When he retired from the Navy, he was faced with a dilemma: he wanted to go back to school, but he also needed to work full time. He managed to do both and earned his bachelor degree in 2006. He was happy to finally get his degree, but felt like it still wasn't enough. So he enrolled in West's MBA program and found that it gave him a real competitive edge in the job market.

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What did you enjoy most about your West experience?
I enjoyed participating in class discussions and listening to the perspectives of fellow students and the professors. These discussions gave context to the studies and provided disparate, but valid viewpoints. On some occasions, the discussions were so illuminating that I was obliged to reconsider a long-held opinion.

What were the benefits to you of getting your MBA?
Earning an MBA was a journey characterized by hard work, frustration, dedication and, ultimately, a sense of accomplishment. The journey, information gained, and lessons learned along the way were their own reward. That said, having an MBA following your surname carries weight and is a synonym for "professional."

What are your current job and responsibilities?
I am currently employed as a law firm administrator in Scottsdale, Arizona. My role focuses on the business of law so the attorneys can focus on practicing law. As I run the firm, the education received from West enables me to engage and succeed with the numerous challenges faced each day.

How did your West education help you get your current job?
The majority of my law firm administrator peers hold bachelor degrees or less. Earning an MBA at West enhanced my competitiveness as it differentiated me from my colleagues.


Christine DiMare
Principal Clerk
Town of Hudson Assessors Office
Hudson, MA

With a job and four children, Christine DiMare has her hands full. Yet despite her busy life, she was determined to get her associate degree and enrolled at West in 2004. While earning her Associate of Arts in Business degree was a personal goal, she also wanted to show her children that an education was something to strive for. Christine is currently working on her bachelor degree at West with an eye towards a master program. How does she do it?

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How did West help you in your career?
My studies helped me with critical thinking, time management, research, and planning. These are all skills that I need to do my job well.

What is your greatest West accomplishment to date?
Getting my associate degree from West. I took my family to Phoenix, and they saw me walk across the stage to get my diploma. It was an achievement I never thought I would accomplish. I only wish my dad could have been there. He was a school teacher, and education was important to him.

What was the greatest challenge you faced while at West?
My daughter was deployed to Bahrain for 18 months, and I had to care for her 9-month-old child. Sometimes I felt like I needed to be Superwoman, but I found the time to do it all.

Do you have any future plans for your career or education?
I plan on staying in my current job as Principal Clerk at my town's Assessors Office. They have been very supportive of my schooling and even gave me an unexpected raise after I got my degree. As for future plans for my education, I'd like to pursue a master degree after I get my bachelor degree, while supporting my husband in his own plans to return to the classroom!


West University Marketplace
Check out the hot travel & entertainment deals at our University Marketplace website. Save on everything from cruises to concerts, theme parks to sporting events. It's just one of the perks of being a West alumnus. To check out all the summer savings, login to west.edu/alumni, select University Marketplace, and then click on Travel & Entertainment.


Work Life Balance
Is your work taking you away from other important aspects of your life, like your hobbies, family and friends? All those long hours in the office can throw your life out of balance, cause stress, and negatively affect your health and well-being. Follow these tips to help create the perfect work/life balance for you.
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Negotiate a change at work.
Many employers are willing to work with their employees to come up with flexible schedules. Talk with your boss or HR department about possibilities like flextime, job sharing, telecommuting or part-time employment.

Consider a new career.
Some careers are inherently more stressful and time consuming. If you don't see your workload ever lightening up, you may want to consider a new career. You could even start your own business, so you're in total control of your schedule.

Ask for help.
It's natural to want to do everything yourself, but resist the temptation and reach out to others for help. Whether it's getting a coworker to help you with a presentation or a family member to take over a few chores, letting go of some of your responsibilities will free you up to do other things.

Slow it down.
Many of us pack in as much as we can into each day. It's better to stop and enjoy the things and people around you. Schedule more time between meetings and don't make too many plans for your nights and weekends. Give yourself plenty of downtime where you're completely unplugged and relaxed. Doing this will help keep your stress down and your spirits up.

*SOURCE: Hansen, R. 10 Tips for Getting Your Work/Life in Balance. Quintessential CareersTM, quintcareers. Retrieved June 6, 2011 from quintcareers.


West Networking Event
Our February networking event was a real success. Guest speaker and West alumnus Carlos Rodriguez led a lively discussion about the best ways to network and how it's not all about what people can do for you, but also what you can do for them. Said one attendee: "Carlos brought up a lot of good points that those of us in today's job market can really benefit from!"
Graduates and Winners
Career Coaching
Entrepreneurial Event
Blog With Us
Alumni Spotlight - Savard
Alumni Spotlight - DiMare
Work-Life Balance
Networking Seminar
Get Some Face Time on Facebook®

Connect with the West Community through Facebook. Post comments, photos or videos, and read about upcoming events, alumni benefits, school news, and more. More than 1000 people "like" West's Facebook page. You will, too!

Check it out.

Make the Connection

Leverage your status as a West alumnus by joining the West Alumni Connection. It's free and offers many benefits, including career tools, networking opportunities, seminars, and special discounts.

Sign up today.

Put it Out There

Got a job opening at your company? Post it on the West job board for alumni employers. To get started, go to west.edu/alumni. If you're not an employer but know of a job opening, you can register on behalf of your employer and post the job for them.

Register now.

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