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by Andrea Vinyard, EMBA 2020

Chapter One built a strong foundation. My 22-year first chapter was serving our country as an Air Force Medical Service Corps officer (healthcare administrator), and culminated as a colonel commanding several large military units (a senior executive overseeing several business units). I had an amazing career and experiences living and serving all over the world, from South Korea to Alaska to Qatar and everywhere in between. This experience provided lessons in life and global leadership working alongside a diverse group of employees and international political leaders. Our mission and my mentors challenged me every day to be better than the day before, and that first chapter laid the foundation.

When I retired, I was not sure what Chapter Two might look like. I felt like I was too young to fully retire and I wanted to continue to challenge myself. Chapter Two is an opportunity to further develop and to learn and lead from a different perspective. While I traded in my uniform for business attire, I remained in the healthcare field, and transitioned from taking care of servicemen and women and veterans to taking care of children. I now serve as the director of the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and our mission directly impacts the quality of life of children around the world. I work beside a talented group of medical professionals, and while I changed organizations and missions, the lessons from Chapter One are with me every day and are the ones I draw from when challenged.

I jumped into my new community with both feet (a wholesale change, not just a new workplace), and beyond the new role, I continue to serve the veteran population. The G.I. Bill benefit provides me the opportunity to learn from 70 diverse and highly motivated Kellogg Executive MBA classmates, who are also looking to shift, amplify or launch their own careers. It is amazing to see each one of my cohort members and learn from their experiences and perspectives—they challenge me to be better every class and every weekend.

The leadership foundation built during my military career has served me well, and the experience I am gaining now will result in more opportunities to lead complex organizations, mentor and develop teams, and serve with excellence. The military provided me with a confidence that I can achieve anything with the right team, training, and commitment, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to serve with amazing men and women around the world. Now it is time to leverage my experiences at Kellogg to make Chapter Two even better.