As a single, working mom for many years, my amazing children; Amanda, Tiffanie and Patrick helped shape and mold me into the woman I am today. Through their extension of grace I have been able to find balance between my family and the workplace. As a result, I have learned to enjoy this journey called life each day, rather than focus solely on the destination.
After spending 10 years as a Criminal Paralegal for the Cochise County Public Defender's Office in Bisbee, Arizona I moved to Tucson to complete my bachelors degree. With a Communication degree from the University of Arizona (98′), I concentrated on my second career bent, the area of Sales & Marketing from 1998-2007, on both a local and national level.
To compliment my skill-set, I completed an Executive MBA in February 08′ with a concentration on "Values Driven Leadership" through the Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University. It was with honor that I accepted an invitation to join the first cohort of this brand new, accelerated-12 month Executive MBA [eMBA] program specifically focused on leadership, customer service, and team dynamics.
I have since entered a phase of expanding my learning through post-graduate studies in a few different ways; First through yearly continuing education through The Ken Blanchard Companies. Ken and Margie Blanchard's hearts are to continue the nurturing process of their Executive MBA alumni, hence the reason behind the ongoing, yearly alumni gatherings / educational moments. Second, through the ongoing increase of knowledge, informally, in several additional areas of interest.
2007-2009 found me changing up my career yet again; this time moving into commercial lending (working with small business owners throughout Tucson and the State of Arizona). Additionally, I stepped into my "Dream Come True"; teaching for Pima Community College - Downtown Campus. With Pima I have the distinct privilege of instructing Business and Management courses both in the traditional classroom setting and occasionally through the virtual classroom. Currently I teach two courses per semester; they include Human Relations in Business & Industry, Supervision, Ethics in the Workplace and Dynamics of Leadership.
In February 09′ my position in the commercial lending industry was downsized. For eight weeks I patiently and prayerfully walked out each day as it was presented. Eight weeks to the day of my downsizing I stepped into the world of corporate benefits and insurance. As an Executive Assistant, CSR and Licensed Producer, I was privileged to provide a high level of support in many areas, to include first and foremost tending to the needs of the clientele (individuals and organizations). From my first day I grew to greatly appreciate this new opportunity and all it had to offer. Currently, as an Account Manager with the Small-Market Team in Tucson, AZ, I work with fully insured medical plans, consumer driven health plan arrangements (HRAs and HSAs), dental, vision, life, disability, EAPs and wellness programs.
Today my children are living their lives well; Amanda, a graduate of Bates College in Maine, resides in Woodland Park, OR with her husband Doug and their daughter's, Ember and Madera. Amanda has begun working her way through a second degree - Nursing. Tiffanie resides in Tucson, AZ with her husband Pat and their young son, Oden. She is a graduate nurse working for the University of Arizona Neurology Clinic. My youngest, Patrick, served with the USAF Honor Guard in Washington, D.C. for several years prior to returning home to Arizona in 2012. He is also following a dream as the Golf Services Manager for Troon, the largest third party manager of golf and club operations in the world, at The Gallery Golf Club in Tucson, Az.
I am now learning how to do life...in my new normal...and enjoying every moment.
Don't miss the opportunity to hear Karen Marie Derr speak about "Seasoned Servant Leaders."
Karen will be speaking in Tucson, AZ on Aug. 13. Lunch will be provided.