The 30-Year Legacy
23 UND CoBPA alumnae & former Hultberg Lectureship Series speakers return for year 30 of the legacy event.
When University of North Dakota College of Business & Public Administration (UND CoBPA) Dept. of Accountancy alumna and Partner at TechCalibur Consulting in Washington D.C., Theresa Knutson first started her career, she hid her North Dakota roots. “I was thinking it wouldn’t compete with Ivy League status or other countries from around the world. But what I’ve found is that it’s unique, different and good,” said Knutson. “North Dakota’s greatest export isn’t oil, it’s the people.”
Sales Manager for KapStone Container and UND CoBPA Dept. of Marketing alumna, Cathy Eagan-Spicer agrees the people are what make UND great. “I love UND, it’s a small, big place. We have lots of resources here. Anyone that you ask, whether it’s a professor or a department, they’re just willing to help you; they want to see you succeed. So it’s really fun to come back here and be a part of that,” said Eagan-Spicer.
Eagan-Spicer and Knutson are just two of 23 women who came back to celebrate 30 years of the UND CoBPA’s Hultberg Lectureship Series event on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. All 23 women had spoken at the event in years past. “I was fortunate enough to be on the lecture team in 2005,” said UND CoBPA Dept. of Accountancy alumna and current Lead of Customer Experience at Quest Diagnostics in New Jersey, Laure Park. “I had a great time and thought it would be a great time to come back and see the students talk to them about the experiences I’ve had,” she added.
The Hultberg Lectureship Series started 30 years ago, established through the UND Foundation with a leading gift from 1928 UND graduate Clara E. Hultberg, who wanted to demonstrate the professional opportunities available for business students. The lectureship was created in memory of Hultberg’s parents, Hans and Suzanne.
This year, the UND CoBPA kicked off the event on the night of Monday, April 3 with a social sponsored by Northwestern Mutual and Managing Director of Northwestern Mutual, Grand Forks, Carmen Fore. On Tuesday, April 4, the women started their day with student breakout sessions led by the CoBPA’s Pancratz Career Development Center. This was an opportunity for our alumnae to join current CoBPA students as they explored the topics of mentoring, career development and networking.
“It was great opportunity to network with some wonderful women,” said UND CoBPA Dept. of Marketing & Dept. of Management alumna and former Owner of Valley Dairy convenience stories, Monica Musich. “I was able to share the experiences I’ve had with the students. Hopefully something resonated with them and they’ll take it and use it."
“We talked a lot today about networking,” said UND CoBPA alumna and former Deputy Director for Driver and Vehicle Services for the State of North Dakota Department of Transportation, Linda Butts. “You can start networking in college or even high school. So if you’re sitting in your dorm watching TV, get out of your dorm and join and organization and start building networking opportunities that way. When you get into the job market, volunteer for things at work, show up, be the go-to person. You need to continue to build that network until one day you have a network not only for yourself, but one you can give back to others,” she added.
Give back to others like the women who came back for the Hultberg and shared their stories with UND students.
Before attending the keynote with UND CoBPA alumna and President/ CEO of Bremer Financial Corporation, Jeanne Crain, the 23 women went to speak in various CoBPA classes. The women shared their thoughts, advice and insight on what it’s like to make your way through the professional world.
Two common themes among the classroom presentations were to hold true to your values and to enjoy the professional journey.
“What I hope the students took away from the classroom discussions is that where you start isn’t where you end,” said Knutson. “I started in public accounting— a great place to start— but it really opened up a lot of other doors."
“Integrity is huge, and people recognize that. Just be yourself,” said Eagan-Spicer.
“I think it’s about the journey, not the destination,” said Knutson. “When you’re 20 it’s hard to say okay I’m listening to all of these successful women do all this, how do I get there? You don’t jump there, you go along a path; And what I think is important for people to know is that the path is supposed to be fun and you can’t just wait to be happy until you’ve gotten to that. You need to have fun along the way or it’s not worth it. You more than likely aren’t going to go from a 20-year-old grad to a multi-millionaire. There’s a path, and you have to engage on the path along the way and be happy,” she added.
Much like the 23 women who shared time and talent with UND students. Though this year’s event has come to a close, the women say they are optimistic about the impact of the event in years to come.
“I’m retired now, so I’m at this phase of my life where I want to give back. This is such a wonderful program. As far as letting students have an eye on the possibilities and the future. And then also the lessons learned—some the hard way and some not so hard. It’s just an opportunity to give back,” said Butts.
In the words of Musich the Hultberg Lectureship Series event gives UND students, “great advice from a woman’s prospective.”