Goal by goal

Goal by goal


Justin Dyson ’15 is ready for new managerial role & entrepreneurial challenges

Communication is the key to most problem solving. Justin Dyson ’15 learned the value of gaining strong communication skills while earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Bryan School of Business and Economics. He just recently graduated, but already it’s paid off.

“The finance knowledge has been extremely important,” Justin says. “I communicate much more effectively with our chief financial officer because of concepts I learned. I’m not an accountant, but the CFO and I speak the same language now.”

Coursework in statistics enabled Justin to analyze data more effectively and then create sophisticated reports that explain the information to colleagues in an easily understandable way. “The management information I’ve learned has been very helpful in learning to deal with difficult employees and knowing how to motivate them more effectively,” he adds. “At the same time, my professional writing has improved. I know what data my colleagues need to see and how best to present it.”

Justin is a striver—the kind of guy who sets goals for himself, meets those goals and then sets even higher ones. Armed with his degree, Justin now is poised to reach his next targets: taking on a director-level role in facilities management or operations and, in his spare time, launching an entrepreneurial venture

Bryan School Graduate Justin DysonJustin, who is assistant director of facilities for Davie County Schools in Mocksville, North Carolina, started out splitting his time between completing general maintenance work and delivering food to various cafeterias in that same school system. Justin wanted more for himself and his family (he and his wife, Heather, have one young son and another child on the way) so he went to community college to learn air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology and then he earned an electrical contracting license. Next up was an associate’s degree in business administration through an applied science degree program.

“I like to have milestones along the way. So, the first goal was the associate’s degree and then the bachelor’s degree,” Justin says. When deciding where to earn that bachelor’s, he wanted a school that offered flexibility and, always thinking ahead to next steps in his career, one that was both academically rigorous and nationally recognized. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro was an ideal fit.

Justin’s job in facilities management already had given him experience supervising a staff, planning/managing projects and budgeting/purchasing for ongoing operations and capital projects. He looked to UNCG to give him a broad ability to problem solve and, specifically, to build his finance and management skills. The Bryan School, he says, delivered.

Bachelor’s degree in hand, Justin now is ready to move up the next rung of the ladder and hopes to do so quickly. Of course, he has other goals, as well. Already a lifelong learner who was inducted into the Bryan School’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma for his academic achievement, Justin says he is likely to return to school once again to earn an MBA, but right now he is considering a more entrepreneurial venture. For several years, he has helped his father, a master beekeeper, operate a commercial honeybee business that sells bees to hobbyist beekeepers, building a reputation for the education, support and service it provides to customers.

“I’ve learned in school you have to add value to your product and we add value in order to differentiate ourselves from the competition. This is how we’ve been successful,” Justin says. “I’ve helped my dad expand that business over the past four years, and I’m considering my options, whether to form a partnership with his business or start my own venture.”


Article by Julie Palm

Photographs by Mynda Bullock


Dream Deferred No More

Dream Deferred No More

Bryan School Graduate Leigh Donadieu

Twenty years ago, Leigh Donadieu ’15 postponed her dream of a business degree. At the Bryan School, she brought that dream home.

The first time Leigh Donadieu ’15 set out to earn a bachelor’s degree, her plans were derailed. She was well into a bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University when congenital spine defects led to a series of reconstructive surgeries—and a tough decision to leave school.

With an associate’s degree in hand and a bachelor’s degree deferred, Leigh never lost her desire to complete her formal education. For two decades, she’s enjoyed a successful career, holding key sales and marketing positions for category-leading consumer brands, media enterprises and retailers. Still, Leigh was eager to take on the next great professional opportunity that presented itself. She had a nagging feeling, however, that some of the most ideal positions might be out of reach because she lacked a bachelor’s degree.

“The reality is that in today’s business environment—coming out of the recession with a still-struggling economy and the sheer size of the available talent pool—it’s more important than ever for any professional to have the strength, power and validity of a strong degree from a respected educational institution behind them,” she says.

In 2009, she enrolled in an online-only institution, though says she decided quickly that “it was not the best investment for my education and career in the long run.”

Bryan School Graduate Leigh DonadieuWhen a promotion at Electrolux came with a relocation to Charlotte in 2012, Leigh was introduced to the University of North Carolina system and began making plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration—finally.

“I briefly looked into other schools in the UNC system, but I chose to apply only to UNCG based on what I’d learned about the strength of the reputation of the school and its programs. After the 12 months required for residency in North Carolina (almost to the day, in fact!), I applied to UNCG so I could continue the pursuit of my dream to finish my degree at a highly regarded institution,” she says.

For professionals like Leigh who return to school full time, the ability to find creative, effective ways to meet new challenges—a central mission of the Bryan School—is honed not just through specific courses, but via the educational process itself.

“Because of my schedule and other commitments, the entire process of earning my degree at the Bryan School has been the ultimate problem-solving task,” Leigh says. “Many of my friends and colleagues ask, ‘How can you go work and go to school?’ My life is a prime example of solving problems every day to meet my overall goals. I admit it’s been tiring, stressful and difficult sometimes, but knowing how this degree will benefit me always put the wind in my sails.”

