UMSL well represented in 2018 St. Louis Business Journal 30 under 30 class

2018 30 under 30

UMSL MBA student Nicole Ward (at left) and alumnae Fredrecka McGlown (center) and Kirsten Jones were all named to 2018 St. Louis Business Journal 30 under 30 class. (Photo collage by Joan Barnidge)

The St. Louis Business Journal hosted a reception Thursday evening for this year’s 30 under 30 class.

Three of the honorees at The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s, just north of downtown St. Louis, credit the University of Missouri–St. Louis for helping bolster their career pursuits.

Fredrecka McGlown, the co-manager of the Young Adult Workforce Division at St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment, counts three degrees from UMSL, including the master’s in communication she completed in 2015. That’s the same year Kirsten Jones, a residency coordinator at Washington University School of Medicine, completed the Master of Public Policy Administration program. Nicole Ward, meanwhile, is set to graduate with her MBA this fall while continuing her career as a commercial financial analyst at Monsanto Company.

They mirror the “diversity in industry and careers” that the Business Journal trumpeted when spotlighting the class on its website earlier this month.

McGlown began working in the Young Adult Workforce division during her final year as a master’s student after leaving a graduate assistantship in the Office of Student Involvement.

She’d been eager for a real-world job experience working with young adults in the area of education and she found it with the help of a networking connection she’d made with Alice Prince – then the Young Adult Workforce division manager and now SLATE’s director. She reached out to Prince, who invited her to interview for a case manager position and ultimately hired her.

“Those networking opportunities and connections that I’ve made through UMSL and the people that I’ve met have been crucial to my success up until this point,” McGlown said.

She started out overseeing one of the organization’s programs in the areas of job readiness training, work experience and future employment preparation. Her portfolio has expanded in the years since, and she now overseas 10 programs since being promoted to co-manager with Prince’s ascension to the agency director last year.

McGlown was thrilled her work was recognized by the Business Journal.

“A lot of the time, when you see these awards, nonprofit companies or those companies that focus more on the government agency side don’t usually get that recognition,” McGlown said. “It’s usually those Fortune 500 companies or those big companies. This is so amazing for my agency and for my young people and my team.”

Jones too has forged her career outside the corporate world. She’d been working as an administrative assistant for The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis when she made the decision to get her MPPA with an emphasis on nonprofit management, and it wasn’t a hard decision to pick UMSL.

“Their MPPA program was the best around,” Jones said. “I met with former director Deborah Balser and really enjoyed everything I heard about the program. It also was a fraction of the price of anywhere else that I would have even considered.”

The lessons she learned in the program have served her well, first when she landed a job as the development director for the Jackson Hill Foundation and later when she transitioned to her current role at the Washington University School of Medicine. She coordinates several programs for residents in internal medicine and in a short time on the job has helped cut expenses in half to make the programs more sustainable.

Jones also uses skills acquired at UMSL – including grant writing – in volunteer work with Friends of Kids With Cancer and Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, serving on the board of both organizations.

She has plans to return to UMSL next year to pursue her DBA.

Ward will be finished with her own graduate business degree by then, having completed the Flex MBA program. She hopes it will help her continue to open doors to new opportunities at Monsanto.

“I wanted to find ways that I could continue learning,” said Ward, who liked the location, affordability and flexibility with online courses that UMSL’s program provided. “I know a lot of people value MBAs, so that’s why I ended up going back. I’ve really enjoyed it. I think it’s been refreshing and it has kept me sharp in other elements that you don’t necessarily get to hone in on during the workday.”

Ward, who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri–Columbia, has already done plenty of advancing in four years with the company, starting as an international accountant focused on the company’s South American entities, moving up to a similar role working with the business specific to Brazil and then becoming a financial analyst. Since February, she’s been working as a soybean analyst for the North American Supply Chain Commercial Business.

“I definitely think I’ve been able to prove myself in my different roles,” Ward said. “But I am also really lucky to be given these opportunities and have managers who believed in me and knew that I was capable. I’ve had amazing mentors that have guided me through these different roles, and they are constantly challenging me to do more and be better. I’m so grateful for that.”

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