Kelli-Anne is my bestie and one of the SMARTEST women I know. The girl is always learning! I absolutely love her thoughts on continuing education (she's about to graduate with her masters!) and that it doesn't have to be through formal education, but by being curious about the world around us.
She recently accepted a job offer with the Army to design their instructional and training programs. How amazing is that?!!
Tell us a little about yourself and your career
I’m in my final semester in graduate school pursuing a masters in instructional systems and learning technologies. Fun fact: practically every time I tell someone my major they just nod in confusion because they have no idea what I’m studying. Basically, I’m the person your company hires to improve performance or to create more effective instructional practices. Prior to grad school I taught kiddos for three years and loved it. When I’m not doing schoolwork, you can find me going on adventures with my dog or playing sports.
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
The higher education world is beyond supportive when it comes to women. My women professors have become some of my biggest role models. These women are not only professors, but mothers, editors of major education journals, and go-getters who consistently bring in millions of dollars of research funds annually.
A conversation I will never forget was when I asked one of my professors how she does it all. She replied, “Lots of coffee and the fact that I have to work ten times harder than my male coworkers because women are still being overlooked to men even when we have the same credentials. I remember the first meeting my department had when I became a professor. When I walked in a male colleague asked me to go get everyone coffee and I bluntly said no. That was gutsy of me, but I didn’t want to be treated like that. I didn’t just spend four years to get a PhD to become the coffee girl!”
Why is education so important to you, and why should it be important to all women?
Education is paramount for women and it doesn’t have to be viewed as formal like a college education. A quote I love from Nelson Mandela is "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” As women, we need to educate ourselves in a variety of ways and in topics that interest us. Read a book, listen to podcasts, attend workshops; just find ways to continually learn.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
SLOW DOWN. In high school I was so determined to graduate with not just my high school diploma, but also my A.A. degree (which I did). Do I regret it? Yes, and no. Doing so forced my 18-year-old self to decide what I wanted to pursue a degree in and ultimately a career in before I started college because they make you declare a major when you’re a junior in college. So…I decided to pursue a career as a teacher.
I thought, “Well I want to make a difference in the lives of future generations and I also want a career that I can have as a mom.” That’s what I regret most... that I pigeonholed myself by thinking that a teacher was the best career for moms and that pursuing any other career wouldn't allow me to to do both. Don’t get me wrong I think being a mom is a noble and difficult profession -- yes profession -- but I just wish I knew then that you can pursue a career in any field you want and also be a mom!
What is your career-related mantra?
I love this Tina Fey quote; "Say yes, you'll figure it out later."