Shantel is a graduate of the Foundry College Tulsa program and earned a certificate in Project Management.
How long have you lived in Tulsa?
I’ve been in Tulsa since January of 1996. My husband got a job here, so we made the move to Tulsa from New Orleans, LA.
What has been your professional journey in Tulsa?
I worked for many years at the Bank of America in Tulsa. I started as a part-time teller and worked my way up to Assistant Vice President, ending my career at BOA as a trainer. Unfortunately, my husband passed away and I thought about leaving the workforce. However, they came to me with a position they created for me where I would be doing training. It was great, but they eliminated those positions franchise-wide after one year. That’s when I made the decision to be a stay-at-home parent, which also allowed me the opportunity to do volunteer work.
What was your motivation for earning your credentialed certificate?
I was volunteering for a non-profit organization. One day, we were talking about activities, spearheading the constructive planning of the activities and such. We were working with a company that was willing to help with grants, but you had to be a project manager to even apply. I knew our organization couldn’t afford to pay for a project manager, so I started looking for different things and happened to see an ad for the Foundry College Tulsa program.
Tell us about your Foundry College experience.
Of course I was fearful, mostly because I had been out of school for a very long time. And I was hesitant because I had never experienced going to school online. I was determined, both for myself and as a role model for my kids, that I was going to do this.
My experience at Foundry was so phenomenal. I specifically recall one evening in class thinking that if I would have had the skill set and the tools that were being given to me at that moment, I probably would not have left my career at Bank of America. I had gotten to a point where I didn’t know if I could tackle things they were asking me to, but I realized that with what I was learning at Foundry, I would have the skills to move forward. Foundry sets a high standard of skill sets and tools to be successful in your career and as a leader. When you have great leadership skills, like the instructors at Foundry who were great leaders for us, you recognize that every encounter with every person is going to be a different one. The entire Foundry experience was so enlightening because of the skill set that I achieved.
With your extensive professional background, do you feel that you still found great value in the professional skills courses?
Absolutely I did. Even though we may understand processes, sometimes we don’t understand how we got to the processes. That is an important thing that the skills I learned at Foundry really helped me with. Being able to understand that insight has given me a level of confidence in myself that I’d not experienced before. I can have comfortable conversations with C-suite executives and administrators. With the skills that I accomplished through Foundry, I can honestly say that I can do anything, work anywhere, and work with anyone. I truly feel that way.If you are interested in filling up your toolbox with useful skills and knowledge, whether in a current job or a future one, this program is for you. Making the time commitment to the program pays off in the long run as you improve your skills and become more productive.
As an example, there was an incident at my current position involving diversity and inclusion. I asked questions about some terminology that we had learned in my classes. Many of the people here had not used that terminology, or really even knew what it was. It made me take a step back to think, and I quickly realized I needed to have a conversation with my direct manager. I asked about training and implemented that skill set for our staff. The result? Two weeks later, everyone had a training in diversity and inclusion. We don’t always realize how much power we have in our voice. The more you know, the more empowered you become. No matter your job, you are going to use the knowledge you gain at Foundry.
What are your career goals, and how will your certificate help you achieve those goals?
Even though I currently have a lot of family commitments that have made me pause for a short time, I am planning to achieve my CompTIA Project+ certification. Right now, I’m preparing myself for the next steps in gaining more experience in project management. I’d like to stay in the healthcare field in a leadership role.
What has been your favorite part of the program?
I was thrilled to see the process of teaching adults basic communication skills. This is superb, on point, and definitely what people need when working in a professional environment. Every single person should take this course.
Can you share any advice on how to manage your time between work, school, and life?
The most important tool for me was simply a calendar. I used the time slots to schedule everything, including paying the bills. Find the tool that helps you utilize your organizational skills to balance your day.
What would you say to someone who is considering the Foundry program?
Do it. Do it. Do it. Anyone can learn from the Foundry skill set that is taught. Anybody can learn. When you put yourself in a position where you know that you’re capable of doing a job and you understand the basic concepts, you can manage even more complicated situations because of the skill set and tools learned in the Foundry program.
Interview conducted by Karen Adams, Chief Marketing Officer at Foundry College. To nominate someone for the Foundry College Student Spotlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.