A friend’s advice can be the biggest catalyst for change. Michele Levandusky ’14 (right) knew it was time to continue her education to advance her career, and she knew her colleague-turned-friend Ingrid Mariano ’14 needed to as well. The referral was just the start of the pair’s personal and professional journeys.
MICHELE, WHY DID YOU REFER INGRID TO WALDEN?
When I told Ingrid I was getting my master’s, she looked at me like I had lost my mind. But I know her better than that; she strives for perfection and wants to improve her life and her career. So seeing the options Walden had for us and that we could complete our programs fully online, I knew it would be a good fit for her.
INGRID, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ENROLL?
Michele is the strongest woman I know, and I knew we could reach our goals together. I had my first child when I was 17, and he was already in college, so I decided I was going to get my MBA before he graduated to set an example for him and my other children. I called Michele’s advisor and told her I wanted to pursue my MBA. I enrolled, and the next day at work, I told Michele we were going to tackle this journey together.
MICHELE, WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO SEE INGRID SUCCEED?
There were times when I knew Ingrid wanted to give up. I told her she was not going to give up on herself, because I wasn’t giving up on her; she was going to get through it, and she did. I was so proud to see her achieve this, knowing what her life is like. I determine my success based on other people’s success, so to see her accomplish this meant more to me than my own degree.
HAVE YOU REFERRED ANYONE ELSE TO WALDEN?
Michele: One of my daughters is pursuing her bachelor’s at Walden. She is 23 and has a 3-year-old son, so Walden was the perfect fit for her to continue her education.
Ingrid: I’ve referred my oldest son and his girlfriend because it’s a great fit for them academically. Writing isn’t my son’s best skill, and I know the faculty at Walden will work with him on that. They haven’t enrolled yet, but I would be so proud to have him go to Walden.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEE IN YOUR LIFE AND CAREER?
Michele: Walden has given me the tools and the confidence to become the entrepreneur I want to be. I am taking what I learned and showing others how to build solid leadership teams, properly coach their staff, and take their businesses to a higher level.
Ingrid: It’s a confidence booster like no other. I finally learned the business skills I needed to get to the next level, and I got a new job at an organization known for growth. Being able to share that I earned my MBA is huge, especially because I’m a single mom of five. If I can do it, anyone can.
We want more graduates just like you. Introduce friends and family at myWaldenAlumni.com/refer.