Driven and ambitious, Leigh is now a senior account manager of buying groups for Electrolux Major Appliances in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her Bryan School education has had timely, practical applications in countless ways.

“Every day, my job is to sell appliances to my customers and then help them market and sell those appliances so they can achieve greater profitability. It’s very sales and marketing oriented,” she says. “My Bryan School coursework has given me a greater depth of knowledge in finance, forecast planning, organization behavior—concepts large and small—that help me interact more effectively with my customers and even more so with my internal colleagues cross-functionally.”

Earning her bachelor’s degree is more than a dream realized; it is a tremendous boost for Leigh as she positions herself both for promotion and for making meaningful contributions through her career.


Article by Julie A. Palm

Photographs by Mynda Bullock


I love those Eureka moments

I love those Eureka moments

Lisa McHenry

When Lisa McHenry ’97 and her co-workers were laid off from their jobs at a church conference center in 2007 following a change in the facility’s ownership, Lisa knew she wanted to find another job that would allow her to make a difference in people’s lives. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she thought, would be perfect. “I became who I am here,” says Lisa, who earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a minor in communications from the university. “I liked the idea of working with students and being able to give back.”

UNCG did not have an opening that was right for her at the time, so Lisa went to work at a law firm, still keeping her eye on UNCG’s job listings. Less than a year later, Lisa saw an opening that seemed ideal: The Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS) sought an administrative support associate. It has, indeed, turned out to be a perfect fit: This year, Lisa was honored with the Bryan School Staff Excellence Award.

In her role, Lisa has a broad array of marketing and communications responsibilities that include everything from keeping the department’s website and social media sites up to date to creating promotional materials. She also serves as the department’s graduate secretary, providing program, policy and procedural information to students and prospective students; processing graduate program application materials; and providing customer service to visitors and callers. Ever-curious, Lisa is eager to learn new ways of doing her job better, whether that means going back to school to earn a certificate in web design or combing through the latest Campus Weekly to discover other UNCG programs and services that could benefit CARS students. “I’m always striving to learn new things,” she says. “I love solving puzzles and finding solutions to problems—those ‘Eureka!’ moments. The days filled with ‘Eureka!’ moments are the best.”

Working with talented, driven CARS students is a particular joy for Lisa. “Many of these students are following a dream. They are passionate about what they’re doing,” she says. “It’s exciting to watch them grow as they develop their skills, both creatively and in terms of their business acumen.”

On a typical day—particularly during the fall semester—a large chunk of Lisa’s time is devoted to helping a steady stream of those students with questions and problems both large and small. One student might need a Band-Aid after cutting a hand in the design lab; the next might need advice about taking a short leave of absence after a death in the family.

“I spend much of my day problem solving for students,” Lisa says. “In college, they are encountering many things on their own for the first time. They don’t always know where to go or what to do if they have a problem. I remember how that feels as a student. My goal is to empower them to learn to handle things themselves. I may point them in the right direction or walk them through a process. I try to be an advocate, while helping them learn to navigate on their own.”

In nominating Lisa for the excellence award, Rachel Wilson ’15, then-president of the student-run CARS organization THREADS, highlighted Lisa’s skills at gently helping students develop their own problem-solving abilities: “I first met Lisa about three years ago under unfortunate circumstances. I was trying to register for classes and it was so confusing that I’d done it wrong. With no clue how to get my classes correct and having just been told I would be at UNCG for an additional year, I went outside, sat down and cried. I cried for a while before (Lisa) sat down next to me and asked me what was wrong, not even knowing I was a CARS student. Lisa took me to the CARS office and personally helped me get my classes sorted out and assured me that I was not a failure, that I just needed a little help. That is the sort of thing that Lisa does every day. Not because she has to, but because she has such a big heart.”

By Julie A. Palm

Photo by Martin Kane, UNCG Photographer

Bryan MBA program ranks No. 13 by Bloomberg Businessweek

Bryan MBA program ranks No. 13 by Bloomberg Businessweek

Bryan MBA ranked #13 in nation

The UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics’ evening MBA program has vaulted to No. 13 in the nation in newly released rankings of the best part-time MBA programs by Bloomberg Businessweek.

I could not be more pleased with this fantastic improvement in our ranking. Our faculty and staff have worked hard to improve our program and make it relevant to both students and employers.  Our focus on producing exceptional problem solvers who understand innovation, globalization, sustainability and ethics is resonating with students and employers.

said Bryan School Dean McRae C. Banks.

To have the fourth best MBA among public universities — eclipsed only by Berkeley, UCLA and Michigan — is a tremendous accomplishment that reinforces the high quality of what we are doing at UNCG.

Read more at UNCGNow

Towards new beginnings

Towards new beginnings

Jeremy Bray New Beginnings

Dr. Jeremy Bray takes over as the new head of the Department of Economics at Bryan School of Business and Economics.

