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“My proudest moment was realizing – I am officially a LOYOLA alumna!”

Loyola StudentVannessa Brown, VP, Business Operations at GForce Staffing Services, is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Vannessa graduated with a B.A. in Management.

She attributes her success and entrepreneurial spirit to her experiences from Loyola’s transformative education.

Vannessa shares her wonderful journey as an adult student…


Why did you chose Loyola SCPS?

Returning to school had been a life-long dream. I had only completed a high school education and hadn’t a clue as to the enrollment process for a University.  I researched and met with several admissions counselors at other universities. The Loyola admissions counselor was extremely friendly, caring and engaging. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The counselor made me feel as if I belonged at Loyola. That same level of caring and compassion resonates within the University’s faculty and staff today.

Why would you recommend Loyola to those choosing to complete their degrees?

I believe one of the most important reasons to attend Loyola is the faculty and staff are committed to their purpose and promise of Preparing People to Lead Extraordinary Lives. Most of the faculty have professions or own businesses outside of teaching, which I personally believe creates the best classroom experience. They are invested in the students they teach and they understand what it takes to attend a class after working 8+ hours.  Every student enrolling at Loyola has a dream and the faculty at Loyola are truly devoted to helping those dreams become a reality.

Did Loyola impact your time at GForce in any way?

As a partner of GForce, my primary responsibility is spearheading all initiatives around attracting top-talent for our clients. I have developed a business model that increases the likelihood of our candidates being hired by our clients as full-time employees. Loyola’s real-world education and transferrable skills are embedded in every fiber of my role at GForce. All of the courses in the Management program at SCPS provided a framework from which to build and utilize in my current business decisions and practices. Each of the classes I’ve taken encapsulate GForce – Business Ethics, Economics, HR, Business Operations, Marketing, and Communications. These are all essential components for building and expanding any business.

How did coming back to school change your life?

Joel A. Barker once said, “…vision without action is just a dream; action without vision just passes time; vision with action can change the world.” Initially, when I went back to school it was to fulfill a lifelong dream. Now I realize the purpose is less about me and more about others; helping others “up” and giving back in any way I can – paying it forward. One of the Jesuit characteristics is global awareness. This global awareness requires each of us to stretch beyond ourselves, and our likeness, and our religious beliefs to make a difference in the well-being of others. Had I not moved forward with my education and experienced firsthand the outcomes of obtaining an undergraduate degree, I may not have received many of the opportunities afforded to me today.

One of the challenges our graduates face is managing work, family and school. Do you have any helpful tips and examples?

I will say just one thing – move forward and you’ll be surprised with what you can accomplish.  Take time out every day to do something toward your studies – one hour or 30 minutes; it makes a difference. It won’t be easy – but it will be worth it. Also, remember that people enjoy helping.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teachers or faculty for assistance – what’s important to you is important to them. Talk to and keep in touch with your former classmates. Some will graduate before you, but they are great resources as well.  Lastly, keep your employer informed of your accomplishments; when a supervisor or manager feels they’ve contributed to your success, they are usually willing to be even more flexible with work hours.

Any last word of advice for prospective students?

Loyola’s professors are believers – they believe in your abilities. More important they believe in your dreams; so much so that they make you believe you can accomplish anything! Loyola’s principles are based on the greater good and the wellbeing of their students and others. This may mean helping you find that dream job, achieving that highly sought after promotion or just finding yourself and uncovering hidden passions. You don’t need to have everything aligned perfectly before you start something new. Just move forward and you’ll be surprised with what you can achieve – don’t over think ‘how’, just ‘do’ – just keep moving forward!


If you would like to share your story as a current student or alum, please email it to scps@luc.edu.  We would love to hear from you.

  • By Mark Gallagher on 9.8.2015 at 9:13 am

    Vannessa & I have worked with each other for more than a 15 years and to watch her pursue her goals relentlessly has been an inspiration to any and all that know her.

    It is my privilege to call Vannessa, my dear friend, a relentless advocate for the underprivileged, and now my business Partner !

    V, ” You’re the Greatest ! ”

    Mark G.