Clayton State University is known for providing its students with empowering experiences. As a place of empowerment, the University provides students with, not just an excellent education, but also with the relevant skills they need to position themselves in their forthcoming professions.
Empowerment at Clayton State has a lot of facets, with one notable recent example being the opening speaker of the College of Business’ Spring 2014 Jim Wood Speaker Series. A long-running opportunity for Clayton State students to hear from and learn from the best and brightest in their respective fields, the series is funded by one of the original members of the Clayton State University Foundation, long-time local journalist Jim Wood. Over the years, the Wood Speaker Series has brought numerous and diverse speakers to campus, ranging from AJC Editor Julia Wallace to another Clayton State Foundation member, Honorary Consul of Hungary John Parkerson.
The opening speaker for the Spring 2014 Series was no stranger to Clayton State. Ann Wilson Cramer, a senior consultant for Coxe Curry & Associates, had previously captured Clayton State audiences with her enthusiastic style at the Clayton State Women’s Forum, and as a speaker at the May 2011 Commencement ceremonies.
At the May 2011 Com
mencement (when, fittingly enough, Wood was awarded an honorary doctorate) Cramer spoke on “the power of you,” and stated the Clayton State graduates are part of a smart world, and tasked them to know how to be a collaborative player in what she referred to as, “the decade of smart.”
“You are to whom we lo
ok to be smart. The future of our community is in your hands,” she said at that time.
In January 2014, Cramer returned to Clayton State to speak to another rapt audience, mostly, though not entirely, made up of students from the University’s business classes. Speaking on her own career development, she focused on vision and passion – traits that will stand her audience well in the future. And, there can be no doubt that the audience was listening, notably junior supply chain management major Kai Spear.
“Ann Cramer’s presentation
xciting to be a part of. There was a true joy she possessed as she spoke passionately about her vision and key points that were vital to her career development in different stages of her life,” he says. “All of the subject matter she talked about is relevant to today’s successful business person, but the two topics that stood out the most to me were creating a vision for yourself and to craft a strategy with an organization that aligns with your passion.”
A non-traditional student, Spear decided to attend Clayton State at the age of 33, with a vision to offer himself, “an opportunity to love what I do and to be an asset to an organization.
“It was nice to hear the vision I set for myself be validated as a key to success by Ann Cramer,” he adds. “This lets me know that I am on the right track for success. With the collaborative efforts of Professor (John) Mascaritolo and the resources at Clayton State, I will develop a strategy for myself to reach my full potential as I move forward in my career.”
Spear wasn’t the only non-traditional student to be impressed with Cramer’s enthusiasm and vision of the future.
“Ann Cramer was a very enthusiastic and interesting speaker. It was evident that she was knowledgeable about the subject, and she gave many helpful steps to being successful,” says dual-enrolled sophomore Maggie Shiffert. “One notable topic she discussed was the characteristics that one needs to possess in order to work well with others in the business world. The four characteristics are; humility and openness, patience and long-term views, directness, and pragmatism. I liked this topic because it can apply both inside and outside the business world.”
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., and a resident of Inman Park, Cramer graduated from Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C., with a degree in mathematics. She is currently serving as a senior consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates after retiring from a long and successful career at the IBM Corp., where she started as a systems engineer in Jacksonville and retired as director for IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs for the Americas.
The next Jim Wood Speaker Series presentation will feature Tara Dennis, portfolio manager for Operation HOPE. Dennis will be speaking on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in room 101 of the Harry S. Downs Center, starting at 6:30 p.m.
A unit of the University System of Georgia where dreams are made real, Clayton State University is located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.