Our first EMBA Elite student spotlight for 2014 is Kathi Dawn, a member of UA’s Huntsville EMBA class of 2014. Kathi received a Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology from the University of South Florida in Tampa and has been working for Genesis Healthcare as an assistant administrator at River City Center in Decatur, Alabama for the past year and half.
“I absolutely love it,” Kathi said. “A month into the EMBA program, Dana (Briley) Runager, another MBA classmate, and I were discussing being busy at work because we were both doing two jobs. After inquiring more, I learned that she was looking to hire an assistant administrator. One month later, I had toured the building, had an interview, and was hired. I ended my seven-year public health career to accept a position in healthcare management, and since then have completed a 1,000-hour administrator-in-training-program and acquired my Alabama Nursing Home Administrator license.”
Kathi says her purpose for pursuing her MBA degree was to find a new career with room for vertical growth. “Joining the EMBA program is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and has had a powerful impact on my career,” she said. “The biggest benefit I have received is my career change, and therefore my ROI. I loved my career in public health, but at the end of the day, there wasn’t much room for growth.”
Kathi is engaged to her fiancé, Kevin, and together they have a 3-year-old son, Kameron. According to Kathi, a supportive family is crucial to being successful in the EMBA program.
“Balancing work, home life and school definitely has its challenges,” she said. “To help manage the balance, I try to get as much work done for the next class session as soon as we finish up with the current weekend of class. That way I don’t have to worry about what comes up during the week at work or home.”
Kathi believes that success is in the eye of the beholder. “I feel it’s important to note that success truly is one’s own idea of possibilities, and it is within that framework that we either declare success or failure.” She says that for her, it’s the idea of success that drives hard work, creativity and perseverance.
“I believe Orison Swett Marden had it right: ‘Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.'”
Kathi’s immediate goal upon graduation from the EMBA program is to advance within the Genesis Healthcare system as an administrator. Her favorite inspirational quote is one from Elizabeth Edwards, lawyer, author and wife of 2008 Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John Edwards, just days before she passed away from breast cancer in 2010.
“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”