Willa Lyon '99

Rogers, Arkansas
Organizational Management
(Current pursuing MS in Leadership & Ethics)

Why did you choose JBU to finish your degree? For my BS, JBU afforded me the ability to expand my career options without compromising my current career and, most importantly, without disrupting my family time. I saw healthcare transitioning, and knew I needed not only my nursing degree, but also a business degree to successfully navigate the coming transition. I chose to return to JBU for my master's degree to have the opportunity to network with other professionals and grow while yet again maintaining and expanding my current career. My children were grown and it looks as though I will be working longer that once anticipated, so I wanted to have exciting options as I look into the next 15-20 years in the workforce.

How have you changed – personally and professionally – since starting and/or finishing your degree? I don’t place limits on myself as I once did. I still have obstacles and setbacks, but I have a resilience that allows me to pull from somewhere deep inside to find what I need to overcome or to become what God intended for me. I still don’t know what that is, but I think that might be a bit of the exciting part right now. I know He has a plan and I will do my best to follow.  

How have you applied what you learned in your career? Over the years I have started several programs from the ground floor or I have taken floundering programs (and even at times new or floundering co-workers) and worked with them to re-engineer and re-position them for success. My Organizational Management degree was key in understanding the operational needs of these creations and re-engineers. Recently, I realized that I needed my masters to position myself for future roles and responsibilities, possibly corporate wide or internationally.  While I am already a strong leader, I know JBU will nurture me into the strong servant leader I continually seek to become. The MSLE program of studies is giving me yet another new educational link to connect with and learn from with each class I take. The patience, justice, kindness and “rightness” I am learning now will benefit not only me, but those in my workplace for years to come.   

What are your current/future goals? I would like to expand my reach within Mercy by continuing to connect American workers and their families with health and wellness in an easier, less laborious and less costly fashion. I would like to work internationally at some point in the future and do the same, just on a larger canvas. 

Anything else you’d like to share? I enjoy helping folks navigate… be that in healthcare or their daily lives. The encouraging spirit of JBU staff helps me see what I can become, and if I listen, every few years that changes. Had I not been connected with all the options JBU offers the non-traditional student, I am not sure I would have weathered the changes in healthcare and my life as I have the last couple of years.


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