After working her way up in the hotel industry, Juliann Poff decided she wanted a different career so she could focus on her growing family. She had an exciting career working in hotel restaurants and catering in big cities like Milwaukee, Chicago, and Nashville, but she grew tired of the work hours on the weekends and holidays.
Juliann and her husband eventually settled in Christiansburg, Virginia where they started to build their family. In order to make a career change, she realized she would need to get an education to add to her skill sets. Intimidated by the area’s larger universities, Juliann discovered National College. She enrolled in the legal secretary associate’s degree program at the Roanoke Valley Campus.
Juliann worked several years in the business field using her legal secretary degree. Similar to when she worked in the restaurant field, she held several positions working her way up to a sales position for a computer hardware company called CCS-Inc. But in order to continue her growth, she realized she would need additional education. Since she had so much success with National College for her first degree, it was a natural decision to return for a bachelor’s degree. CCS-Inc supported her educational pursuits by offering her tuition assistance. She graduated from the business administration-management degree program in November 2010 and it instantly paid off.
With her new bachelor’s degree, Juliann was promoted to channel manager at CCS-Inc where she became responsible for a sales team. “Just having that increased educational experience has afforded me additional opportunities,” Juliann explained, which is why she decided to re-enroll into the College’s Master of Business Administration program. With help from the National College Business Partnership Grant, where the college matches up to $1 for every $2 that an employer provides in tuition reimbursement funds, Juliann was able to get two degrees with little out-of-pocket costs.
With plans of graduating for a third time from National College this year, Juliann’s opportunities have multiplied. She is now an inside sales manager for Qualtrax which is a subsidiary of CCS-Inc. She is responsible for growing the business on an international level and will be traveling to London next month. She is an active member of the business community serving in different roles for the American Business Women’s Association Express Network and Belmont II Ruritan Club. She has also been asked to give presentations to area groups like the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council and Virginia Tech. “The experience of [giving presentations] in class has given me confidence to be able to do it outside of the classroom,” she said.
Juliann feels that it has helped her to work and take courses for the MBA program at the same time. “It was nice to be able to apply the skills I was learning to my current job duties,” she said. “Being able to apply [the skills] directly, and having the experience that I already had, has been really valuable.”
Juliann Poff is pictured in one of her MBA classes at the Roanoke Valley Campus of National College.
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