Paul—who has earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Walden—believes in seeing the “possibilities.” From a recent promotion at work to his care for the environment and a commitment to the greater good, Paul has instigated change in every area of his professional life. We spoke with Paul about a world of possibilities and how these opportunities guide him.
I chose Walden because of their mission statement of positive social change. It was a deeper meaning than just getting a degree for a degree’s sake.
It was very important for me to pick a university that had integrity, deeper meaning, history, a good reputation, and good ethics.How has your degree changed you as a person?
What has changed is my confidence. I can go into companies and work through critical thinking, change management, negotiation, persuasion, and all these things you learn in the university. Now I can actually influence people. Now they listen.
I think I’ve become much more professional in my day-to-day thought processes, what I need to do at work, and how I want to approach situations. Today, I feel like I actually have the tools to do something, and in the spirit of the university, which is to promote positive social change. Now I can actually do something instead of just talk about it or join a group. I can lead a group. Now I have more influence to make things happen.Has your degree added to your credibility or influence?
I was promoted to quality manager for the entire company. We didn’t have a quality manager, so that indicates what the education did for me. They said, “You know what you’re doing. It’s a huge job. Do you want it?” After doing my research, which is another thing you learn at Walden—how to do research, think things through, and make better decisions—I took my time deciding to make sure it was right for me. So yes, doors opened. I have a much better reputation, and I have a lot of influence where I work today.What else are you getting from your degree?
First, you see the possibilities of what you can do, and then you get the authority to do something. For an example, I applied for a grant and we received a grant for my current company to reduce our energy usage. It’s a fairly major project and if I hadn’t gotten a degree, if I hadn’t gotten to my new position, if I didn’t have the authority, if I didn’t have the confidence to ask, then we’d never have this grant.
If you can see something, you can make something happen. You can make a difference.
I am teaching my co-workers to be mindful of our impact on the society and the environment around us. That, to me, is very, very important because it’s just going to have a ripple effect. I’m inspiring them to be mindful that what they do day to day has a much larger impact than just going to work, clocking in, clocking out, and going home. I want them to start to see that broader picture.How did earning your degree at Walden change your world?
The major thing is opportunity. I have a much, much larger opportunity to do what I want for a profession, or as my own business, or starting to work with other groups, or volunteering. It just gives you such a broader sense of the world and gives you the actual opportunity to go in any direction you want.Read more personal stories from Walden students and alumni.