Emma Battle to graduates: ‘You are now the masters of the business and management universe’

Emma Singletary Battle P’17, president and CEO of MarketVigor, reminded the 52 graduates receiving master’s degrees in business administration and management May 18 that everything they do impacts someone’s life.  

>> See photos from the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Science in Management Class of 2017 graduation

MBA student Reed LaPlante addressed his fellow graduates at Commencement.
Every step in Caitlin McKelvey’s academic and professional journey has paved the way for new opportunities. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in psychology and French at Greensboro College, her involvement in student activities sparked a passion for event planning. That led to her role as a catering manager with Aramark at Elon, which introduced her to the university’s Master of Business Administration program.

Midway through her studies, her work in the program led to a new role as a marketing analyst at AkzoNobel in High Point. And now, with her degree in hand, she opens the door to even broader horizons.

“Now that I have completed my MBA I have been promoted at work to a project manager,” McKelvey said. “It is a role I would not have even thought of pursuing before starting the program, but I now have a great deal of experience and education in that subject and am excited about this new opportunity.”

All 40 Master of Business Administration graduates and 12 Master of Science in Management graduates who received their diplomas May 18 worked hard to reach this milestone, and as a result, the possibilities ahead of them are endless.

<span style=”font-size: 13.999699592590332px;”>Emma Singletary Battle P&rsquo;17, president and CEO of MarketVigor, delivered the Commencement address.</span>
“You are now masters of the business and management universe,” said Emma Singletary Battle P’17, president and CEO of MarketVigor and the Commencement ceremony’s keynote speaker. “That is quite an awesome achievement that comes with a lot of responsibility and opportunity.”

As they refine their own approach to business, Battle encouraged the graduates to always keep in mind how their work affects others, from colleagues and clients to family and friends. “Everything you do impacts someone’s life,” she said. “You are prepared to lead our world in business and management, and what you do will impact the lives of others as well as your own life.” She offered five key takeaways for the graduates to consider as they embark on their next chapter as business leaders.

1. Foster a work culture where everyone can be their best self. Battle advised the graduates to lead by example and support a culture “that is ethical, values diversity, celebrates unique perspectives and benefits from a team that does their best work because they are appreciated and respected.” She considers creating such a culture at the Hanes textile plant in Asheboro one of her greatest career achievements. Because she valued a culture of transparency and trust, she was honest with her staff about the uphill battle they faced when they asked her about rumors the plant could close. Her honesty motivated them to prove they could expand production and improve efficiencies, and the plant remained open.

2. Strategize while you analyze, and execute while you plan. Today’s most successful business minds keep moving while they’re building, Battle said, adeptly juggling multiple project stages at the same time. “To maximize your positive impact in business, I suggest that you remain in a constant state of analyzing, strategizing and planning while you execute,” she said. “Cruise control is caustic. Multitasking is magical.”

3. Be Ethical. Always. Battle urged the graduates to remain true to their values no matter what happens in their career. She told them they will meet plenty of successful people, some with high ethical standards and some who are willing to use any means to achieve a goal. “Even a little compromise (of your principles) can lead down a slippery slope.”

4. Take the time to make a life. In their quest to forge a successful career, Battle cautioned graduates not to neglect their support system outside of work, to take time to nurture their relationships with family and friends. The students already have experience maintaining that balance. Jonathan Lindberg completed the MBA program while working full time at BioDelivery Sciences International in Raleigh, in addition to being a full-time husband and father.

“My daughter, Scotland, was 1 year old when I started the program,” Lindberg said. “The reality when you make these commitments is you have to be very open and honest with yourself and those that support you… I had to consciously trade off commitments in both my personal and professional life in order to accommodate the time requirements for the MBA program.”

5. Get your gig in gear. Whether they pursue their own venture or work for someone else, Battle encouraged the students to hold onto the entrepreneurial spirit Elon instilled in them post-graduation. “In this fast-paced business world, companies value entrepreneurship,” she said.

Graduates also heard remarks from MBA student Reed LaPlante, whose peers selected him to speak on behalf of the class. He reflected on the ways he and his classmates supported each other during their studies, learning from each other and pushing each other to reach their full potential.

“Tonight, I want to take a moment and make sure that everyone in this room realizes that you have pushed someone to be great,” LaPlante said. “You have believed in them. You have allowed them to set their fears aside and do something they would have not thought possible. You are a team of experts that helps push others further than they thought they would go.”   

In her charge to the class, President Connie Ledoux Book urged the graduates to carry Elon’s motto – Numen Lumen, meaning spiritual and intellectual light – with them throughout the rest of their personal and professional lives. “This Elon flame, this Numen Lumen, will never fail you,” Book said, “and I am confident you will harness your newly acquired knowledge to connect human beings in profound ways, to develop new enterprises and new thinking.”   

Candidates for the Master of Business Administration degree

Mohammad Maher Asad

Eric Thomas Baker

Nathan Scott Belue

Jody Mac Booth

Jonathan Todd Brown

Anthony Lewis Campbell

William Anthony Chadwick

Preston Gary Christy

Allyson Michelle Davis

Zannetta Caroline Dudley

Nicole June Filippo

Bradley Robert Franks

Jonathan Martyn Fulton

Corie Elizabeth Hampton

Amber Nicole Hill

Keith Bennett Hill

Francis Hui

Cameron Michael Huskey

Nolan James Ivie

Josiah Curtis Jodrey

Leslie Celeste Johnson

Michael Alan Johnson

Reed Adam LaPlante

Jonathan Paul Lindberg

William Bryce Little

Jennifer Bryant Mammel

Thomas Adam Marlowe

Caitlin Rose McKelvey

Trevor Maurice Minor

Kevin Lee Napp

Sean Eric Printz

Brianna Michele Rainey

Caitlin Claire Shaw

Richard Tamba Walan

Qun Wan

Jonathan David Willard

Jocelyn Heidi Woloszczuk

Vivian Arlean Wooten

Caroline Deal Yates

Walter Steven Yates

Candidates for the Master of Science in Management degree

Kathleen Harrington Collette

Ryan Kenneth Dirks

Jeffery Phillip Drummond

Hung Gia Khuu

Christina Falcone Lingley

Benjamin Michael Myers

Chelsea Monique Saunders

Samantha Tiyiwe Simunyu

Shannalee Charlotte Van Beek

Travis Neal Waller

Brandon MacKenzie White

Jack Williams III