ORANGE PARK – Laura Pavlus is enrolled in the Bachelor Of Applied Science In Organizational Management at St. Johns River State College. She is a Senior Vice President for the Clay County Economic …
ORANGE PARK – Laura Pavlus is enrolled in the Bachelor Of Applied Science In Organizational Management at St. Johns River State College. She is a Senior Vice President for the Clay County Economic Development Corporation.
She took time from her busy schedule to talk about her academic career and future goals.
What inspired you to pursue your Bachelor’s Degree?
As a military spouse for 16 years, we were never in one location long enough for me to finish my bachelor’s degree. (This was before online learning options were so prevalent.) It was a huge frustration, but my priority was to support my spouse’s career first and foremost. When I started working in Florida, I quickly understood the necessity of finishing my degree to be competitive in the local market. Add to that, my boss at the time had just finished his through SJR State and I was inspired by his success.
Finally, I made a promise to myself that if there was an area of my life that made me insecure, I would handle it instead of trying to just cope with the insecurity. My career was getting to this point where people would casually ask where I had finished my degree, just to make conversation, and I would always feel the need to explain why I didn’t have my bachelor’s completed. I was sick of giving the explanation and feeling insecure that I hadn’t finished.
Why did you choose SJR State?
I had met Dr. Karen Balcanoff in my Toastmasters Club, and she made it so easy to get started. She was so sweet and encouraging. She made it seem so obtainable.
How will the Bachelor’s Degree help your career?
I like to say that college degrees are like doorways, not ladders. I had reached a point in my career where I was hitting a glass ceiling without a degree. This degree has made it possible for my career to advance and I am looking forward to the next challenge.
What do you like most about the Bachelor’s Degree program?
As a professional with 28 years of career experience, the majority of the content was familiar to me. However, there were a lot of concepts that I intuitively understood that the program defined for me and helped me better understand the ‘why.’ It brought my experience full circle.
What has been one of your biggest challenges?
My biggest obstacle has been balancing my career with my parenting responsibilities. I have no social life and have been very boring for a few years now.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned about yourself?
That I have wicked bad ADHD and hate writing papers. I pretty much knew that, but the program confirmed my hypothesis. I also learned a lot about my leadership capabilities and shortfalls. We are never done growing and developing. Leadership is tough and we can all benefit from guidance and retooling. I am excited to implement the concepts and structures that I have learned in this program.
What advice would you give to those considering the program?
Do it. You will never regret investing in yourself. Also, I did not anticipate the example that I would be setting for my three young boys. They watched my focus and dedication and the dynamic in our household changed. There was a new camaraderie that developed and we all stopped complaining about having to do homework.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I would like to work in the project management or operations management side of the aerospace industry. I am also interested in working as a site selector to understand the other side of economic development and round out my capacities in the field.
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