West Now: Personal Interests & Education

Western International University® (West) seeks to provide value to all members of the community who want to get to know us better--regardless of whether or not you are interested in taking courses or pursuing a degree.

The Personal Interests & Education section of West Now  features compelling articles concerning personal development, education, community engagement, and topics of general interest relevant to working adults and working adult students.

To contribute articles, please contact Hue.Haslim@west.edu

Articles by guest contributors are shared with the West community through our collaboration with various organizations. The content herein is that of the authors and does not reflect the position or opinion of Western International University (West).

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Please use the Search feature to browse our article and webinar content for key words on topics of interest to you.



By Laura Varner
Founder of AHA Strategic Partners, LLC

As you look back on 2016, do you feel satisfied with your results? Or do you stare at a familiar unorganized, disarrayed path of unfulfilled dreams?


Western International University (West) ranked third in MBA enrollment among universities who responded to the Phoenix Business Journal 2015 education survey.  The survey measured Fall 2015 enrollment among universities within metropolitan Phoenix.

Tracy Lorenz

By Tracy Lorenz, President
Western International University

The summer season is typically a great time of year to enjoy the weather, take a trip, or simply spend time with family. As we begin our new 2016-2017 academic year and prepare for our annual Commencement ceremony on September 17, it’s also a great time of year to reflect on and tell you about all that we’ve been accomplishing at West this past year to stay true to our vision and evolve with changing technology and student expectations.

JA Day 2016

West partnered with Junior Achievement of Arizona in April 2016 to present the JA Day economics curriculum at a local Tempe elementary school. West staff, faculty, students and alumni taught students in grades K-5.


Take a look at the generosity of our West community! The 727 items donated for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Back-to-School drive ensure that BGCS children will have the supplies they need throughout the school year. Many of these families would not have the resources to provide these materials for their children and thanks to you, now they do. West also assisted BGCS with their Back-to-School Shopping Day. Click the link below to view photos. Thanks to all who helped shop or donated for making a difference in a child’s life.

Back to School with Boys & Girls Clubs

Each year, volunteers from the Western International University (West) community assist Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) children with their Back To School Shopping trip. West Director of University Engagement Hue Haslim shares how lessons from this annual community engagement effort can be applied to our wider university or business environment.

Use of Social Media in Social/Behavioral Science

Dr. Jennifer Lee presents on the psychological effects of social media on relationship tie strength and personality differences.

West Scores on U.S. College Scorecard

Western International University® (West) is second in the nation for lowest Average Annual Cost among private universities, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s recently updated College Scorecard. West also compares favorably on Salary after Attending, at $50,100—50% higher than the national average of $33,400 for private universities.

Cecelia Mata, Founder & President, AllSource  Global Management, LLC

We are pleased to announce the selection of Cecilia Mata, founder and president of defense-related company AllSource Global Management LLC (AGM), as our 2016 Western International University (West) Commencement speaker. 

Gary Carlisle Before

It Can Be Done!
By Gary Carlisle, West Graduate, Class of 2009

“Changing the direction of your life can seem like a daunting task and sometimes can even be a bit scary,” says West graduate Gary Carlisle. Gary recently not only made a life-changing decision, but also committed to making that decision a reality over the course of the past year. Gary shares his story of how he did it with our readers....and just wait until you see his "after" picture!

Eat-Sleep-Dive: Repeat! douggulleson.com

Have you ever scuba dived? If not, you sure are missing out. You are not just missing the diving part of diving, but all that is part of the scuba diving experience. Go back in time about six months before you put on your wet suit, and that is when the diving journey really begins.

Being Safer in a Cyber World

The hackers are out there—what can you do to protect yourself? West alumnus and government Cyber Security Specialist Ashley Matteson discusses Internet safety and protecting your information, providing simple steps that you can take to protect your privacy. According to Ashley, "Education is the key to being safer in our cyber world."

Bring Frugal Isn't Cheap

CPA, financial expert, and author Clare Levison shares stories and strategies to challenge the way you think about money from her book, Frugal Isn't Cheap. Spend Less, Save More and Live Better.

5 Rules to Win Being YOU!

Sought-after speaker, trainer, author and media contributor Isha Cogborn gives practical advice about identifying your personal "unfair competitive advantage" and how to put it to work for you. Click here to download the presentation handout.

Yes You Can! Be Your Best: Whole Life Approach to Living and Loving Your Life

The Final Part of our 7-Part Series
Be Your Best: Whole Life Approach to Living and Loving Your Life
by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

This article includes an activity, Create Your Pyramid to Wellness and Wholeness.  Discover how to be your best!


Part 6: Yes You Can! Empowerment: Evolving Through Transition and Leaving Your Legacy

Part 6 of our 7-Part Series
Empowerment: Evolving Through Transition and Leaving Your Legacy
by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

This article includes questions to ponder regarding “What is my legacy?" Learn how to empower yourself. You are 100% in control.


Part 5: Yes You Can! Transformation: The Evolution of Lifestyle Changes

Part 5 of our 7-Part Series
Transformation: The Evolution of Wellness and Wholeness Equals Lifestyle Changes
by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

This article includes multiple activities, Be Your BEST Goal Setting Template and Action Plans. This transformation will help you connect the dots between mind, body and spirit and become your personal and physical best.


Part 4 of our 7-Part Series
Passion: Finding Your Authentic Self 

by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

This article includes the activities, Life Balance and Life Wheel. Life is a balancing act; let’s find out where you may be out of balance.

Build Relationships

Part 3 of our 7-Part Series
Community Engagement: Building Improved Relationships
by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

This article includes an activity in which you will create Your Personal Board of Directors. This article explores the importance of both networking and building relationships—and offers ideas for networking opportunities and organizations to join. You will begin to identify your support team and potential ideas for community engagement. The people around you matter!

Opening-Doors-West LRC

Part 2 of our 7-Part Series
Careers: Exploring Opportunities &
Opening Doors with Optimism

by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

Pursue your career with passion. This article includes several tools to create your Vision Statement and Vision Board.  You will learn about exploring opportunities and opening doors with optimism. You will be asking yourself, "What is my life vision?"

Yes You Can! 7 Strategies to Change Your Life Part 1

Part 1 of our 7-Part Series
Growing Up in Our Family Business: 
Building Your Foundation on Values

by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

This article includes the activities Values Exploration and Values Selectivity, which will help you identify your top values that will assist you in making all of your life decisions. You will learn how to build your foundation by being true to your values, no matter if you are making a personal or professional decision.

Yes You Can: 7 Strategies to Change Your Life

Introduction to our 7-Part Series 
by Linda Garza Kalaf, MAOM, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR

As you prepare to launch forward to achieve your personal and professional success, this series has been created to help you connect the dots to a total transformation and to assist you in reaching your authentic and full potential. Based on my workbook entitled Yes, You Can! 7 Strategies to Empower, Evolve and Transform Your Life, each article will highlight one of the seven strategies. This workbook was created for two reasons: First, to memorialize my family’s story about growing up in a tortilla factory and learning strong values at an early age. Second, to share my life lessons learned along the way, and how living a life being true to my values has led to living a life of authenticity.