UNCG alumnus and adjunct professor Dr. Jeremy Bray was recently appointed as the head of Economics department. He was earlier a Senior Fellow in Health Economics at RTI International. Jeremy is a renowned name in research on economics of substance abuse, mental health issues and behavioral health interventions.

With this appointment, life has come to a full circle for Jeremy.

It feels like coming home. But it is also the next phase of my career. Research and academics are really connected.

Jeremy is aware of the strangeness of it all, being the department head with a department full of people who taught him the basics of economics.

I have been so interactive with them post my Master’s program that they’ve really become my colleagues and friends. Having them here and wanting me to succeed, I know they are supporting me. In that sense, it is very comforting.

For his success, Jeremy credits Dr. Stuart Allen, the previous head of Economics department.

Stu was my thesis advisor. He is also the reason why I am an economist. I have great fondness for him and big shoes to fit in.

The Economics department took a big vote of confidence in Jeremy’s vision and ability to guide them towards the future.

This is a great department and has tremendous potential to be even greater. I am excited and honored to be a part of it.

Jeremy has taught at Duke University and at UNCG for the last few years. He is also an adjunct faculty member at University College, Dublin. In his 21 years at RTI, he managed scientists and researchers and oversaw important studies that have had health policy implications. By heading the Economics department now, he would be simply branching out, he says.

My learning curve will be the academic systems and the course planning and accreditation standards and making sure I have the right faculty teaching the right courses in the right time slots and meeting the main considerations of the Bryan School.

According to him, the Economics department has an important role to play in the broader business school curriculum.

We’ve got to make sure that we are delivering the right content and getting students to be where they need to be – for accounting to finance. I think we need to stay focused on training the work force; and prepare them for new jobs.

With technology and globalization driving the economics of the world, it is imperative that the economics courses taught at UNCG give the students the opportunity to look at the subject with a broader perspective.

All they need now is a laptop and Starbucks.  And they can work for companies in U.K, China, Brazil… It’s about knowing how to teach themselves new skills. Our economics program gives the students skill sets that can be used in different areas and transcends borders.

Jeremy is currently focusing on increasing the recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students.  The PhD program is yet another prominent area that he wants to work on.

We are a PhD level program. There is a different set of expectations and we need to strive for it. We need to make the people aware and work on maintaining that and growing our research presence.

Jeremy’s long term plan includes building connections nationally and internationally with the right universities; developing exchange programs; and attracting students across the other disciplines for higher level studies in the economics program.  He wants the Economics department at Bryan School of Business and Economics to be recognized as a leading program across the country.

We are shaking up things a little bit, but in the long run, it will be good for the department.

By Aparna Das, Contributor
Photography by Bert VanderVeen


UNCG’s sustainable tourism program first of its kind

UNCG’s sustainable tourism program first of its kind

First of its Kind

UNCG’s Bryan School of Business and Economics is launching a new, progressive program in sustainable tourism and hospitality this fall, which is the first of its kind in the nation.  The new curriculum features a fundamental shift in the program’s mission, a dozen new courses and a holistic integration of sustainability principles.

The potential impact is significant for the industry. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, 983 million people traveled in 2011, representing more than $1 trillion (US) in global tourism receipts and making travel one of the largest contributors to the world economy. The tourism and hospitality sectors employ more than 200 million people worldwide — one in every nine workers — and account for more than 10 percent of all consumer spending.

See more at: UNCG Now
Dream Team

Dream Team


This story features a unique partnership between the Bryan School, Greensboro’s Interactive Resource Center and two retired businessmen who teamed up to help those struggling with homelessness by fostering their entrepreneurial dreams. Each semester, students in Dr. Channelle James’ social entrepreneurship class work in small groups to help homeless entrepreneurs define a market, create business plans, set pricing and develop marketing collateral such as business cards and web sites. Then the students and entrepreneurs present their work to a team that decides whether to back the plans with small loans – generally $150 to $300. The entrepreneurs are expected to set up a payment plan to repay the loans. The entrepreneurs get a boost, and, as we discovered, the students get even more.

Read More at UNCG’s News & Features site

Consumer, Apparel & Retail Studies ranked among top fashion programs

Consumer, Apparel & Retail Studies ranked among top fashion programs


The Bryan School of Business & Economics department Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies (CARS) has been ranked among the best programs to study fashion in the South and recognized as having one of the best fashion merchandising programs in the nation, according to the website Fashion-Schools.org.

CARS ranked fifth among fashion schools located in the South and received the website’s best ranking among programs in the state of North Carolina.

CARS placed No. 23 out of the top 75 highlighted schools nationwide for fashion merchandising.  Programs were judged on their academic reputation, admission selectivity, location, and depth and breadth of the program and faculty.

Read the full story here >>

Graduation 2013

Graduation 2013


Another proud group of recent graduates from the Bryan School of Business and Economics at UNCG.  We are so proud of this group of students, and know they will continue to Do Something Bigger Altogether.

Bryan Study shows Customer service key to NC wine industry growth

Bryan Study shows Customer service key to NC wine industry growth